2 pieces of flash fiction by Robert Fromberg

Flash Fiction

Committed to Memory

Tie a string around your finger, and you may (or may not) be reminded of something you’d

prefer not to forget. Tie a string too tightly around your finger, and the tissue will be crushed and your finger will rot and then if you remove the string all kinds of bacteria and other bad things will flow into your bloodstream. Up to you: How committed are you to remembering that thing?


The Rich Man’s Left Eyeball

To the rich man who enjoys showing guests his home gym with its breathtakingly elegant,

dizzyingly expensive equipment that, the rich man enjoys telling his guests, he paid no money for because he told the manufacturers in his man-of-affairs-speaking-to-another-man-of-affairs tone that he was a distributor of such equipment to an exclusive clientele, a lie, and would like samples to test for their worthiness on behalf of his oh-so-particular clients, and when asked by the more courageous of his guests why he performed this sleight of hand, invariably tilts a shoulder and curls his lips in a way that might as well scream “dumb question” and responds, “Because I can”: Please be the real-life version of a character in a British mini-series thriller who, in the final scene of the final episode, is locked in a police van with the gangsters he cheated out of three billion pounds, and unlike such a TV show, let us be shown that the gangsters have smuggled into the van certain sharp instruments whose use you cannot fathom despite your oh-so-worldly life, and let the gangsters begin by filleting skin from various parts of your body, and just as one of the gangsters is about to pop out your left eyeball using a long, thin instrument with a tiny hook on the end, let you say, “Why are you doing this to me?” and let the lead gangster, the one poised above your eyeball, tilt a shoulder and curl his lips in a way that might as well scream “dumb question” and reply, “Because we can,” and let him look to his confreres for their support of his assertion, and let them purse their lips in consideration and nod in agreement, and let the gangster continue with the operation on your left eyeball.


Robert Fromberg’s memoir, How to Walk with Steve, is coming in September from Latah Books. He has other work in Anti-Heroin Chic, Bitchin’ Kitsch, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. Punk cred: living around the corner from CBGB 1976-77. Twitter: @robfromberg