by Kim Chinquee

After the owner asked my boyfriend Dave and I if we wanted beer or soda, giving Dave a beer, he showed us piles of explosives, what this one did and that one. Each with a name, and the owner took us out, showing what one called Texas Justice was made of. It was a Boomer. Noise with nothing pretty. I told Dave I hated those. We left there with him two beers in and two hundred dollars lesser, and he told me he was happy with his purchase, that he’d give the children memories.

Before that we’d gone to another town, where I used to live before I met him years before we were together for the first time, back in high school. He met my cousins, aunts and uncles. Watched the whole parade, which mostly consisted of local bands and politicians. Then we went with my sister and her family to the farm where my sister and I had grown up, to spread my father’s ashes. My boyfriend didn’t say much, but none of us did. We just kind of watched the ashes fly up, then land onto the cornfield. My brother-in-law took charge. I cried a little under my sunglasses, then swallowed hard, and then we were back in the car again, heading anywhere but that place.

So now, here, at the party at Dave’s sisters, there are bunches of people. Some of them I re-met on my last visit, after my reunion with Dave, like his mother and his stepdad. His sister I remember from when we were kids. One of his brothers whose girlfriend I really like. I’ve always liked his girlfriends, though this one probably doesn’t know what I know about the others, from all those days in high school.

My boyfriend is out on the street, in the cul de sac. He’s lighting his goodies. He comes to the SUV, where I’m sitting on the back of it. He gets another, then another, then another, kissing me in between. I don’t know where his mom went. I sit there, on the back, helping him find the wick. He takes his knife, then cuts the top off, takes his explosives to the end, lights them up, then runs.

We all look up. People, even me, are amazed by the sight of it.

Kim Chinquee is the author of Oh Baby and Pretty. She lives in Buffalo, New York.


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 open. The reading period for standard submissions closes again December 15, 2023. Submit here.


11/27 • Michael Mark
12/04 • Helen Beer
12/11 • Rachel Rodman
12/18 • Betsy Robinson
12/25 • Trish Hopkinson
12/31 • Kim Chinquee
01/01 • Jill Michelle