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Parting

Story by Elizabeth Morton (Read author interview) November 16, 2015

Art by Katelin Kinney

They split the chattels in two. Half an eggplant sat in a half Tupperware container in what was left of the refrigerator. Half a television perched on half a cabinet. Half a Siamese spread itself over the semi-circle of the felted rug. My mother cut towelling lengthwise, sawed the dining table on a diagonal. It was a tough job, but she put the weight into her good arm. When she was halfway through she twisted an Oreo into fifty-fifty portions, and licked the film of icing from her biscuit. It was half good.

My father loaded up half a truck with chunks of art. The Mccahon was guillotined so that my father was left with the ‘AM’, my mother took the ‘I’. The kinetic sculpture was torched vertically and left two feeble arms that waggled in the wind. Pottery bowls were thrown at the concrete floor, and we measured out the fragments into snaplock bags. The blue and green glazes shone like beetle wings. My father said he’d make mosaic frames. My mother said she’d make wind-chimes. I was half impressed.

Half a piano stood in my mother’s study. She took the higher octaves. She sang the Dr. Zhivago theme song in falsetto. The heirloom Bible was torn at the divide between the Old and New Testaments. We pulled pages from the classics and set them into two manila folders. Nobody wanted War and Peace, but my father took more than his share of the telephone directory and all the endings of Agatha Christie.

Later, my brother and I stood in the living room where bifurcated objects were being tossed into piles. This is half-witted, I would have said. But my half-tongue caught in my half-throat. My brother flicked me half of a smile, which looked sad.

About the Author

Elizabeth Morton is a writer and sometimes student from New Zealand. In her spare time she collects obscure words in supermarket bags. She has been published in Flash Frontier, Poetry NZ, JAAM, Blackmail Press, Takahe Magazine, Meniscus and in the upcoming PRISM International.

About the Artist

Katelin Kinney is from the hills and fields of Southern Indiana. She attained two BFAs from the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, IN. Her portfolio consists of fine art and commercial freelance work.

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

This competition is no longer accepting entries. The long- and shortlists have 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.