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Forks

Story by Kevin Matz (Read author interview) June 5, 2017

Art by Annie Pratt

There were five forks on the sidewalk. They weren’t arranged in any discernable pattern, but three of the forks were bent back at ninety degree angles and the other two weren’t bent at all. It was a sunny day and the sun glinted on the tips of the tines and the bent points in the metal.

“Ain’t that something?” said Georgie. “Who you suppose left those there?”

I shrugged. In the distance a lawnmower purred and a weed whacker whirred. We were on our way to buy froyo. I planned on loading mine with about a pound of Snickers.

“I mean, if you were going to leave five forks on the sidewalk, why bend three of them?” Georgie asked.

“Maybe whoever it was meant to bend them all but ran out of time?” I said.

“Yeah, or maybe they just dropped out of some Rubenesque jerk’s back pocket and some of them happened to be bent from sitting on them.”

“I’d hate to be that ass.” I said.

Georgie laughed a little and tweaked my butt cheek a few times and went “weet weet weet.” I huh-huhed like Poppin’ Fresh each time—did I like it or was I just playing along? Then Georgie scraped all the forks into the grass with his shoe. “C’mon,” he said. “It’s hotter than a firecracker lit at both ends out here.”

We’d never know who left the forks or why. But as Georgie walked off I kicked the forks back onto the sidewalk. I didn’t want one of the guys who mows the grass to run them over and have shards of fork shrapnel flung at his shins or something.

Also the yogurt place would be all out of Snickers, but we didn’t know this either.

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Notes from Guest Reader Josh Denslow

Forks is funny and wise and in its 300 words, unforgettable. It manages to be both a meditation on the things we can never understand and a slapstick comedy. Impressive.

About the Author

Kevin Matz received mail-order degrees in murderology and murderonomy. Subsequently, he received an MFA from the University of Illinois. These days, he watches Frasier reruns on TV and works as an editor. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Jokes Review, The Literary Review, Cream City Review, New World Writing, december, and elsewhere.

About the Artist

Annie Spratt is a photographer in The New Forest, England, and a community manager for Unsplash.

This story appeared in Issue Fifty-Six of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifty-Six
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The SmokeLong Quarterly Comedy Prize 2021!

This competition is no longer accepting entries. The long list has been published on the blog. The four winners of the competition will be featured in Issue 74 of SmokeLong Quarterly coming out near the end of December.