Before I took up with Miss Ziggy, I hung with the dwarves. They tolerated me until I cramped their style. I had a bad mouth on me, lips so floppy that they said anything they wanted and all I could do was keep up with my own apologies. The dwarves would tease me and their words made my heart feel more slippery.
Batten it down Slinky, they would say, stop the wobble.
My face turned purple, I felt it and I fanned myself with my bent fingers. The dwarves were so damn smooth, so well put together.
Kansas City Ziggy was a brand new act. She sat on a tree stump in front of her caravan playing sad Russian love songs on her ukelele. I was floppy when I first laid eyes on Miss Ziggy. I blinked and unblinded myself and tried to control the slope of my upper body. She had a faraway expression as if she inhabited some black and white movie nobody was allowed to see. Her skin was milky, her necks liquid, her voice marbled and rare. There was natural, chemical sweetness about her and she smelled like vanilla pods.
“You were born for the stage,” I said “that voice of yours could cure a thousand diseases.” I folded my ears forward so they stayed that way. Miss Ziggy laughed, and blushed. I spun my head around 180 degrees to look over my shoulder at the dwarves.
See ya latah, suckahs!
A week later, I moved into her caravan.
When the dull yellow eyes of daylight seeped in through her tiny curtained window, our mirrored reflections told us to worry; Ziggy so plentiful standing next to me, a waffler, a wobbler, with slinky limbs. Sometimes I’d double-wrap my arms around my waist, lock-tie my fingers together, praying. I told Ziggy this: we must forgive ourselves for what we may or may not be. Still…
Waking up with Ziggy was a death-defying act, what with Ziggy surfacing for oxygen, cranking open both eyelids, one at a time, not knowing if she had the strength. I’d wind up and fasten my arms around her and pull and pull and pull and together we’d chant: Yes we can, yes we can!
“Nice” she’d say, smooching me on my pinheaded noggin. “Let’s not spoil the adventure”.
I knew what she meant, I’d take my chances. And if history mattered, I was not to be counted on. I wanted to become firm enough to trust someone and to be trusted, to lock myself down.
“Hunky dory,” I’d say every morning, hoisting her up to my jittery heart.
Meg Pokrass is the author of six flash fiction collections, an award-winning collection of prose poetry, two novellas-in-flash, an award winning collection of prose poetry, and a 2020 collection of microfiction, “Spinning to Mars” which won the Blue Light Book Award. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, Washington Square Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Split Lip and McSweeney’s has been anthologized in New Micro (W.W. Norton & Co., 2018), Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015) and The Best Small Fictions 2018 and 2019. She serves as Founding Co-Editor of Best Microfiction 2020 and Festival Curator of Flash Fiction Festival U.K. and teaches flash fiction online and in person. Find out more at megpokrass.com.