Fantasy Humor Strange flash fiction puns

Watch Out, It's Catching

By KJ Kabza
Jan 27, 2019 · 331 words · 2 minutes

From the author: I’m really into catching faeries. I’ve caught a Cold, a Fever, Your-Meaning (though catching Your-Meaning can be difficult), My-Drift, and many more. But for some reason, people don’t seem to understand my hobby.

I caught a Cold the other day and put it in a jar. Even though I poked holes in the lid so it could breathe, it beat against the glass with its tiny blue fists in anger. I didn't want it to be too upset, so I gave it something to eat. Feed a Cold, starve a Fever, they say.

That was a few days after I caught My-Breath—that usually only takes a few minutes to catch, though for some people who don't have practice, it's much harder—and a few days before I caught Your-Meaning, which can be tough to do, since Your-Meaning can be very elusive and hard to see.

Catching faeries is my hobby. And I'm not just talking about My-Drift—lots of people can catch My-Drift. I can catch Chills, for example, which almost nobody catches anymore. And I can usually catch What-You're-Saying, though it's sometimes hard to hear. I can even catch Up, in almost any situation, which I think is indicative of my talent.

But nobody seems to understand how serious I am about my pastime. Just yesterday I was in the pet store, buying more goldfish nets and terrariums, and asking the man at the register if the coupon I had was still valid. In the middle of my question the register opened and the sound cut off what I was saying.

"What?" he said. "I didn't catch that last part of your question."

I blinked. His sudden change of topic surprised me, since I hadn't known that he caught faeries too. But nonetheless, I was pleased that he asked me for advice. "What's your problem?" I asked.

He looked confused. "I'm sorry?"

"Why couldn't you catch it?"

"Oh," he said. "The register opened."

I stared at him and paid, forgetting about the coupon. How could something as mundane as that distract anyone from netting a faerie?

Maybe he just misunderstood me, but I don't see how. Some people fail to catch the most obvious things.

This story originally appeared in Short Stuff Magazine.

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From a mechanical forest that constructs itself to the streets of Kyoto 8,000 years hence, the sometimes whimsical, sometimes cutting short fiction of KJ Kabza has been dubbed “Delightful” (Locus Online) and “Very clever, indeed” (SFRevu). Collecting all of his work published before May 2011 (plus 5 new stories, notes on the stories, and an interview by Julia Rios), IN PIECES offers glimpses into other worlds—some not unlike your own.

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