For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“All She Had”

Jessica Richardson

Excerpt

The girl at first tried to get them to leave by brute force, that’s it! She shook the benches to annoy them with rattle noises. “Ah look at this,” they laughed, “The little weasel is showing her muscles,” and another one chimed in, “Have you been skipping the gym? You’re looking a little droopy.” So she stole his jacket. The grandfathers weren’t very strong. She stole all of their jackets. They shivered and stared at her like wrinkled chimps. She held her ground for as long as she could.

She tried trickery next. She told them she knew of another young woman who loved to house grandfathers in her. She handed them pamphlets about how very still this other girl sits, how much Carnation Instant Breakfast she drinks, how often she reads the newspaper. She drew pictures of the imaginary girl’s weak limbs. At first the grandfathers’ eyes sparkled with interest. Then one asked, “Well, where does she live?”

We read it in Hobart.