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January 26, 2011

Literary LEO 2011

FLASH FICTION — HONORABLE MENTION

Intercession

BY CASEY SHEPHERD

That day you approached me on Broadway, you just kinda took me off guard. Not your fault, I guess, but before you decided to walk up and say hello, did you notice I was clutching a thousand scraps of paper to my chest? Or that my fingers and face were black and blue with self-inflicted inky smudges? (I swear those were unintentional.)

About the same time you said, “Excuse me, but I’d like to share some Good News with you,” there was that sudden gust of wind. I jumped at your voice, and then the breeze took my secrets; thousands of them scattering over the sidewalk and into the path of the rush hour traffic. They looked like moths, or the kind of snow I haven’t seen since I was girl.

I watched in shock as several confessions were crushed by a bus, and a few accusations fluttered down a storm drain. A woman brushed the story of my sexual assault right out of her hair, and a toddler played in the cascade of my repeated childhood traumas like it was confetti.

And then you stepped on a prayer or two and said, “Ma’am? Did you know that Jesus loves you? I’d like to read you a few verses, if you don’t mind.”

I’m sorry I laughed. It really wasn’t funny at all.