The Perfect Gift

Chattering to one another about the insufficient rain, the house plants envy the clouds. We’re all just renting our haircuts. Last weekend, on my way to the Brotherhood of Thieves, I was counting everything I passed on the street, and before I could tell whether I was high fiving or swing dancing, I ran out of natural numbers. It’s my cranky algorithm. It refuses to cooperate with the data purge. When I tried to explain to my boss that virtual reality is a fake rumor, he wanted to examine the exculpatory evidence. It’s futile to tell the truth to lie detectors. Last night, I dreamed I woke up to my dream job. There was money everywhere. As I de-linted myself and corrected for my distracted driving, a Norse folk song came on the radio. I couldn’t stop myself from singing along with my own mouth. Who can resist a sexy Viking? Sure, the drum solo was too long, but I’m a bad listener. Although the price of helium has shot sky high, party balloons are always in the national interest. Like the disappeared corpses of the opposition, they’re the perfect gift for any oligarch. Just ask the dead.


Like darkness, a person is composed of what they aren’t. This winter, the Beach Boys plan to ice skate, just like they did last summer. I’m taller whenever I stand next to a crowded mini-bar. I started to feel guilty about this, until I realized that company loves misery. So now, by applying inflammable flame retardants to my rain-soaked fire starters, I’m reducing my carbon footprint. Yesterday, Miki said, again and again, that my name is out of date. Junior, your name is out of date,she repeated, as I front-loaded my flame thrower. Of course, the key question is whether you should cannibalize or re-purpose. If, while formulating your unique conspiracy theories, you generously collaborate with others, you’re bound to have greater success, although you’ll have to share the spotlight with those selfish bastards. Miki says that when she completes her singing mime lessons and we get a little money scraped together, we should redecorate the music room. Although loud, she says, the chairs aren’t musical.

BRAD ROSE is the author of three collections of poetry and flash fiction, Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015), de/tonations (Nixes Mate Press, 2020), and Momentary Turbulence (Cervena Barva Press, 2020). His fourth collection, WordinEdgeWise, is forthcoming in 2021 from Cervena Barva Press. Rose’s website is: