Three from Color Wheel — Salvatore Difalco

Nervous system in a fruit fly larva, serial section TEM.
Albert Cardona, HHMI Janelia Research Campus.

1. YInM Blue Toy

Why it caught my eye—the little guy drooling into his atomic
orange sippy cup and garbed like the Little Green Sprout was
bizarre enough on his own—was its dazzling blue, which I had
never perceived in Nature. This excited me. The toy, a knobby
gnomelike figure with moveable limbs, would not signify without
that blue. “You’re staring at Anthony’s toy,” the mother said. “May
I ask why?” I explained that its color beguiled me. “Yes,” she said.
“It’s new. A perfect blue. You’re reacting to its perfection.” I
nodded. Perhaps she had something there. I continued installing
her new modem. “You know,” she said, “whether moved by
Anthony’s hand or pulled by the rope he ties around its neck, the
toy has no will of its own. Inanimate, it depends upon an agency
outside of itself to be actualized.” I nodded and continued with
my work. Anthony continued messing with his sippy cup. “You’re
staring at my son now,” his mother said. I didn’t want to admit
how strange I found his appearance, so I said I was reflecting on
the toy. “Ah, the toy,” the mother said, “the toy. Friends can
become bitter enemies on a sudden whim for petty offenses and

2. Mountbatten Subfusc

Underscoring the onset of nausea on the pier, feelings of self-loathing
also bubble up to the surface. “I get seasick in the bathtub, man,”
declares a ponytailed dude in Plymouth pink. A couple from Ohio object
to his fashion posture, his latte-sucking superciliousness, and his
generally negative vibrations. “Fellers like that don’t live long,” says Ernie
Litharge, independent trucker, wearing a distinctive cardinal cap with
four golden letters stitched across it. “Well,” says Martha, his pinguid
wife, “I ain’t boarding no boat with no communist.” Dude takes offense.
“I’m not a card-carrying member, man,” he says. “And I don’t buy
everything Karl Marx proposed. Like, don’t injustice me. I’m a human
being.” Ernie Litharge dislikes what he’s hearing, this human being
nonsense. Like it has to be said at all. Like two good Christians couldn’t
recognize a member of their species, albeit a weak one. Ernie Litharge
doesn’t like him one bit. Martha Litharge wants to slam his skull with her
Bible-laden snorkel blue handbag. She hefts it around for such moments.
But her hubby shakes his head. Maybe another time. The vertiginous
pink dude will never understand how close to being sanctified he came.

3. Phlox and Flancs

Don’t toy with me. Your skintight peach echo Spandex leggings make me
want to pinch my eyelids. Et qu’avons nous ici? A crop-duster sputters
across the chalk-streaked blue-board of the sky. Why do you think
everything looks the way it does? There are no accidents, only
conclusions. “I don’t understand you,” you say. But I don’t understand
myself. That doesn’t make my job any easier. Reaching out to another
nowadays requires valeur. “I’m afraid to catch something,” I admit. This
hurts you. I can see it in your eyes, the color of a bay horse’s trotting
through the countryside and turning to admire a blazing field of phlox. I
am a romantic. Perhaps not presently. But as mentioned, I have a job to
do. For now I serve as a functionary, though I misplaced my itinerary
several days ago. “How do you expect to carry on?” you ask. O naïveté! O
causes perdues!
Not a clue how I’ll carry on. The feat is mechanical, after
all. Overthinking leads to errors and redundancies. “I’m getting cold,”
you say. “At least you’re not bored,” I reply. “But I am that, too,” you
admit with a cymbal clashing yawn. 

Salvatore Difalco has recent work in Brilliant Flash Fiction, Five Minute Lit and Cafe Irreal.

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