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Memento Mori

Story by Chad Simpson (Read author interview) September 21, 2015

Art by Angela Del Vecchio

On the front porch, sipping his coffee, Pac-Man remembered a feeling from back when he was a pellet-eater. From back when he died and was brought back to life a thousand times a day. The only moment he ever felt a thing was when he was fading, at the beginning of each death. That slow disappearing, it hurt.

Sometimes back then, fruit would materialize beneath the ghost bullpen. Two cherries, their stems joined at the top. The strawberry. The orange and banana. Pac-Man would feel himself drawn to the fruit, hungry for it, and just when he’d reach it, just when he was about to chomp his Pac-mouth down on it, it would disappear into nothing.

He remembered, too, that thing about the ghosts. Somehow, he’d forgotten: How they would turn from blue and edible back to their original colors; how they would transmute from something he desired into something that, if he let them get too close, could cause that aching fading to begin—the one that would deliver him, if only for a couple of moments, from all of it, from everything he knew of the world.

About the Author

Chad Simpson is the author of Tell Everyone I Said Hi, which won the 2012 John Simmons Short Fiction Award and was published by the University of Iowa Press. His work has appeared in many print and online publications, including McSweeney’s Quarterly, Esquire, American Short Fiction, and The Sun. He lives in Monmouth, Illinois, and is an associate professor of English at Knox College.

About the Artist

Angela Del Vecchio is a graphic designer, Illustrator and painter and resides in idyllic Doylestown, PA.

This story appeared in Issue Forty-Nine of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty-Nine
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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.