Flash fiction describes a literature style that the Chinese call "smoke-long" or "palm-sized" story, meaning the story should be finished before the reader could finish smoking a cigarette. Domenic Maltempi's fiction is funny, disturbing and abstemious while feasting. We´re more than happy that this writer, floating around the outer rings of New York, decided to release his work on this blog. Enjoy!
Oh Nabby, Oh Daddy---oh NabbyDaddy
Q R and z were taking a quilting class together on Manetto Hill. I know because my dad teaches it, has been for forty-two fucking years. Nabby is my sister. I’m my sister. Nabby suggested I be my own sister. Thinks I’m an incurious bastard. I’ve proven her wrong again and again. What does she know? She spends thirteen hours a day watching her computer swallow her up and digest her with aquiline snortitude. Oh Nabby, Skype-Christ Face for all her doting international disciples. She’s some kind of risk management guru. I have no clue. She’s invented things. I’ve invented things. I can’t even talk to her. She makes that boring-guru face that pulls the life from your very fingers, stuffs your head into a coin-purse of arcane brainlessness. Oh daddy loves Nabby!
Dad saying often: I started teaching it before I could get hard-- not it---that was his boast. That was his boast in joke garb. He would check himself if he detected incorrigible prudery in a listener, or if unfamiliarity made such a boast-joke beyond acceptably vulgar. That was his every-other boast. I started teaching quilting before I could get hard---not it. That was it.
Quilting is like language acquisition, he would often follow up. Past a certain age—it was well-nigh impossible. What horsehola! I mean, not what he repeated about language acquisition, pretty standard idea that--- the comparison!
Constantly quoting some Mauritanian linguistic jock known for balling his academic rival’s wives in conferences around the world, and succeeding, forcing them to say some sort of gibberish which he recorded for his ‘experiments.’ Making up some horse-sunk tripe about an advanced field study he needed a certain mind to participate in, a brilliant soft mind full of so much schooling. One could hear the Mauritanian language jock droning on as he puts a condom over his linguist’s best buddy down there. He made an album of all these women talking this gibberish. No Islands Records put it out. This guy is double-famous. And me? Well, fuck it. Who wants that I guess?
Do I want to be dying, grandchildren getting soda from the hospital soda machine, and my last thoughts are about an album of gulled women moaning and talking gibberish for a fake linguistic experiment? I have dignity.
Some people are mono-boasters. Dad was a two-prong boaster with equal alternation. He boasted under duress only. What a claim! Fuck-off Da’. That’s what Nabby would say amorously, pretending to be British in a way that no Albertan with dual-citizenship did with such disastrous and bizarre aplomb.
“Fuck off-Da,” some equine -chug-chug-manure. Nabby--- and her made up Liverpudlian lilt. ‘Know what I mean.’ That’s another one she puts out there. That was her idea of a quintessential British colloquialism. Know what I mean? She was serious.
What a pathetic accent she blew around, a slaughtered parturition of an accent that never did opened its eyes, nor felt a wet nurse’s warm arms, a mother’s stomach. The hopeless exaggeration of not aspirating her aithches----it was repugnant.
Father---all your boasting. Your closeness to Nabby causes me disgust. I’ve made this clear. I’m not without humor. I’m not simply angry. I’m having fun relating this to myself, but it’s not all big-sad-laughs and capering foolishness. I’m serious. I know how all this has affected me. I must do something about it. I must remain animated, wild-myself out of the sick-odd maelstrom of my life.
So much disgust I felt for both of you. You left me in an electronics department with a stuttering-stink-ball-salesman for hours. His short sleeved slimy forearms wiping themselves on me. So many announcements were made. You both hid in a nearby stockroom pretending to be air-conditioners. How?
Hours I waited. You still make the noise of a human air-conditioner to summon that day of bestial static-free mirth for you and your father, attempting to ease my anger by focusing on the absurdity of the air-conditioner-as human-- jokes. I suppose I’m trying to pacify my anger here by shaking out this foolishness as Polish women pulverize a family room carpet with a dancing Polish rolling pin, removing every speck of god’s endless dust. Not all of us can fly off to Tuscany tomorrow, and spin a tale of cornuted love, mining weightless insights that blow up received wisdom and free one to kick the can into another universe, or street.
. . .
Was father’s boast even a boast? Perennial question! He would never even acknowledge this question as worthy of discourse.
Mom was so successful with the clock-mice series for Sky Radio, he would wander around the commons of the four connected 5 story buildings of our ‘secret city,’ working up ways to avoid feeling shrunken by any direct comparison to his professional or other pursuits. Always in thrall to the sense that mom’s friends were just waiting to corner him by one of the eco-playgrounds or tennis courts, licking their lips to watch him squirm with his embarrassing response to their questions about his professional and creative pursuits. He fancied them just itching to hike up their black skirts revealing spa-treated legs that were lightly sun-toasted and scented with jasmine---gams and all---laughing at him, but unable to control their strong desire.
He joked. He didn’t joke. There might be a day for joking, maybe an off day. Binary Sun systems aren’t for everyone. It’s hard to tell what you will get, what you will truly get. Sometimes it was inscribed in the way he would hold the whisk to beat a soufflé into existence in bright humiliating afternoons. They were humiliating for me. He was either boasting about the time spent----mastery accumulated---quilting. First apprenticed to Dr. C with his dolly arms, and then running away to some quilting hermit master later busted in a yoga cult soda scam.
My mother hasn’t looked at him in the eye since the 90’s. Q R, and the always provocative z---were all born in 1990. Here are two patents from that year that I’m constantly reminded of for reasons that I’ll never be able to tell anyone about. Forgive my abruptness. I’m not on the run. It’s worse than that. It’s dry and dicey, and altogether predictably shot through with predicted anomalies and no fuse to burn down.
Use of Demineralized Bone Matrix in the Repair of Segmental Defects
A windproof umbrella includes a post (14); a plurality of ribs (18) extending outwardly in a radial direction from the upper end of the post; a lower canopy (20) secured on the ribs; a plurality of vent holes (34) therethrough; a channel forming member (57) secured to the lower canopy in surrounding relation to each lower vent hole (34) for further preventing entry of water therethrough; an upper canopy (36) positioned over the lower canopy in covering relation to all lower vent holes. The upper canopy (36) including at least one upper vent (56) closer to free ends of the ribs (18) than the lower vent hole (34), an outer edge and plurality of slits (44) extending inwardly from the outer edge thereof, each slit being (44) in line with one rib (18), the upper canopy (36) being smaller than the lower canopy (20); and elastic fastening straps (48) securing the upper canopy (36) and the free ends of the ribs (18).
Plurality of it all---slits---slits, and windproof ribs…. Watching father curse himself to quilting class, watching myself not curse, walking before any of this, away.