Humpty Dumpty in the Afterlife

by Mark Budman

[Editor’s Note: Click on the triptych below to view it at full size.]

Microsoft Word - HumptydumptyTriptychEdited.doc

Mark Budman was born in the former Soviet Union. His writing appeared in PEN, American Scholar, Huffington Post, World Literature Today, Daily Science Fiction, Mississippi Review, Virginia Quarterly, The London Magazine (UK), McSweeney’s, Sonora Review, Another Chicago, Sou’wester, Southeast Review, Mid-American Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Short Fiction (UK), and elsewhere. He is the publisher of the flash fiction magazine Vestal Review. His novel My Life at First Try was published by Counterpoint Press. He co-edited flash fiction anthologies from Ooligan Press and Persea Books/Norton. This is his second appearance in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of this triptych?

The idea of Humpty Dumpty in the Afterlife came to me while I was contemplating the fact that in the US eggs are refrigerated while in the UK they are not. Is the Devil an American or British in his domestic life? How can he treat someone who is vulnerable by nature without destroying him? So Humpty has become sort of a low-level Prometeus encrusted in diamonds, watching other people getting tortured. As usual, I wanted to include many ideas in a very short story, butt his time I was limited to two cubic inches, which is the volume of the average chicken egg. Very compressed.

This story will eventually become a part of a series of interconnected flashes tentatively named “Death. An Afterthought in XXX acts.”


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now closed. The reading period for standard submissions opens again March 15, 2023. Submit here.


07/08 • Meg Eden
07/15 • Tim Raymond
07/22 • Mike Itaya
07/29 • Eric Steineger
08/05 • Baylee Less-Eiseman
08/12 • Rae Gourmand
08/19 • Chiwenite Onyekwelu
08/26 • John Arthur
09/02 • TBD
09/09 • TBD
09/16 • TBD
09/23 • TBD
09/30 • TBD