From the Desk of the an Editor;
Hello and greetings to this issue of Larks Fiction Magazine! In this issue we explore the weird world of inanimate objects and their lives.
In big exciting news, our editors will be running the Luchador 5K Run in Tulsa, Oklahoma to benefit underprivileged children afford summer camp programs. If you are near Tulsa near the end of March come out and chat us up whilst eating our dust! Here is the website: https://luchadorrun-es2002.eventbrite.com/?rank=10#
Besides charity we are continuing to read submissions. We should be nearing the end of the backlog so expect the new submission email address soon!
Concerning Lost Buttons
By Daniel J. Pool
On a Monday in June I hung low from a single thread; bobbing in time with wet tennis shoes. I stared at the shoes; so smug as they paced the wet earth. I felt loads shift and an arm scuffed me. I fell.
Hitting the ground, I yelled. I yelled to the coat, to the trousers, even the smug tennis shoes—but they did not or could not care. I lay on the bitter earth, alone and thread-less.
In anguish I cried out for no one; just for myself. My life was over, what is a life without a button hole and thread? What is a button alone?
“Shut up,” said a smoky of a voice from nearby.
“You think you have it rough bud?” asked the voice, completely ignoring my question.
“Well yes, all of my life is now useless; I am without a place or stitch in this world. No one would give a darn about me now,” I lamented.
“How do you think I feel? I was loved. I was important, and then they used me, and threw me out.”
The wave of anguish the words create, forced me to turn over, to see next to me was Cigarette Butt.
Wallowing in a pool of grief he cried, “There is no point to being without being useful, and for us sir, we are no longer.”
“But then why am I left? Just to fade in the sun and bide my time till I am dust?”
His filtered silence answered me, for us there was only waiting left. Waiting to not be, and we might as well never had been. A cancer of silence grew between us. A light rain fell.
Breaching the void, a drizzle of a voice said,”Don’t listen to him, if we can wait we can live. It is not our usefulness that will save us, but our outlook on ourselves.”
Cigarette Butt rolled his eyes, “Stay out of this Condom.”
About the Author;
Daniel J. Pool is an author, blogger, and reporter from the Southern Mid-West. His work has been featured in Indigo Rising, the Fringe, and the Scarlet Sound magazines respectfully. In his spare time he is training to become a luchador warrior.
By Jessica Rowse
By Lara Kern
There Finley sat in the sink, dirty again. This was his life now- tossed carelessly in the sink with other dirty dishes in even dirtier water. Didn't these people care about the mess that they always seem to leave behind? Trash was constantly scattered through the small room, and it left behind an almost gut wrenching stench that did not seem to bother the owners of this quaint dorm room. Finley had been taught differently at the prestigious school for young cutlery that his parents had insisted upon. He had struggled for so long to learn how to behave like a young, prestigious piece of cutlery. He was even forced to clean the grit underneath his master’s nails.
Finley had never attended one of the fancy dinner parties that he was promised in school. His owner didn't even take the time to polish him- or any other piece of silver for that matter. All of that time and effort wasted. Instead of attending formal parties, Finley was deduced to the filth of greasy, cheap TV dinners. To add insult to injury his owner decided to use Finley to unclog the kitchen sink on a regular basis.
Finley refused to imagine what his parents would say if they could see him now. What a total disgrace he had turned out to be. The worst part was that Finley wasn't as disgusted as he should have been- like his parents would have been if they had seen their little boy in this place. A college dorm was his parents’ worst nightmare. He hadn't always lived like this though. His family had picked out their house and owners with a great deal of care and attention. They failed to factor into the equation however, that the young boy would eventually grow up and leave that pristine house for something quite the opposite.
The boy, Adam, as the adults called him, had been taken with Finley since he had laid eyes upon him. From the first moment that Finley had been unwrapped from his package, side-by-side with his parents, Adam’s eyes lit up. Finley found out much later on from his father that Adam’s house had no small forks before their arrivial and all of the other forks were simply much too big for Adam's tiny, pucker of a mouth. It only made sense when the grown up Adam moved out to give him the fork he had cherished in his youth. The reason for Adam’s departure from his childhood home was foreign to Finley. He saw no reason to leave but apparently life had more in store for him and Adam.
Finley was glad that Adam had not insisted on taking his family after much thought because he came to the conclusion that his family simply could not handle the young man. Sure, Finley rarely cleaned his spot in the cutlery drawer but what young fork ever does? Finley's mother had insisted that he keep his living quarters neat and tidy and he was relieved to be rid of that burden. Besides, Finley didn't leave moldy pieces of bread out for weeks like Adam. Finley knew that this was his life now and he had to make of it what he could.
When Finley first arrived at the dorm room he was perturbed. Maybe, he thought helplessly, this was a waiting room or something of the sort. A fort night passed and still Finley was stuck in this place. That was when he found out that everything he had been prepared for and had studied so diligently was being thrown out of the window. The other cutlery was unrefined and undignified. They refused to even talk to Finley and so he had found himself friendless and lonely. Finley had begun to notice changes in Adam as well. A small voice in Finley’s head tried to reason that it was merely human nature to grow up.
That voice in Finley's head started out small and turned into something bigger, a shout. The voice yelled at Finley about things that he considered minor. The voice continued on until one day it turned into a need. Finley didn’t know what to think at first so he held strong to the ideals that were instilled into his metal points. In the meantime, Adam was ever evolving into someone of his own design without the limitations created during his childhood by adults. He wore, said, and did exactly what he wanted.
Adam began seeing a girl. Finley had never cared to even consider Adam's life. Finley's number one concern was his wellbeing. It wasn't that Finley disliked Adam because that wasn't the case at all. In fact, Finley respected Adam enough to stay out of his business. It did not take Finley long to learn the girl's name, Kathy. He had overheard one of their many late night talks and began to wonder if there was someone like Kathy out there in the big, wide world for him.
Weeks passed by and Finley had begun to ache for someone to share his thoughts with.
As the weeks faded into months Kathy began to spend more time at the quaint college dorm. Then, everything changed. Adam packed up his belongings and lugged Finley just blocks away from the dorm but it felt like miles to Finley. Adam and Kathy had rented an apartment together for the summer. Finley had slipped into a comfortable, predictable life back at the dorm. Sure, his life had not been perfect but who can accept perfection from a twenty year old male? Besides, Finley had loved their late night snacking and random assortment of foods. Now everything would change. They would no longer eat peanut butter out of the jar at two o'clock in the morning.
Finley had liked Kathy. Why was she taking away his best friend? Adam, Kathy, and Finley had been at their new apartment for less than a week and Finley had already sulked up in his place in the drawer. He had even tried to maim a poor, defenseless visitor who reached into the drawer unknowingly looking for a utensil. Somehow during Finley's attack the visitor slammed the drawer closed causing some of Finley's teeth to get mangled. The man took no notice and continued making his sandwich as Finley lay huddled in his corner. He shuddered and tried to will his would-be brilliant, shiny teeth to bend back in their proper direction, but it was no use nothing he tried made any kind of difference.
Finley had stayed huddled in the corner for days. At first, Finley had been furious at Adam for abandoning him so suddenly. Then, he became angry at himself for attacking one of Adam's friends. Finally, Finley had become depressed and hurt by the fact that absolutely no one was there for him. He had huddled in a quaint, dark corner of the drawer alone and uncared for.
Finley was sure that he would not live to see another day. His teeth were cruelly twisted on top of his head as if in a bun. It was the most excruciating pain Finley had ever felt. He just knew he would be left here alone and unloved in his pathetic little corner forever.
A few days later, someone pulled the drawer out harder than expected and Finley, along with the other cutlery, all shimmied to the front of the drawer. Adam began to paw through the drawer looking for something to stir his morning coffee with. It was a relief to Finley when Adam found him. Adam gently lifted Finley out of the drawer and inspected his cruelly twisted teeth. He ran a finger down the deformities and even inspected it further in the light. Finally, Adam carefully bent each tooth back to its original shape.
After Finley had been saved he took a new lease on life. He began to open up more to the other kitchen utensils. The Spatula, Conrad, helped Finley with the transition and they soon became good friends. Conrad had been brought to the small apartment because Adam had nothing to properly flip pancakes with. Kathy was Conrad’s owner; he loved to share stories about when she was only a little girl. Then, very gradually the number of kitchen utensils began to expand. Finley remembered a time when Adam had only two of the basics: two bowls, two plates, two cups, two forks, two knives, and two spoons. Now, combined with Kathy’s things, Finley found it difficult to comfortably lie in his favorite drawer. At night, he was packed into the small drawer with all of the other cutlery, sardine style, and it was hard to breathe.
Finley had become more content with his life than ever before. He rarely got upset due to the lack of use or polishing because his anger never solved the problem. Friends like Conrad had helped him regain a sense of direction in his life. The only thing he longed for was someone to share his hopes and dreams with. He wanted someone who would be there for the good times and the bad.
A few days after his realization, Kathy brought in a cardboard box. When their eyes met over the soapy dish suds it was a serendipitous moment. No words could properly describe the volume of feeling that was tugging a Finley’s heart strings. The oval shape of her head made Finley’s heart swoon. She was absolutely the most beautiful piece of cutlery Finley had ever seen in his life.
Finley awkwardly shuffled in one spot and lowered his eyes to the floor. He nudged Conrad, “Who’s that?”
Conrad laughed cordially, “That, my good fellow, is Petunia.”
Petunia, “Finley let the name roll from his tongue in a hazy daydream voice.
Conrad leaned closer to Finley as if they were discussing a conspiracy on a larger scale, “Petunia was the prettiest thing you have ever seen back in her youthful days. She has become weathered and unused as of late and is frightfully upset about the whole matter. You see, Petuina was Kathy’s favorite spoon. She never ate cereal, soup, or porridge without her and then one day everything turned south. Kathy barely even polishes Petunia anymore.” Conrad clucked his tongue in a disapproving manner.
Finley forced his gaze from Petunia back to Conrad, “But why?” How could someone not see Petunia’s beauty? It was obvious to Finley and he had not even been properly introduced to her yet.
Over the next few days Finley tried his best to get to know Petunia but his efforts were dashed on the rocks. Finley discovered that Petunia was quiet and shy. He never saw her talking with anyone and she barely explored outside of the drawer Kathy had placed her in. She did occasionally take short walks around the kitchen counter but she never wandered far. Finley would watch all of the other utensils trying to talk to her and he was relieved to see she never favored one.
Not too long after Petunia's arrival, Finley got his chance to talk to her. A bunch of other utensils had arrived after Petunia and some of them were not as sweet as she was. One was Billy. Conrad had warned Finley against any type of interaction with Billy. Apparently, Billy was a troubled young man who was recklessly dangerous. He had gotten into so many fights that Kathy's parents had given him to Kathy as a moving present. Billy proceeded to pick on and torture all of Kathy's cutlery and even the kitchen appliances.
Finley was unsure why but Billy made him feel uneasy. Conrad had informed Finley that at one time Billy and Petunia had been a couple. Petunia had ended the relationship when Billy became violent. Finley was displeased to see Billy lurking around Petunia’s drawer in an obvious attempt to get her back. He did that every night and every night Finley lost sleep worrying about Petunia.
Finley had succeeded in keeping his distance until he heard muffled voices. One sounded like Petunia’s melodious voice. Finley had thought nothing of it until he heard a scream and metal hit metal. When he made his way to the noises Finley saw Billy standing over a sobbing Petunia.
“You stupid little…” Billy raised his blade to strike Petunia again.
“What is going on here?”Finley's voice was tense and full of anger.
“Nothing that concerns you,” Billy's dark eyes narrowed at Finley.
Petunia began to sob, “Please Billy stop. Leave him alone.”
“SHUT UP! Just shut up Petunia. If you won’t like me then no one will like you after I’m done. Do you get what I’m saying?” Billy’s voice was irate.
Petunia continued to sob but said nothing else.
Billy turned his back to Petunia and rounded on Finley, “What are you still doing here? I thought I told you to scram!”
“I don't think so,” Finley had never been in a fight and was scared out of his mind, but he refused to let Billy see his fear.
Finley jumped out in front of Billy and ended up tripping the big, bad bully with his slightly larger feet by accident. Finley watched horrified as Billy took a terrifyingly long fall and landed with a loud clank on the kitchen floor. Billy swore and spat, his blade was bent and his temper was running high but there was nothing he could do to repair his damaged ego or his bent blade.
Finley’s stomach sank. He had never meant to hurt Billy. He had only wanted to protect Petunia. Petunia still was lying on the counter. Finley knelt down and gently patted her head, “Are you okay?”
Petunia stirred a little from her dazed state, “I believe so. Is Billy gone?” Her eyes gleamed with fright.
Finley saw relief wash over Petunia as their eyes met.
“Thank you,” she replied.
Finley and Petunia finally got the chance to talk about their past, present, and futures. Petunia had experiences like no one Finley had ever met. While Finley had found himself in etiquette training Petunia was out exploring the world with Kathy. He found that he could sit for hours and listen to her beautiful voice. Finley had finally found the one that made him whole and he had never been happier. Finley knew this wasn’t an ending but the beginning to something more.
About the Author;
Lara Kern was born and still resides in Gainesville, Georgia with her husband, two dogs, and cat. She has been writing on hubpages.com for over a year and has currently started a blog entitled Confessions of a Rambling Girl.
Thank you for joining us once again! Come back next week for more great fiction! Or see our back issues for more indie lit.