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The Unicorn

Story by Ashley Kalagian Blunt (Read author interview) October 15, 2018

Art by Chris Roberts

Lane Cove is where individuality goes to die. Lane Cove isn’t interested in your ideas, unless your ideas are how to be more like everybody else in Lane Cove. The Unicorn is Lane Cove’s natural enemy. The Unicorn is knee-high socks, striped crimson and yellow. The Unicorn is a purple taffeta tutu, a t-shirt with the bust of a rainbow-maned unicorn, and Baby Spice hair, two bobbles, symmetrical as shit. The Unicorn is neon-purple Geri-Spice-circa-1996 platform shoes. The Unicorn is shade-matched purple lipstick and lingering cigarette smoke. The Unicorn is what you might call large. The Unicorn doesn’t care that you might call her large, or anything else you might call her. The Unicorn is fierce. The Unicorn is 237 pounds of fierceness and cleavage glitter. The Unicorn strides down Lane Cove’s main road of a Sunday afternoon. The Unicorn has places to be. The Unicorn has a richer interior life than all the sheeple of Lane Cove combined. The Unicorn is also rich fiscally, she swears, but the Unicorn now realizes she’s left her wallet at home, and she has chosen you to give her change for bus fare. The Unicorn doesn’t take no for an answer. The Unicorn wants you to know that you could rock electric blue eyeliner. Seriously. The Unicorn provides value for money. Bow and receive her benediction.


Notes from Guest Reader R. Cross

When I started reading ‘The Unicorn,’ I was so pulled into the voice and characterization that I forgot I was reading a submission for publication. The editorial thought system in my brain looking for reasons to say yes or no just dropped into a complete willingness to be pulled into the sway of The Unicorn as this majestic and authentic woman living her best life. And it really was a matter of being pulled in rather than me simply entering the piece as a reader. That’s what I find so brilliant about how the story reads, that both The Unicorn as a character/woman, and ‘The Unicorn’ as a story, don’t give outside viewers/readers any space whatsoever to take pause. We are pulled in right away, and we have to take in The Unicorn the way she is, on her terms. The piece even ends with a command to ‘Bow and receive her benediction.’ I view my initial reaction to the piece, that of dropping my editorial perspective as a reader, as proof the story is achieving exactly what it sets out to do, and what it achieves is something so wonderful!

About the Author

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is an award-winning writer. She’s been published by Griffith Review, the Sydney Review of Books, Kill Your Darlings, and more, and her non-fiction work Full of Donkey: Travels in Armenia was shortlisted for the 2017 Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award.

About the Artist

Chris Roberts is a mixed-media artist in Waukee, Iowa.

This story appeared in Issue Sixty-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Sixty-Two

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