Emerald Bolts Kate LaDew A Magazine for Flash Fiction

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Waterloo Doesn't Fix a Light Bulb

Waterloo immediately forgot the repairman's name and didn't ask him to repeat it. After four hours, the time had passed. He watched the dirt stained fingers grappling with the half dozen cords in the overhead light fixture and felt guilty. After all, here Waterloo was, just standing around in his nice, cool apartment, doing nothing of worth for anybody, while this nameless repairman endeavored to bring light to his tiny world. It was enough to make a man want to do something about the state of things.
     'I'll do something about the state of things,' Waterloo said to himself. 3 hours before and an hour after Waterloo had forgotten his name, the repairman asked if there was any water he might have. In response, Waterloo had shrugged. He was beginning to think it had been the wrong move. Now, 4 hours later, Waterloo almost went to the kitchen, opened a cupboard and retrieved a clear glass with stripes at the top and filled it from the sink with water.  Almost. Watching the repairman in his work, Waterloo decided a little chat, a little bonding, a little encouragement and reassurance was what the repairman really wanted. Some sign of connectedness between the two men, some show of understanding. That's what he had meant by water. Let us drink from the same stream and so become brothers.
     Waterloo took a step towards the living room. Then another and another. Soon he was standing under the overhead light fixture looking up at the repairman on his ladder, a jumble of wires hanging. Waterloo took a deep breath. He was going to relate to this man of the people. "It's like the twist-tie thingy on bread," Waterloo began without introduction. "Where you twist and twist and twist until you realize, the whole time, you've been twisting the twist-tie thingy the wrong way. The exact opposite way of the right way. The way that will never release your bread. So you twist and twist and twist the other way until you get the twist-tie thingy back to the start, and still no bread. You've been here before. And those last few twists, the twists that would have ended a long time ago if you'd only chosen the correct way to twist, well, it's agony. And all the while, all the while, you're not having any bread. You're just twisting. Twisting until it feels like you've spent your whole life twisting. Your whole life, twisting and breadless." Waterloo smiled at the repairman reassuringly, encouragingly, understandingly. "I would suppose mending a light bulb is a lot like twisting a twist-tie thingy on bread. Except instead of no bread – No light."
     The repairman didn't say anything. Waterloo felt like pushing him off the ladder.


A Man with Too Many Hats

Draco (circa 650 BC – approx. 600 BC) died from asphyxiation.

Draco was the first legislator of ancient Greece. He came up with the job himself. What we need is some laws around here, he said. Enough with the blood feuds. Enough just talkin' 'don't do this, don't do that'. Lets set up some real honest to Zeus laws. Write 'em down, too. So now they've got gobs. And some people don't like it. Say they're too harsh. Too much too soon. Ain't fair for some court to go tellin' people how it is. That man Draco thinks he's everything to everybody. A man wearing' too many hats, that guy. Shut up, Draco says. Shut up and sit down or I'll make you sit. I'll make you sit down. Most listen. And if not, BOOM. Punished. Just got Draco'ed, sucker. You're livin' in a Draconian state and you will like it.
     So after awhile, everything goin' good, some people say, Hey, why don't we celebrate Draco? On account of all these laws, things are alright. Can't steal an apple round here anymore, that's how alright. Yeah, said the apple vendors. No foolin'.
     So they set up this whole big deal right there in the Aeginetan theater. Everybody's there. Apple vendors. So Draco walks out, steps right out in the middle of that big ole theater, raises up his hands and says 'Draco at your service'. Well, the place goes wild. You've never seen so many people so happy at the same time. Cheerin', hootin', hollerin'. Throwin' kids up in the air. Kissin' people smack on the mouth because why not. And somebody, nobody really knows who but it might have been Ed the apple vendor, well, somebody throws a hat. Throws it right up and out there. Lands at Draco's feet. It starts a movement, that one hat. Soon everybody's thrown' everything. Hats, robes, shoes, coats. If you can wear it, it's thrown.
     Now, if there's gonna' be a problem, it's nudity, right? With everybody just thrown' all their clothes, there's bound to be a problem with nakedness. But that's not it. What happens – Draco is just one man. Just one guy. And he's standin' in the middle of that big theater, all alone, and there are just so many clothes. So many. Enough.
     But Draco is a celebratory kind of guy, especially if the celebration is himself. So he keeps wavin' his hands. More hats. More robes. More shoes. More coats. And they pile up. He's putting' three, four, ten hats on his head. A dozen robes over each arm, shoes stacked like pillars, coats up to his eyeballs. And once he has hats to the moon, Draco gets nervous. Enough with the hats, he wants to say. There's already enough too many! But the enough too many hats won't let him say a word let alone a whole command. Hats, hats, hats and more hats. And it's then, with those robes weighing' him down, those shoes makin' a pantheon around him, those coats anywhere and everywhere and those hats – those hats! – piling up, Draco thinks, well I'll be damned. I'm gonna get killed by too many hats. And, after all, it was true.


– Kate LaDew (USA)

Kate LaDew lives in Graham, NC. A graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Arts, she has received the North Carolina Governor's Award of Excellence in Writing and Arts, the North Carolina English Teacher's Association National Writing Award, and has been published in Writer's Digest, The American Drivel Review, The Oak, Spiral-Bridge, SNReview, Penduline, Foliate Oak, Split Rock Review, Shot Glass Journal, Wild Violet, North Wind Magazine.

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 Copyright © Emerald Bolts Magazine, 2014
The front page image is copyright © by Anthony Kitterick, 2012