William C. Blome

Posted on March 26, 2012


A Random-Red Ensign

A short shoemaker wanted to craft a flag for his land of mountains and vapors–he was truly maniacal about it–but he just didn’t work fast enough (his wife’s nocturnal interruptions, for example, one substantial cross to bear), and the upshot was that some bastard art student from Carpathia beat the short shoemaker to the punch. How far had the shoemaker gotten, one might naturally wonder, and what kinds of differences were there between his proposed colors and the Carpathian’s flag? Were there other flags looked at, was there some sort of competition? And what about an existing standard? But these were pedestrian questions, all, in light of what the cobbler did with his unfinished cloth.

He secretly sought out the whereabouts and everyday routine of the triumphant pupil, and over several days, stalked her academic ass from building to building of the Art Institute. Finally one evening, standing on a chair, he knifed her in the neck as she emerged from sketching class. In the failing light of day, the little man wrapped and tied his unfinished flag around her bleeding throat and dragged the lifeless body to his SUV. Then he sped to the nation’s border in relative calm, the night being clear and peaceful, the avenues practically empty. As he neared a chosen checkpoint, he pulled off to the side of the road, turned off the motor, got out of the vehicle, and lugged the corpse up a small hill that overlooked the neighboring country. With a shove of his self-made boot, he then sent the Carpathian woman rolling down the hill and into foreign territory.

It really doesn’t take a truck-load of smarts to fathom the little guy’s thinking: When he wants his flag to fly way, way above his head so fuckin’ bad he can taste it every waking hour, he figures that if an art student won their country’s honor with her pleasant, well-designed banner, there’s no reason he can’t see his flag flying soon in a nearby land that providentially fell in love with a random-red ensign.


William C. Blome is an American writer of short fiction and poetry. He beds down nightly in-between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is an MA graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as Amarillo Bay, Prism International, Taj Mahal Review, Pure Francis, This, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.

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