Literature 8-27-2008

miniStories: “Shoo, Shoo” by John Jodzio

Read "Shoo, Shoo" by John Jodzio, a sharply funny, insightful flash fiction entry which earned the author the miniStories Grand Prize: look for a newly commissioned short story by Jodzio to be published on in September 2008.


Shoo, Shoo

         Shoo, shoo, my wife said, but those were not the words. Quite obviously those were not the words. We might as well have thrown a bottle of Jack and a dime bag of skunk weed down from our bedroom window and said, hunker down fellas, stay awhile. These were jazz musicians and my wife had said shoo.

          Earlier that day, we’d gotten the test results. It ended up being both our faults. Her eggs were bad and my sperm was lazy. We sat in the parking lot of the clinic for about an hour after our appointment, in our car you started with a screwdriver and stopped by pulling up on the emergency brake. I paged though a glossy pamphlet that made adoption look cool and fun.
          “I was ready to blame you and then pretend I wasn’t blaming you,” she said. “I was ready to blame myself and then not believe you when you said it wasn’t my fault.”
          “Ditto,” I told her.
          “I don’t know what to do now,” she told me.
          “Exactly,” I said.

          I’d already called the cops. I’d held the phone out the window and let the police dispatcher listen to the racket below, the joshing and stumbling and bellowing and knee slapping and the occasional horn bleat and rim shot.
          “In my neighborhood, noise like that would be welcome,” the dispatcher told me. “I’d love to hear some noise like that sometime.”
          I hung up the phone and began to knead my wife’s shoulders, pushing against the braids of back muscle until I found bone.
          “Maybe we could have a miracle baby,” I said. “One of those against-all-odds babies that never should have happened. Everyone else has them, why not us?”
         After I said what I said about the miracle baby, my wife got up and pulled our dresser across the bedroom. It was huge, this dresser, claw-footed, an heirloom, her grandmother’s and her grandmother’s before that.
          “What are you doing?” I asked.
         She propped the dresser on the window sill and then gathered herself and shoved it out the window. I heard a loud crash, some clattering of instruments, yelling. I got up and stood beside her; I saw the dresser in a million pieces. My wife carried a bedside table to the window and out went. She kept going. Books were pulled from the bookshelf, tossed. After the books, the bookshelf.
          The musicians had run off by then, gone to wherever it is jazz musicians go when they get tired of their shenanigans, but my wife kept on – the good silverware, the coffee pot, that knife set I’d bought off TV.
          I went into the bathroom, took wet toilet paper and stuffed it in my ears. I laid down inside the tub and closed my eyes and listened my heart echo inside my head.

About the author: John Jodzio‘s writing has appeared in the Rake Magazine, Florida Review, Opium and in a number of places online, including McSweeney’s and Pindeldyboz. He’s won a Minnesota Magazine fiction prize and the Opium 500 Word Memoir competition and was recently awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to finish a collection of short stories titled If You Lived Here, You’d Already Be Home.

John Jodzio

John Jodzio is a winner of the Loft-McKnight Fellowship.  His stories have appeared in a variety of places including This American Life, McSweeney’s, and One Story. He’s the author of the short story collections, “If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home” (Replacement Press) and “Get In If You Want To Live” (Paper Darts Press).  He lives in Minneapolis.  Find out more at …   read more