wigleaf in the House…Robert Repino

“Doll Eyes” found here, by Robert Repino.

A type of low-down bottle of drink. (The “American Classic”–truer words never slurred.) The kind of thing back when and you scrape together pennies for–crevasse of car seat, in kitchen junk drawer (matches, nails, anhydrous ammonia, ball of twine), somehow/someway, all those miles, a quarter wedged between the antennae of your car and the forehead of the rust-flecked hood.

Drink it. Then you’re drunk.


part of my wigleaf top 50 very short fictions mission. Let’s crack the top on this bottle then fling it. People like us don’t need caps to bottles. Once we open, we’re dun.

Things I didn’t care for:

1.) Only one, really. The ending. A big deal, for Flash, for the reader (or this one) to have concerns with the ending. Then again maybe this flash actually eliminates/overcomes my concerns with all that breathes (and honks and licks?) before the ending. Anyway, I found the last line to perfectly express a writing maxim: You know that line where you Tell everything you just Showed–cut it like bait.

I’d prefer to end on image, on echo, on fade, on the photo itself, not the person alongside me pointing to the photo, explaining, “In this picture we are…”

Things I did care for:

The world of this flash took everything–the pond, the goose, its eyes, the banal repitition/exclamations of social interactions (what we are supposed to say, supposed to react in this/that situation) and displays it all as Tara, narrator’s feeligs for, world of. Tara. Tara. Tara.

To see this same thing done very, very well, I refer you to Thomas Hardy’s Neutral Tones, a devastating poem about lost love, or, hell, about hate. Any questions about the me and the you in this poem, about their relationship? If so, here are the answers: God-curst, starving sod, ominous bird-a-wing. Etc.

In Repino’s work, we see an artist constructing the same image, its echo: one of accumulation.Like an impressionist painting, it’s about brush strokes. Dab, dab, point. Now stand back and take in the whole thing–now you see the picture (or a picture).

But what I respect in “Doll Eyes” is the tonal switch, the way the day begins with “Everyone seemed pleased…” Though we must note the shadows are growing longer. The afternoon ending. Morning as spring, afternoon as leading to night (the end). But we meet geese, a family (aging hipsters even!), children and laughter….

But hipsters (and gods know the “hip” family) act in Bad Faith (and must die). And feeding geese isn’t fun or right. It’s actually wrong. It is the exact type of naive interference with the natural world (feeding deer in your yard, bringing Asian carp to America [where they escape and flourish], transplanting kudzu to control erosion. Etc.) that can only lead to negative results.

(Geese are now offically nuisance animals in the U.S.)

So…Flash, as we know, leans to poetry, to images, to things, because things are metaphorical in their essence.

Not a puzzle to be solved. That’s not my point–not what feeding the geese is as metaphor of a relationship (or even as comment on canned, meaningless, superficial human interaction), but rather what feeding the geese, the goose itself (shard of beak, doll eyes and all) could be.

A metaphor isn’t a puzzle. It is a cloud. It could be this shape, or this one, or maybe it reminds you of _____ or me of ______, doesn’t matter. What matters is that we can discuss these things at all. That’s the power of this as that, sign and signal, of a cloud having shape, narrative, possibilities at all….


Flash Fiction Chronicles asked if I would like to give some tips on flash fiction. Who me? Yes I would.

Excerpt: “Find a story, a sparkle. A boy-crazed ruse. I mean essence. There are many ways. Here’s one of my little tricks (feel free to try this yourself, or use in the classroom): I drink a pint of schnapps (to open the doors of perception) and go people-watching at the world’s largest daycare/rehab center, Wal-Mart. Observe the ill and obese, the trodden and tired and pissed off and screaming and slouchy. Straight out of Bobbie Anne Mason, or maybe Chekhov (a fine flash fiction writer in his day). I stagger along, noting down a story for everyone. Pay attention, and everything hatches open like a chrysalis. This is your job as artist, to capture, to glow and craze.”





5 responses to “wigleaf in the House…Robert Repino

  1. “a quarter wedged between the antennae of your car and the forehead of the rust-flecked hood”


  2. your blog is cool.

  3. I found the story disappointing. I reread it, mentally deleting the last line – and then the last two lines – and I agree, I liked it better that way. I wish I could undo my first reading to know if I would have been happy with it that way.

    As it is, it feels incomplete. Somehow removing words helps to make it feel finished.

  4. Hate to dwell on the negative — that’s a lie — but I have to agree w/ SL in regards to the ending of “Doll Eyes” — no need for the rimshot after the joke unless you are doing stand-up at a church bingo. But, like Mr. Lovelace, I don’t believe Mr. Repino is telling jokes in between “Blackout” and Eight States” — overall nice exercise in tone, mood and what is left unsaid (until that last clunker).

    No follow-up on the Derby? Mine that Goose.

  5. Thanks for the plug for The Chronic! Hope people wander over because Sean’s post is a kick!

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