Flash Fictions

Shopping for Body Modifications

She wears a plastic hat, flowered with ornaments, because her head explodes twice or three times every forty-five minutes. The marketing climate for frozen foods is snowy, she’d say while scratching her scratchiest spots. If her nails were too long her shirts and underwear sopped with what her nails uncovered beneath the skin. And if her nails were far too short, she’d plan robberies, espionage and other crafty hand driven crimes that disliked fingerprints, were ever angry at fingerprints. On Sunday nights she’d swim into the dumpsters of bookstores or behind newsstands and fill hatboxes with coupon inserts. Then, while walking home with eight or ten ribboned together boxes, she’d estimate her week’s wealth in skin and bone and muscle and nerves and fifty cents off one item coupons. Please remember, she was never much of a swimmer, not fast or very floaty. Once through her front door, she’d stumble through head explosions cutting out the most prized deals first. Those were the paper bits she used for the hourly and hemorrhaging skull breaks. Free trial offers, the buy and get after buying, were the most effective healing grafters. The closer the purchase price moved to zero the quicker they fixed what’s detonated under her plastic hat. After price the most convincing quality of any coupon are the dyes. She wasn’t concerned with the placement of colors, the appearance of foods, or the bluish happy flame of mango waterfalls forcing a room into freshness, bludgeoning away those fertile gangs of smells that rob our houses of the happy happiness we so very much want. No, she just wanted the valuable coupons under her plastic hat, inside her plastic gloves, beneath her plastic clothes. Then, on Monday morning, after stocking her clothes with enough coupons to replace a days worth of skin and explosions, she’d start walking. Her first destination was usually a warehouse style grocery store. She’d walk awkwardly through checkout lines, finding ways to wave her hands over the scanners. What began as two hundred dollars reduced to half then half once more. She found that her coupons, after becoming skin and nerve and membrane, always left their barcode behind. And that with each explosion under her hat, the life she led swam a bit deeper to the purchase price of zero.


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