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Fragile

Story by Eric Wrisley (Read author interview) December 15, 2003

The box was marked F R A G I L E in careful block letters. “Engineer’s writing,” she thought, setting the package on the table,”each letter as wide as it is tall.” Her house key made a rough slice through the brown paper, stopping at the band of strapping tape around the middle. She rummaged in a drawer for a better tool for the job.

She glanced out the window, looking away long enough for the point of the scissors to slide into the palm of her hand. She wiped the small dot of blood away, only to have it replaced by another. She looked at the package again, and quickly snipped the tape.

Inside was a bundle of the Sacremento Bee from three months ago, bound with wide rubber bands. With the rubber bands off, she unwound the paper slowly to find a gold ceramic statue: The Buddha. Eyes closed and smiling, earlobes dangling, his fat belly exposed. In the back of the hollow icon were 4 holes.

On the underside was a sticky note:

“Siddhartha’s been turned into a toothbrush holder! I saw this and thought of you.”

That night, she brushed her teeth and slipped her toothbrush into a hole in the back of the Buddha. She looked at it for a moment before flipping off the light, and that was that.

About the Author

Eric Wrisley lives and works on the West Hill of Akron, Ohio – the Jewel of the Midwest. His work has appeared on Uber, Parenthetical note, and Blueswax. His life is a cautionary tale with a parental advisory sticker.

This story appeared in Issue Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Two
ornament

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