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Author: Sylvia Petter

Can You Die From a Tattooed Bra?

It was in techno-colours and it scared me silly. But it was now top of my bucket list.

My best friend, Pamela, had started with antlers in the small of her back, then added paw prints on the side of her neck in memory of Patch. She had bells on her fingers and rings on her toes and now in a spiky script the words Mind over Matter trailed over her collarbone like a loose strap peeking from a bodice of blooms. She’d just set up her own salon. Pam-too Tattoos, she called it.

“It has to be easy to hide,” I said tracing my fingers over a three-dimensional flower on the design I’d plucked. “I want to swim topless with nobody knowing.”

Pamela stroked my cheek. “It’ll take a couple of sittings. Go lie on the table now.” I breathed in deeply and watched as she took out her colour gun and inserted a needle.

“Relax,” she said, then paused.

This wasn’t her first time. She would have told me. Surely?

“Let’s get started,” she whispered.

I closed my eyes. I had to trust her. She was, after all, wearing the T-shirt. Had been there. Done it herself.


Flash Fiction by Sylvia Petter
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The Wishbone

At the supermarket today, I found a phoenix. It lay there plucked like any other bird. Larger than a chicken, more slender than a goose, it was on sale. I don’t usually buy what I don’t know, but I was curious.

I removed a small bag tucked deep inside it containing its head, claws, heart, liver and kidneys, which I placed in a pot to boil into stock. I added a bay leaf, salt, pepper.

The bird’s body I carefully clipped into four. The breast meat was lean, the thighs plump, the wings slender. I added the stock and some sweet paprika, and let the bird simmer for almost two hours. It was, after all, a fairly old bird.

Some say that the phoenix lives for 1,400 years before it can be reborn. There don’t always have to be ashes. It can just decompose. There’d been no age on the label and no use-by date, which probably accounted for the sale. I wondered how it would taste. Whether I should invite others to share my meal. What if I imploded? Or simply soared? Would there be an outbreak of salmonella? Salmonella in Phoenix? I giggled. The bird was getting to me.

I laid the drumsticks and wings out on a platter surrounding the tender pieces of breast. Did I dare taste? Would it not kill me? Or would it allow me to rise above my anxiety, and let me soar with a paprika kick? I pushed at the breast meat and uncovered a wishbone; it glowed with a come-hither look. Come ride me, it said.

I brought the white bone to my lips and scraped off clinging slivers of flesh with my teeth. Closing my eyes, I breathed deeply. Then I took off.


Flash Fiction by Sylvia Petter
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