Nano Fictions (because flash fiction is too damn long!)

Ethan Goffman
Help!  I am trapped in the present. I can crawl toward the future, but so slowly it feels like paralysis.  The past is gone forever and yet is always present. The future is hope and terror. All of time loiters, a thick fog, a mammoth rock.

“Sorry, I wasn’t really listening.”
“That’s okay, I often don’t listen to you.”
“That’s what a successful marriage is. Two people talking blissfully past each other for 50 odd years.”

If justice is blind and luck is dumb, what is it that’s deaf? Is it tone? But no, it’s people that are tone deaf. Tone itself has acute hearing. It can hear the leaves grow and the worms tunneling beneath the earth. And maybe it’s not justice that’s blind but faith? Maybe justice is deaf?

I was paying endless attention to my wonderful tabby cat, obsessed with her, following her around the house, stroking her under her perky white chin. My wife grew jealous and alienated and ran off with a neighborhood Tomcat. I glimpse them sometimes in the alleyways and far reaches of backyards.

I decided to have my 3-D printer make me some cats. It’s an old-fashioned kind of a 3-D printer, large and orange and furry with a creamy white belly, and it printed up a whole batch o’ kittens in the middle of the night.

It’s better to remember what you’d forgotten than to forget what you’d remembered. It’s better to remember that you’ve forgotten something than to forget that you’ve forgotten it—unless it’s something annoying and unimportant, in which case it’s best to forget that you’ve forgotten it.

I read about a billionaire who wished for three penises and was paying to have them designed through genetic engineering.
Isn’t one penis trouble enough? Three would be like you have four different brains controlling you, three of which are obsessed with only one thing and cause no end of troubles. It sounds worse than being a Siamese twin.
Come to think of it, why aren’t there Siamese triplets? Or quadruplets? Or a whole city or nation of conjoined brains? In this bizarre world, it’s only a matter of time.

Sometimes I think all people deserve to be treated with respect, that there is something wondrous within each of us.
Sometimes I think people are a selfish, hateful species that deserves to be wiped off the face of the Earth.
I am 100% right in both cases.

I recently learned that “they” is singular now (or should it be that “they” are singular?). I want to invent a new pronoun for myself that indicates I’m somewhere between 62 and 87.34 percent male and the rest is female. Also, that I am 71% a unique individual and 29% plural. Also I am 92% White, 51% Jewish, and, through psychological identification, 21% Black, 18% Native American, 13% Latinx, and 99% Other. Fine distinctions are important so that we can mark our identity—and those of the people around us—with 100% certainty.
Still, I have no idea who I am.

We tutored many international students at the Writing Center, but the girl with the pink hair was something else! Struggling with her English, she would give up and lapse into a series of squawks and beeps. A true illegal alien. Or is that undocumented? Would interstellar beings even recognize Earth law? No highly advanced sentient being is illegal!

These times are not for poetry.
History writes itself in vulgar prose.


  1. That was such fun, particularly the ones about cats, and the one about what concept should be deaf.

    1. The one about respect. The one about forgetting and remembering, and the idea how history is written are brilliant Prize Winners that publishers would lust over. The one about the old saying that Justice is blind and the old stereotype of deaf and dumb may offend those who have suffered from these unfortunate medical conditions on many different levels. The one about present past and future is brilliant but the last lines about the future seem confusing to me. Jerry Eisner


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