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In Fiction on May 2, 2009 at 9:31 am

Franz Kafka awoke one morning to find himself unpublished. This wasn’t much news to his family, who enjoyed passive-aggressively broaching upon his lack of literary prospects, with respect to his sister Ottla, a notable online writer. He had difficulty rolling off his back. What he thought was exoskeleton was just crust from a night of drooling. He was not looking forward to breakfast.

— Ma, pass the eggs?

— Your sister just got four pieces into Czech Please, and people are already blogging about it.

Ottla was overweight and had an oily complexion. She smirked over her omelette, its steam first fogging then glistening her wide somewhat cross-eyed face.

— Ma, the eggs?

— Did you hear, Franz? Four flash fiction pieces about a horse in its four respective stages of death. It’s beautifully written.

— Eggs, Ma.

But by then mother and daughter were converging closer and closer towards the corner of the table with talk about a possible Pushcart. Franz left the table eggless to retire to his room. He bumped into his dad on the stairwell.

— No eggs.

— Fuck you son. You got some nerve, and some high cholesterol.

Franz closed his bedroom door behind him. He eyed the window, imagining his brief silhouette in the sky, wingless and falling. He fancied a little girl discovering his body, how he might immortalize himself in her memory. He went to his computer, minimized the last frame of ‘cumslut_05.mpeg’ and tried to work on his manuscript. This was before spellcheck, and his draft was littered with errors. Five minutes later he was tending to his Twitter account. Had he any followers, they would have known this:

No eggs again. I hate breakfast. Ottla is a fat bitch.
10:28AM Mar 29th from hell

Probably going to jump out window. Should delete porn archive.
10:30AM Mar 29th from hell

Whatever. Going into town to get some breakfast.
10:36AM Mar 29th from hell

On his way out, Kafka bumped into his dad again, who had just had a three-egg omelet. His dad’s smile was dragged downwards with the disgust only a father can feel for his son; they had a special understanding. Ottla and his mother were still at the table talking possible Pushcart. His eyes said a goodbye they would never understand.

Franz shut the front door behind him. His chest expanded into an air of relief. Living at home was like honey: swimming in insect barf. He entered the street with the stifled gait of eight legs. Had he any followers, they would have known this:

He had eggs for brunch, waited long for the check, and went home.

Jimmy Chen maintains a blog and archive of his writing at the The Embassy of Misguided Zen. His chapbook, Typewriter, is published by Magic Helicopter Press. He lives in San Francisco.

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  1. everybody can write but not everybody can work the word

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