- Return baby gifts to givers.
a. Sift through rubble for boxes and envelopes.
b. Call UPS Store to see if it’s still there.
c. Pack gifts into red wagon and attach to wheelchair.
d. Take Redondo Road, then make a right on Sapulpa to avoid crevasse on Andreas.
- Sign divorce papers.
a. When your ex-husband’s mother calls for the third time this week, tell her you will file charges for harassment, if she keeps blaming you for a tragedy that was not your fault. Reproach her for rearing a son who fell for a pair of breasts instead of the person to whom they belong. Tape the conversation.
b. Get a new cell number; choose an area code in a state with cold, cloudy weather; an aging population; and few natural disasters.
c. Even though you’re glad you quit smoking when you got married, bum a cig from a colleague at work. When you get home, light up but don’t inhale. Use your wedding picture as an ashtray. Aim for the tip your ex’s perky nose—those nostrils that flare with every word you utter.
- Put house up for sale.
a. Get a damage assessment.
b. Fight with the insurance company.
c. Throw away everything that reminds you of your life with castigating Carl.
- Join Guilt Mongers Anonymous.
a. Wear your black spandex blouse and make sure to bring lots of Kleenex to your first meeting.
b. When your turn comes to talk or not, pull back your shoulders and face the group. Feel a prickly sensation on the tops of your arms when you think of the word cleavage.
c. Narrate story of how you hovered over Cerise’s miniature pink body in a position of protection. Using a doll, demonstrate how carefully and deliberately you held the baby, when the temblor struck.
d. Produce a splinter of the wooden beam that fell on your back and led to “infant suffocation,” according to the coroner’s report.
e. Announce your decision to cut off your breasts.
In addition to winning the Tartt First Fiction Award for the short story collection Step Lightly, (Livingston Press, 2019), Dr. Kendall Klym has won numerous awards for his stories, which have been published in literary journals including Puerto del Sol, Hunger Mountain, and Fiction International. Klym is a three-time honorable mention winner of the Great American Fiction Contest and has won writing fellowships at the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts, the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and Monson Arts. Two of his stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A former professional ballet dancer, Klym holds a Ph.D. in English, with a concentration in Fiction Writing, from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.