EDITOR’S CHOICE – Flash Fiction – The Ocotillo Review – Winter 2018

 Jessica VanDevanter packed abundant plot and emotion into less than 200 words in Jokers, this edition’s Editor’s Choice for Flash Fiction.

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            Sorting through some closet artifacts I found your playing cards.

They were left on the wrong side of the seam that ripped through us.

I cracked open the deck and smelled the waxy coating and it smelled like your fingers. The jokers were stacked on top where you left them.

The first time I watched you play black jack you came out $18 ahead. It was low stakes and you stopped after you lost two hands in a row. We were new and you were still pretending to have self-control. You would only order a second drink if I did. Your bed sheets were clean.

The first time I played black jack by myself I lost 13 peanuts. I was at the kitchen counter and your cards were laid out in front of me and the imaginary dealer was winning hand after hand.

I ate the lost peanuts and wrote things on the cards. Notes to you, stuff I never said. I tucked them in spots all over our city, just in case.

The only ones I kept were the jokers.

Jessica VanDevanter (San Diego, California) is currently enrolled in the Creative Writing Certificate program at University of California San Diego Extension.