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55 Fiction

“The World’s Shortest Stories” yearly contest

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350 Miles of Bad Road

(Pre-2000)
If you decide to get high while traveling the coast of California from Ventura to San Francisco, the ride can be a lot of fun.
an excerpt from this contemporary short story …

We were on Highway 1 leaving Ventura, heading north to San Francisco, when I lost my pencil.

The first place I looked was behind my ear, but even though I thought I had absentmindedly stuck it there a few seconds ago, the search proved fruitless. First I pinched the tufts of hair surrounding the left lobe, definitely non-regulation length, then the hair of the right just to be certain. My ears have always been large. I fingered each thin piece of pink cartilage as if it were capable of deception, gave that up as a bad beginning. I dropped my hand to my lap where I thought the pencil might have fallen and disappeared into a crevasse or wrinkle created by my posture. No such luck.

I flattened the palm of each hand on either side of my butt and began burrowing in among the papers and books, magazines and tissues used and the spilled contents of my Aunt’s purse, an empty soda can and two wrappers from a candy bar I’d just finished eating. Why do they put so much paper around a lousy piece of chocolate anyway? Two when one is enough? Ran my hands through this detritus as through a foamy dishpan seeking silverware.

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No pencil.

I touched my breast from throat to stomach and opened the top-most button of my shirt, peered into the cloth covering my chest as if opening a cave to daylight. Not found.

For good measure, I stuck my hand deep into the concealment of my crotch and felt around. No pencil. I removed the hand, held the shirt cuff open with the index finger of my other hand and peeked down the sleeve.

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