How the Boss Died: A Triptych by Meg Pokrass
In the mirror, your face stares back at you, under-slept and hungry. Far as you know, the boss died happily paragliding between your fine, fine breasts, and when the paramedics got there, he was absolutely dead. By then your clothes were on.
Help him, you said. No one’s fault, it was all a bit too wonderful for the boss’s heart.
The police considered you all the evidence they needed, visual assurance, you overwhelmed your boss’s organ, the one inside his chest.
Best way to go, Sister, one of the cops says, slipping you his mobile.
The boss is no longer at work to make you feel sorry for yourself or wrinkled or anxious or annoyingly turned on. Where the boss used to sit, on his desk, on the floor, even astride his chair, there are bunches of flowers. This is because of you. A few secretaries stand around his desk, sniffing them, wiping their brows, hugging each other, saying, oh my god, oh my god.
He was really good at scrabble, Elspeth said. I’ll miss that, she sobs, looking you up and down. Fuck her. You don’t know how she would know this. Perhaps she played him online, which you never did.
What you miss is the pickled taste of his tongue, the slap of his body and the midnight snacks you shared. The way he’d insist on peanut noodles, even though you’d already eaten too many. You shared them in bed, this was your reward for sex with the boss.
You make a list of your attributes and defects: You are great at sex, bad at Scrabble, bad at lonely holiday dinners, good at job interviews, bad at keeping the jobs you get, good at eating bad-for-you food after sex with the wrong person, good at falling for men who can only make you happy every now and again. Good at loving your boss who arrived at the office at 6AM, wearing jeans and looking ready for anything but never wanting to know you.
Meg Pokrass is the author of six flash fiction collections and two novellas-in-flash. Her work has been anthologized in Flash Fiction International and New Micro (W.W. Norton & Co., 2018), Wigleaf Top 50, Best Small Fictions, 2018 and 2019, Flash Non-Fiction Funny, My Very End of the Universe – Five Novellas in Flash and a Study of the Form, Nothing Short Of 100, Funnybone, National Flash Fiction Day Anthology, the Biffy 50, 2019, and others. Her flash has appeared in over 350 literary journals including Electric Literature, Tin House, Tupelo Quarterly, Wigleaf, and Smokelong Quarterly. Meg currently serves as Flash Challenge Editor at MslexiaMagazine, Festival Curator for Flash Fiction Festival, U.K., Co-Editor of Best Microfiction 2020, and Founding/Managing Editor of New Flash Fiction Review. Her new collection, “The Dog Seated Next to Me”, will be published in 2019 by Pelekinesis Press and a novella-in-flash, “The Smell of Good Luck” is forthcoming from Flash: The International Short Short Story Press (University of Chester).