Literary Fiction Strange flash fiction surreal experimental absurd

We Have an Objective

By KJ Kabza
Aug 22, 2018 · 207 words · 1 minute


From the author: On April 7, 2003, we took the Slip’n Slide into Baghdad. My buddies behind me whooped and screamed and crashed into each other, the hot sun and cold water in roiling chaos over their bodies, but they didn’t care. As long as they got wet.


On April 7, 2003, we took the Slip 'n Slide into Baghdad. I'm proud to say I led the way, sailing smooth and clean like a puck across a shuffleboard court. My buddies behind me whooped and screamed and crashed into each other, the hot sun and cold water in roiling chaos over their bodies, but they didn't care. As long as they got wet.

Baghdad was a mess of carnival barkers and acrobats, water balloons and cotton candy, everyone shouting and running beneath spinning Ferris wheel lights. For a minute, we stalled--Johnny stared at unfamiliar girls, Micky saw the size of the crowd and froze, Sanchez started to laugh--but I pulled them together. We have an objective, I said. The Fun House.

To get to it, we crossed the midway. We nearly lost Javier to the mindless lure of the shooting gallery, but Sanchez fired his Super Soaker into the air to snap him out of it.

The beaming man at the Fun House gate, bow-tied and pinstriped, gave us free bags of popcorn and invited us in with a flourish. “Prepare to be turned... upside-down!”

The mirrors made us into delightful monsters: one-eyed, legless, rail-thin.

We threw popcorn at everything and laughed at the mess.

This story originally appeared in Brain Harvest.


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IN PIECES

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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