short prose contest 2016 runner up
Make a duplicate of your body. Shrink it down. Touch your tiny hands. Consider if this is what it means to be a mother. Go to the store and buy a green felt board. Smooth it soft. Pull an insect pin from your desk drawer. Stick it neat, swift through your torso. Notice how your miniature’s scream sounds like a boiling lobster’s. Wait for silence. Surround your head and shoulders with dead butterflies. Their dusty, gorgeous wings. Press red and yellow pins through little you’s shoulders while she flails. Don’t be surprised when the blood stains are larger than you expect.
Examine yourself using a magnifying glass. Wipe little you clean with your big t-shirt. Clip your fingernails: large and small. Try out that magenta hair dye. Buy her a whole new wardrobe. And when you feel bored: buy a glass class. Display your duplicate in your foyer. Tell your friends it was a present when they ask. Laugh when they call it creepy. Or try to say something deep about perspective and how exciting it can be to see something that feels wrong. Like walking into the woods and seeing a raven using its beak to clean a man’s teeth for him.
Look at little you and think, this is the person you’re meant to be. Throw out little you. Write down the experience. Hide the paper in your underwear drawer. Forget. Find it four months later and crouch over it. Circle the good.
Megan Giddings is an MFA student at Indiana University and the Executive Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Two of her stories will be featured in Best Small Fictions 2016. Her chapbooks, Arcade Seventeen (TAR) and The Most Dangerous Game (The Lettered Streets Press), will be published in Summer 2016. She has stories forthcoming or that have been recently published in The Offing, Pleiades, Black Warrior Review, and Arts & Letters.