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light bulb image-Sackville

© 2004 Dave Sackville

How Many Words Does It Take
To Change A Light Bulb?

Flash Fiction by Steve Finbow

It comes in a handy cardboard box. I’m shrinking in my package. The box is rectangular, blue, and grey. Mine is a yellow-pink not rosy, not lemony, a watered-down orange, like the stuff your grandma used to make on hot summer days. The blue is the colour of gym shorts, the grey that of school socks. Mine is like Tupperware, filmy and opaque. The box has two flaps, one on the bottom and one on top, both fit snugly into the box. Mine hang over slightly, two rolls and a fork-drag of flesh. Secured to the box on the outside by a two-inch long section of clear adhesive tape, the bottom flap is just that. Attached to me is a slither of skin redder than its surrounds. White writing describes what’s inside. It ain’t pretty. Numbers on the box indicate the strength of the item. Information proves it had earlier incarnations. Ask my mother; my father says he has no recollection. On the bottom of the box is a date in black ink. Cut me and I breed. Inside—like a small hot-air balloon, a delicate gourd, a sore thumb in a cartoon, a newly shaped but yet expulsed egg. Like a rotten fruit, alien meat, the most disgusting thing in the zoo, an itchy need. If you pick it up between your thumb and index finger, it is as cold and obscure as the sea. Or warm but lengthening. Gold writing on the top is like a gilded aureole. In its turn covered in fuzz. Its base is silver and winds around itself. But not so you’d notice. The base of it is black then gold then black. It’s purple and it seams and reams. It goes where I tell it. It doesn’t care. It goes where I need it. It isn’t there. I cannot see without it. Blind. It cannot be without me. Dumb. I make it live. Stupid. I lift it towards its bed and turn it until it goes home. Carry me with you. It has relatives you need to push before you turn them. Push again. Then I bring it to life by turning it. It lives. It heats as it glows. I stare. Now I can see inside, its lungs are tiny, and its heart is tinier still.

§ § §

Steve Finbow writes out of London, England. He has worked for the poet Allen Ginsberg, the writer Victor Bokris, and the artist Richard Long. His fiction, essays, and short plays appear, or will appear, in Eyeshot, 3am Magazine, Yankee Pot Roast, uber, Locus Novus, Dicey Brown, The Guardian Online, and Pindeldyboz. He is currently working on a novel. (Yeah, right).

Reprinted from Ink Pot #5 available now
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