Flash fiction by Caroll Sun Yang: Trust and Stockholm Syndromes

By Caroll Sun Yang


It doesn’t matter if you’re the lion or the gazelle- when the sun comes up, you’d better be
running. –Christopher McDougall

I have come to know what it is you like and dislike. Pacing signals one thing, facing the wall with your teeth grinding means another, and when you let me sleep near you- that is something else. I made stew, I think you liked that. I know the woman at Pacific Bell ticked you off, all through the dusk you clashed until she flat hung up on you, which is not supposed to happen, they are trained to tolerate. Bravo. When you threw that old salmon pink phone hard, it missed any object and only coiled back towards your feet. Busy signal. Glowing digits. Star jasmine. Fertile crickets. I can’t forget such subtle chaos, don’t want to. The door slammed after you, I put the receiver back right in it’s cradle, it still felt warm with the ghost of your grip and I just had to smell the mouthpiece. Beautiful ferment. I can still see your perfect smoke rings framed by the window, hear the kick of your boot tips in the gravel, and the first stars showing. You ate in silence. I felt shy but summoned daring, tried tilting my head to one side and arranged my face into an expression that I hoped might stir you. I wished to convince you that life is not only about petty conflicts, a tangle of bad memories, various causes for throbbing veins and spittle… but that living is also about well-sharpened hunting knives, all of nature’s good yield, learning a good society and… and the easy way I dream of maybe kissing you. I said that. A long time seemed to pass. My heart was a thunder under my flimsy bluebell blouse. I could see this and hoped you would too. You looked up from your place on the stoop and growled shush your tongue poet whore. Such compliments. I loomed over you this time and my damp beggar eyes traveled over your convincing stubble, food wet lips and stallion air. But I felt tall. You were small enough to kick then. Your hand plunged into your fur-lined coat pocket (the house and country are full of cold patches) and pulled out a heart-shaped object wrapped in crinkly silver foil. You held it up to me. I unwrapped a chocolate filled with marshmallow cream. It was very fine. Indoors it was dark except for the pretty blue glow of the tube, I sat very still on my side of the couch and watched a show about Tibetan gazelles. I waited. Boy do they kick up a lot of dust when chased. Crinkly foils. Stew spoon. Cook spoons. Sweetening eyes. Cotton field. Cotton balls. Flickering flame. Cook tar. Pink crook. Blood veins. Fix up. So much dust. Lay down. You came inside. Dirty needle. You came inside. Candy heart. Dust, dust, dust, you never let me down.

This piece was previously published in Repel Industries “Flash No. 1 Zine”.

Caroll Sun Yang holds her BFA in Fine Art from Art Center College of Design, an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and is a certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist. Her work appears in The Nervous Breakdown, New World Writing, MUTHA Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Necessary Fiction, Identity Theory, Word Riot, Psychopomp and other publications. She spends hours hunched over her unborn debut collection while writeressin’ and matriarchin’ in Eagle Rock, Ca. She can never have enough personality-disordered friends/ lo-fi anything/ human touch/ sarcasm/ cell photo filters/ art films featuring teens/ Latrinalia/ frosting flowers/ bio changes. She spews forth as Caroll Sun Yang on Facebook.

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