Four Fictions
Daryl Scroggins


The child put stones on his head. Not pebbles -- bricks. He would lie down and pull them on. Concrete blocks. Stepping stones. Rubble. "Don't," we told him, capturing his bird bones. "Sit here," we said. But not watching for even a moment brought earthquake without earthquake -- the boy having piled as much stone on himself as he could reach. And always, when we had uncovered him, his whispering. "Faster," he would say, his lips scarcely moving.


She got into the giant camera. Water tower...? Boiler...? she thought. Hope they don't turn it on. She looked for mold in the bellows, ran her fingers over the cracked leather. At the clenched guillotines of the shutter she stopped and probed with a screwdriver, opening the black trumpet flower's folds. And thus, the lens, and a view of all who awaited her death.


He walked me home to his home and through that to mine. Once there he walked home without me but I walked back along a way he went sometimes to the place he was, but he was not there, he was walking through my house looking for me. And when he left I walked back, walking past his up looking to my down, walking through, walking home, going in.


The upright vacuum cleaner had a fat blue bag the color of his mama's panties. Not that he... it was laundry. Folding. The machine, with its noise pitched to a scream under a mattress, was remarkable for its appearance of being pushed when it stood still. Always the dog barking, and the yelling for him to take it out. And the bearing down of suction that reduced his attention to a surge in the blood.