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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Flatlining in the Edward G. Bellacosta Memorial Park

Story by Jake Ruiter (Read author interview) June 15, 2007

We gave each other the ability to float, beside the fallow baseball diamond and the crabgrass tennis court. Dirty, young thumbs pressed to our necks, clamping off the vulnerable carotid artery. Two sets of arms there to catch us as we fell, parting for our brief moment. We woke to the squirming, white beetles in our vision, the shiver in our digits. We told the others we had been far away, wandering some charred, abandoned planet. Told them this was better than Robitussin. But once everyone had their turn, we could only kick at the chunks of dusty hardpan, with the wind cracking the flag against the violent, gray sky. We had all left out the truth of the trip. That things had not changed as we’d expected them to, and we were smaller now. That something now had hold of us, and we would feel this need to exit, again and again.

About the Author

Jake Ruiter lives and works as an electrical engineer in the Boston area. His first published work, “What Kind of Whale It Is,” is forthcoming in Quick Fiction.

This story appeared in Issue Seventeen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Seventeen
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A SmokeLong Summer

May 30-Aug 28!


From May 30 to August 28 2022, SmokeLong is going to host a superworkshop. We want to spend the summer with you, the flash community. Our workshops take place on a devoted website where you can create a profile, interact with the flash community, and take part in group discussions on craft, but A SmokeLong Summer will be much more.