From Zero to Infinity by Carol Ann Parchewsky

You can sit there as long as you want. On top of a pixelated mushroom in a fir-filled forest. Singing a song like a Eurovision vixen or dancing as loud as a Disney princess in fuschia or lilac embroidered tulle dresses.

You can eat a box of Girl Guide cookies if they are the original chocolate and vanilla ones. Layer by cream filled wafer layer. You can eat only one or the whole box. Empty calories remain inside the blue box with smiles. Empty calories that pad your hips and thighs eliminating the choice between diaphanous bikinis and black trapeze dresses.

You can totally judge me if the world is falling apart. Look me up and look me down, around, and behind. See my hips, full and wide. Stable and strong. Judge me again. I double dare you. Judge me again.

You can hide from life here anytime you want. On the faded orange vinyl chesterfield or next to the lava lamp that gurgles and bubbles like thoughts in your young mind. Fade away and slouch like the back row of your grade two class photo. You need to go now and stand alone in a crowd like a swan among ducklings. You need to go now before the alarm sounds. Before we both wake. You ought to use your math skills once in a while before you forget the times tables and how to derive a proof. Sing that equation loud and proud. Sing that derivative like an oyster ripped from the brackish estuary. Sing that integration from zero to infinity. Hug Buzz Lightyear and hug yourself. Add two to two and find four.

Carol Ann Parchewsky is a writer based in Calgary, Alberta. She received her MFA in Fiction at Queens University of Charlotte and her Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, from the University of Saskatchewan. She is working on her first novel and a short story collection. Her fiction is published in and forthcoming in Burningword Literary, On the Run, Flash Boulevard, Drunk Monkeys, Stanchion, The Drabble Advent Calendar, and Guernica Editions This Will Only Take A Minute. She has been shortlisted for The Bath Flash Fiction Award.

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