by Randall Brown

Honorable Mention: Flash 405, April 2016: “Fault”


I stick postage and an address on a sponge, send it across the country. A week or so later, she calls.

“What is this supposed to be?”

Jesus, they delivered it? “I figured you must be missing me something awful.”

“And how would this help?”

“For all those tears.”

She hangs up.

I get a box at my door, inside two spray cans of NeverWet spray that can waterproof anything: smartphones, sneakers, a cardboard box to transform it into a freezer, a sponge. The cans like silly string from childhood, me pretending to be Spiderman, hiding behind her bushes, waiting for her to emerge, launching webs, entangling us.

I got addicted to Xanax this past year. The last straw, sending her across the country to escape. I have not been without her in thirty years, from the age of eight.

She has always been good at amplifying things, like the sponge to NeverWet. In Vietnam, her brother told her, they used silly string to detect tripwires. We then sprayed it throughout the forest near our houses, searching.

Focus. Spray the box with the first can. Wait thirty minutes. Lightly spray the box with the second can several (how many is that?) times. Four. Fill the box with salt and water. Ship it back.


Randall Brown is on the faculty of Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. He has been published widely, both online and in print. He earned his MFA at Vermont College.

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