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Three Flash Fictions
by KJ Hannah Greenberg



Aliyah Turning Point


Sherel was grateful to have been able to make aliyah. It had been her dream, her family’s dream, and her people’s dream. Yet, she resented how busy Rafi was prior to their flight as well as after. Citing work duties, her husband appeared only to have time to process utilities’ paperwork, obtain cell phones for their kids, and make his own lunch.


It wasn’t just that she had had to contact the immigration office or to insist that Rafi’s company supply a translator to aid her in searching for schools for their scions. Nether was it that he had left her to single-handedly: arrange carpools once schools had been secured, deal with furniture broken by the movers, mange their unresponsive landlord, problematic plumbing, inadequate cooking facilities, lack of washing machine, etc. It wasn’t even that she had had to negotiate with his company’s representative about their car’s paint scratch, which she ultimately proved had been caused by a previous leasee, or about the five, subsequent, faulty replacement cars and their associated lock codes. It was just that her spouse seemed scarce.


While Daddy settled into his new job, the kids had louder, more frequent sibling conflicts and failed to cooperate with chores. Plus, those sons and daughters were crying on the sofa as often as was Sherel.


Further, she was worn from trying to aid their budding friendships. One daughter had a pal in Tel Aviv, who visited. Once. Another daughter had shared a single Sabbath with a pal from their new neighborhood. A son had had a playdate cancelled when his buddy, who was stressed from his own move, had spent the designated hour hiding under a blanket. As for the fourth, most nights, he’d walk out the front door and return only at bedtime.


Additionally, when the wife/mom visited the homes of new acquaintances, she observed working bathrooms, courteous husbands, her hostesses’ clean, unwrinkled clothes, sleeping babies, and semi-cooperative children. To boot, those other ladies never alluded to being overcharged for goods or services or to losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on the sale of their former homes.


After too many bags of pistachios and too many sleepless hours, Sherel asked for help. She hired tutors for the kids. She gave herself an allowance for small things like high quality coffee beans and a subscription to an English-language newspaper. She insisted, too, that she and Rafi reinstate date night. Sherel also, overall, lowered her expectations of her offspring, husband, and self.


Decades passed. The family’s acculturation process now feels like a distant dream. The  children are grown, educated, and employed. There are grandchildren to enjoy, too. Rafi’s ready to retire. Sherel had long since abandoned her initial career for a more agreeable one.

Their lives still don’t mirror those of their friends. Their home still isn’t sparkly. Sherel still couldn’t win a fashion award. However, none of those things matters any longer.



a line, (a short blue one)


Hard Copy


I admit that I doubted Emma. Her discourse was ordinarily so fanciful that it was hard to identify the nuggets of truth embedded in it. Sure, as an English teacher, she was wont to refer to all manner of ideas found in classic literature, but as a biologist, I couldn’t embrace those things.


No matter. She is still there, and I am still here.  Our spiritual leader had lectured that “here” is merely a different version of “there,” but I had usually nodded or had otherwise fought off sleep rather than absorb what he had said. “Then,” which, I suppose, if our leader was right, is a version of “now,” Emma and I had attended services together.


Anyway, here, there are no wisps of ethereal material, no beatific music, and no otherworldly apparitions. Likewise, there are no fiery pits, no shrieking voices, and no smell of sulfur. Rather, this place is akin to a silent, white photoshoot backdrop.


Moreso, here, it is neither warm nor cold, not overly bright nor overly dim, and not malodourous nor fragrant. This place is entirely nonaligned.


At least it was indeterminate. Suddenly, they are parading in.


Some of them are ragged, but friendly. Others are well kept, but hostile. The two natures line up on either side of a platform that has unexpectedly come into being.


A few large, prodigious presences come into view. They halt behind the dais, in a row. A great proclamation booms above the spectacle that is them. It calls me to position myself in front of the raised platform. I oblige.


Surprisingly, a movie screen unrolls behind the stand. Simultaneously, a bench materializes before it. I am told to sit, to watch, and to listen.


In an ostensible infinite amount of time, my life spools on that monitor. The version shown is no director’s cut; it is unedited.


There are frames featuring my rescuing earthworms from puddles as well as frames of my leaving chewing gum under school desks. At times, the story cuts away to my sticking glue in my brother’s hair or to my anonymously leaving my lunch money for a needy classmate.


The teenage me is portrayed as surreptitiously cursing my father and as yelling bad words directly at my mother. My first moment of explicit intimacy is depicted. I’m also privy to the way in which I barely passed my driver’s license test.


What’s more, I am further revealed to have been drunk at frat parties and to have been nearly anorexic before finals. My exceedingly true movie depicts me as being left out of tag football games again and again, plus as volunteering to tutor kids struggling with calculus. The time that I asked someone else to write the code for one of my homework assignments also shows up on the display unit.


My courting of Emma, correspondingly, is there in vivid detail. A friend’s thoughtfulness in buying an “extra” bouquet for one of Emma’s birthdays and my “forgetting” to invite that friend to Emma’s and my wedding, equally, are publicized.


My “necessary” late meetings and business trips to foreign lands, during the long span when our son and daughter were small, too, are projected. At least, the time when I gave up a cycling race to go to my oldest kid’s school play is on view as is the time when I tucked a feverish Emma into bed and took a few days off of work to care for our children.


Unfortunately, there are condemning sounds and images, to boot, from when the kids, themselves, were adolescents. I answered their testing of boundaries with rage and failed to grasp why, a few years later, they called for my birthday, but rarely visited. On balance, my flick shows that when my daughter Julie, was running out of money because her son needed expensive chemo drugs, and when my son, Tucker, was falling behind on rent payments, I siphoned cash to them.


All things considered, though, I’m illustrated as caring more about the items on my resume than in my eulogy. I was awarded numerous patents but failed to consistently look after my nearest and dearest, let alone after anyone else in my life. It’s amazing that Emma stuck with me.


Eventually, my film ends. I scan my surroundings. On either side of the stage, the lifeforces had formed clusters. Some look a little shinier than before. Others seem duller. They confer with each other for long moments.


The nonpareil voice once more addresses me. I jump up. My seat vanishes.


The dark and light entities, furthermore, disappear. The podium fades away. The screen, similarly, goes missing. The landscape returns to its equivocal state.


All that I had enacted has been captured on supernal film. All that I had said has been knit into a celestial motion picture. As for all that I had thought, both my nice and nasty ideations, respectively, have been preserved for posterity.


Probably, I would faint were I not already out-of-body; losing consciousness could bring relief. Collapsing, however, is no option without a corpus. On balance, the results of my ordeal will be immaterial. Literally.


So, I urge you to consider that every one of your gongs-on make a difference. Whereas it’s fun to have a shiny car, a pretty wife, or a full bank account, it’s more important to have a shiny soul, a pretty disposition, and an account brimming with instances of loving kindness.



a line, (a short blue one)


Many Generations


Dr. Adam HaRishon: “Leonard, Check the refrigerator, please.”


Leonard HaRishon: “????”


Dr. Adam: “She’s unstable. It would be a pity to have to recopy her.”


Leonard: “Uncle, this project’s disgusting.”


Dr. Adam: “Maybe. No matter—you wanted funding. You help me and I help you. Once we’ve completed this research, I’ll write your grant application.”


(Someone knocks on the lab door.)


(Two women enter without waiting for their knock to be answered.)


Sara HaRishon: “Hi Cuz! Hi Dad!”


Dr. Adam: “Sweetie! How many more weeks ‘til I become a grandfather?”


Sara: “Three, maybe, four. Who’s counting?”


Leonard: “Who’s your friend? Hi, I’m Leonard...”


Sara: “Calm down, Lenny. She’s not your type. This is Chava. Anyway, here’s leftovers from dinner. Aunt Shani, I mean your mom, Lenny, cooked ‘em. As for Chava, last night, I literally ran into her.”


(Chava looks around, notices the window, but not Dr. Adam or Leonard, and then jumps out onto the fire escape.)


Sara: “Chava, wait for me!”


Dr. Adam: “Honey, don’t! The baby!”


Leonard: “Ran into her?”


(Sara climbs out the window.)


Sara: “I was in the elevator. Met her when the door opened in the lobby.”




Sara: “Really, Chava, this employment agency is the best. You’re shy, for sure, but ya gotta get a job. Why did you climb down the fire escape, yesterday? You never said.”




Sara: “No matter. We, I mean you, are next.”


Agency Staff: “Next…”


Sara: “Hi. We, I mean she, Chava is…”


Staff: “Seeking? What’s she seeking?”


Sara: “Don’t know.”


Staff: “Data entry skills?”


Sara: “Sure. Who can’t?”


Staff: “Aha!”


Sara: “Wait! Stop this interview. Chava doesn’t look so good. We’ll come back tomorrow.”


Staff: “And forfeit my fee, I mean and forfeit this opportunity? A Dr. Adam HaRishon’s looking for someone to enter information into a database. Minimum wage. That okay?”


Chava: “Adam?”


Sara: “Dad?”


Staff: “You know him?”


Sara: “Of course.”


Staff: “Well, keep it to yourself. I need my fee.”


(Chava groans.)


Sara: “Chava, it’s okay. We’ll deal with your job later. You might need a doctor. Let’s go.”


Staff: “My fee?”


Sara: “Tomorrow. We’ll be back to sign the papers.”


Staff: “You better not go behind my back. I could sue you for that.”


Sara: “Whatever. Come on Chava, we’re out of here.”




Sara: “Hi Dad! Hi Cuz.”


Dr. Adam: “Sara, stay away! We have the radioactive isotopes out. Both technetium and seaborgium!”


Sara: “I’ll stand behind this door. Can you still hear me?”


Dr. Adam: “It’s not lead-plated. Go away immediately!”


Sara: “We’re here about the data entry position. Chava needs work. Why didn’t you say you were hiring?”


Leonard: “We posted with an agency. We’re too busy, now, with my special project to bother with interviews.”


Sara: “You’ve always been too busy.”


Leonard: “And you’ve always been a nuisance. Go away. Let the agency handle the hire. Scat!”


Sara: “Don’t ‘scat’ me Dr. Adam HaRishon, I mean dad. I’m nearly twenty!”


(Chava knocks things over.)


Chava shouts: “Adam? Adam!”


Dr. Adam: “Sara, Leave! Take your gal pal. In five minutes, this city will be in lockdown. I had to call the police. My Old Earth specimen disappeared last night.


“More to the point, this radioactive zone’s no place for my unborn grandchild. Scoot!”


Sara: “’Scoot?’”


Dr. Adam: “Scoot.”


(Dr. Adam starts to cry.)


Dr. Adam: “My funding and his (points to Leonard) depended on the success of my new study. I wanted to buy the grandbaby so many things! Now, instead, my subject is missing and even my dangerous interventions can’t seem to bring her back.”


Chava: “Adam?”


Leonard: “The prehistoric lady?!”


Sara: “Leonard, leave her be. She’s just foreign.”


Leonard: “Cousin, you’re a nincompoop. We exposed ourselves to dangerous levels of transmitted energy to find the girl you’ve been partying with.”


Sara: “I don’t party. Expectant mothers never party.”


Chava: “Ada-m!”


(Chava sighs and then embraces Dr. Adam.)


Sara: “Furthermore, I’m no ‘nincompoop.’ You, however, are a halfwit!”


Leonard: “You’re a dolt.”


Sara: “Ignoramus!”


Leonard: “Bozo!”


Sara: “Dunderhead!”


Dr. Adam: “Chava of Eden? How did you breakout of the refrigerator? There’s no inner handgrip. Please go back inside.”


Chava: “Ad-am!”


(Chava snuggles closer to the chief scientist. Dr. Adam’s eyes widen. He pulls Chava’s arm off of his shoulder.)


Dr. Adam: “Leonard, I’m taking a break, effective immediately.”


Leonard: “What!? Our subject’s outside her containment field. There are mere minutes until this city locks down. You’ve been exposed to unhealthy amounts of radiation. You must stay here!”


(Dr. Adam shrugs.)


Dr. Adam: “All of that is true. No matter. You’re now in charge. Sara, come with me.”


(Chava follows Sara and Dr. Adam.)


Leonard: “Come back! Chava, you need to get back into the refrigerator. You’ll die. You’re already decaying. You’re not stable.”


Dr. Adam: “Stop worrying, Leonard. None of us really are stable. Funding’s not stable, nothing’s stable. Besides, Chava’s already dead.”


Leonard: “Uncle! Your responsibilities! Your research! Your lab! Your nephew!”


Dr. Adam: “My generations. While you were gawking at Chava, Sara went into labor. I’m about to become a grandfather. I’m taking my daughter to the hospital.”


Leonard: “You can’t enter a hospital. You’re contaminated. For that matter, you shouldn’t be so close to a very pregnant woman or to a very ancient woman, either.”


Dr. Adam: “Probably true, but irrelevant. The baby will not be born here if I can help it.

Sorry, ancestor. This is not your time and place.”


(Dr. Adam pushes Chava into the refrigerator. He then flicks a switch. Through the refrigerator’s transparent door, a whirl of colors can be seen. Suddenly, the colors disappear and the refrigerator is empty.)


Sara: “Chava! Father, what have you done?”


Dr. Adam: “Not stepped on too many butterflies, I hope. Anyway, we must leave. I can’t wait to meet your baby.”




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