It was a pretty simple prompt the other night: in the tradition of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, give your story an enticing three-item title. Sorry to sound like an ad for Canon, but I’d just bought a new printer so it was on my mind. The bigger reason I’m including the brand name is for the rhythm of CanonWireless Printer, which in my voice sounds infinitely better than Wireless Printer. For me, (and I mean this quite seriously) it all comes down to vibration.
One more point: I’ve been told often that a lot of these stories leave one wanting more. To which I respond: good! That’s what I’m going for! Though I do think my flash fiction is complete in and of itself, this story may be an exception. Admittedly, it sounds like a beginning. So stay tuned, we shall see.
Gather round, good people: have you ever heard the tale of The Poet, The Coyote, and the Canon Wireless Printer? It happened a long time ago, back when the continents were still pressed together into one big land mass, and the oceans were jumbled into a swirling kaleidoscope of motion and color.
The poet was young and naive, working a steady assembly line job, gluing blue jay feathers onto pinwheels and party hats, allowing words to drift along the edge of her fingers as she held the glue gun, a drip drop here and here and here. She’d come home in the evenings and she’d eat pb & j as she scrawled in her college-ruled notebook, until one day, she found a new Canon Wireless Printer on her front porch, a gift from she knew not whom. She brought it inside, excited to print her small verse onto pretty paper, dreaming that she might fold them into airplanes and release them from the factory windows onto the city streets below.
But then, when she lifted the flap to insert the paper, she saw something shiny!—candlelight or star shine or sliver earrings perhaps—she wasn’t sure. So she leaned forward and fell inside, tumbling down onto a green, mossy path lined with redwoods and valley oaks. She could hear the rapid tap of acorn woodpeckers, and the flutey songs of starlings, so she followed the melodious racket through a dark shady patch. Soon the road opened up upon a pumpkin patch filled with baby sugar pumpkins—a hundred and nine of them. They were sunning themselves like college students on the quad. She knew then she had fallen into someplace magical or imaginary, she wasn’t sure which.
She might still be standing there today, gaping in confusion, if, at that moment, the coyote hadn’t appeared. “You’re from the other side, aren’t you?” The coyote said. “Come quickly or you won’t get out of here alive!”
The poet heard a window slide open, and when the coyote jumped, she followed. They landed inside a small room of pillows, braided rugs and books. The coyote allowed the poet to push her face into his soft thick coat. “It’s all right,” the coyote told the poet. “I have been lonely too.”
Photo by Aditya Sethia on Unsplash