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The O:JA&L Masters Series
Flash Fiction

Featured Writer: Roberta Allen


To explore more of Allen’s work, click on the link First It Happens, Then I Make It Up to access her free PDF chapbook from O:JA&L’s Buttonhook Press.
Untitled image by Roberta Allen

We are driving through the bush in a jeep. I feel free driving through the bush, especially since I’m not driving. He’s driving. The one his mother-in-law calls “The Dwarf.” She doesn’t call him “The Dwarf” because he’s short. She calls him “The Dwarf” because his body is much too small for his head. I bet his head weighs half as much as his body though there’s no way to prove that without beheading him, which is not something I’m about to do. But it would be nice and quiet in this jeep if someone here—like his wife for instance—got the urge. His wife would be most likely to behead him since she’s the one he’s complaining about. Everything she does, or did in the past, gives him cause for complaint. As a nurse, she probably knows the cleanest, most efficient way of beheading him, though that’s probably not something they teach in nursing school. If I were a nurse and knew how to do it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his head flying over the banksia and the scrub and the stunted trees growing here in the bush. Then I could concentrate my attention on the scenery. In the distance there’s a sliver of sea.

Published in Certain People by Roberta Allen, Coffee House Press, 1997
Published in NEW MICRO: Exceptionally Short Fiction, W.W. Norton & Co., 2019
Published in Chelsea, 1992


About the writer:
A Tennessee Williams Fellow in Fiction and a Yaddo Fellow, ROBERTA ALLEN is an American micro and short story writer, novelist, and memoirist with nine published books, including her latest story collection The Princess of Herself. She taught creative writing at The New School for many years and has taught at Columbia University. Since 1991, she has taught private writing workshops. She is also well-regarded internationally as a conceptual artist.

Image: Untitled undersea photograph from the Secret Worlds 2 Series by Roberta Allen. Manipulated in camera. No technical information specified. By 2023. By permission.

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