Instant Courage

Mary Biddinger

I had the dream again, the one with all the outdated clip art. We didn’t know any better than to present our milky slates bedazzled with Z-marks to colleagues wearing the harshest shoulder pads in American history. It was hard to imagine them fitting through the doors of their dwellings, which looked like a series of glue traps for mice or roaches, set out by an inhumane god. I was too busy searching for my own likeness among the thumbnails. I would know me by my hair and my ass, both of which were abundant. I would know me by the way my two-dimensional likeness would want to be animated, but that was not available yet, kind of like how I listened to Pretty Hate Machine for years before any of my friends took notice. When seeking a bottle of instant courage, the following items were available for insertion: ink + quill pen, poison bottle with ill opossum, empty fish bowl, a Pacific ocean (not to scale), one capsized thimble in a mending box. It goes without saying that none of this was in color. Not the blood on my knee when I tripped on the hastily-sketched mall Santa, or the eyes of my nemesis when we exchanged the only physical congress available: an aggressive handshake in front of two fictional flags.


about the author