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Home Flash Fiction The Square Headed Man

The Square Headed Man

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The square headed man lived in a house of four sides, with a wife who could break on demand, a very young daughter who loved sneaking into others' households and stealing plastic utensils. Sometimes she constructed little men made from parts of spoons and forks. They lived under her bed.

The husband demanded that his meals be cut into squares or cubes. A cube was really a square pulled towards others. Like falling in love with several people at once. That's how he explained it to the Tupperware salesmen at lunch break. The wife's maiden name was Emily Frost and she always wore non-latex gloves when washing the dishes. The daughter, Amelia, had eyes like dark precious stones. She hated silverware and lunchboxes. She harbored a secret passion for falling from great heights. Life went on for years as if well-oiled machinery with an occasional bill from the Maytag Man or the Plumber with PVC lust. The square headed man kept demanding that his wife and daughter must think inside a box, or else they will fall prey to endless loops. Whenever the father spoke like this, Amanda would break plastic spoons behind her back, or swallow tiny pieces of cardboard.

One night, Amanda snuck into her parents' bedroom. They were having sex like two squares, almost becoming a cube. Amanda went back to her room and imagined a thousand little boxes falling from the sky, landing in her room, crowding her out. She imagined jumping out the window, breaking both legs. She imagined being carried away by some big black bird who mistook her for the girl who once nursed him.

Shortly after graduating college with a degree in Square Anthropology, Amanda eloped with a curly haired boy to the jungles of East Acidonia. She sent postcards to her folks. Pictures of her diving from planes or wrestling with alligators or sticking her nose near propellers. She said she was getting married to the curly haired boy who was also pigeon toed. The father thought that this meant he had claws. He had horrible nightmares of the daughter waking up with scratches along her body and face.

Then the wife met a man with large almond-shaped eyes. He taught her how to have sex without feeling cornered. She said she hadn't laughed like this in years. She left the husband a note: I have found a new life. Will not be back. Stay away from beef jerky and men who smoke cigars. They will give you cancer. I will stay in touch. Love, Emily Frost.

The square headed man decided that he would not take this sitting down. He thought: enough of this shit! The world was becoming an ugly city with receding corners. He figured it this way: The globe was a plane composed of straight lines. If he kept walking in straight lines, sooner or later, he would find his wife and daughter. In other words, the world was flat. He kept walking until he fell off the world. While floating, he met his wife and daughter in a free fall. They tried to stretch their arms and hold hands. They tried to create a desperate sound as if this would bring their bodies closer. But the universe was not the shape of a cube with receding corners. Nor was it the shape of concentric circles of longing. It was mostly space.

Bio: Jessie Woods lives and works in New Jersey. He likes writing flash fiction and doing visual arts.

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