Shoot | by J. Bradley

Mitch and me play rock-scissor-paper to see whose turn it is to spend time with mom and his paper covers my rock, which is such bullshit, but those are the rules.

I bring out a photo album to the glass shed we have mom living in. Her green gaseous body sways with the air, which usually means she’s asleep. Mom stops swaying when I stop in front of the shed, makes herself the face she remembers having in her old body: hello.

I sit in the grass, turn to a random page in the photo album, and press the open album against the glass shed. I ask mom to tell me more about the photo she’s looking at. You don’t remember, she asks. I shake the story out of my head so she can tell me again about that Halloween where the rain should have killed the vampire that I was but instead made my face and mouth run down my chin, staining my black vest. You got more candy because you couldn’t stop crying, she said. Mom leaves out the part about how my first crush caught me melting, how my first crush got everyone at school to call me Vlad the Wailer for weeks until someone else in my class did something more stupid.




J. Bradley is the author of the flash fiction collection Neil & Other Stories (Whiskey Tit Books, 2018). He lives at

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