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Bob Kottage

1. Flag flag flag. Flapping in mouth. Three are better than two are better than one. His is bigger than yours. Therefore.

2. Firework flag bursts beautifully, blue-white and red-white, burning and swirling its colors like flares and smoke bombs. Sulfur-smelling flag, though, in the end.

3. Tiny flag snaps in breeze (mouth), tastes like peppermints. Brush teeth with flag, floss with flag. Rinse. Repeat.

4. Hoist and stop at half-mast today. Moment of silence for those who. We will never. In tribute to those who laid down their.

5. Orwell. We will say a thing, and it will become true afterwards because we said it. For example, "The brave die randomly; only cowards commit suicide over principles." Remember that. There'll be a quiz later. Don't get caught cheating.

6. Cut a flag in two (don't get caught). Discard half. And again. And again. Repeat this down to the atomic level--then STOP (very important to stop here). Store at room temperature for one week. Then magnify. What do you see? Undivided flag floating in petri dish like a microscopic campaign button. Call it regeneration. This is also proof positive of the existence of flag fractals.

7. Flag. Flag. Flag. Um, flag. To reiterate. Flapping backwards in breeze (mouth). Galf. Flagellation, blind protozoan propulsion. Spermatozoan whips, wind-tossed flags unanimously locked on target. Red and white corpuscles, blue blood. Combine, pulse on "puree," pour purple prose.

8. "Once upon a time, an infinitesimal man with little money and medium-sized dreams climbed aboard a large ship headed for a gargantuan place called Ellis Island and the rest is Flag." Flag. Flap, flap, galf, flag. We interrupt this program to bring you this flag. It's a dance about dancing, a song about singing, a wave about waving. A smile about face. Forward march.

9. I saw your red hair and navy suit, Doughboy. Flour-faced Republican. You told a protester to go support You-know-who in You-know-where. (See Gore Vidal's "Enemy of the Month Club.") I saw you. Your idiot lips still flap in my brain, spraying spittle, big as the neon billboards in Times Square. You stand accused. Your CNN image will hurtle through space forever.

10. Millennia from now, angels will still point and chuckle.

11. There must be a patch of forest somewhere that doesn't stink of money and mint. There must be a stream that's not swimming with amoebae, overflowing with dysentery. A square acre of land to dream on. Thoreau lived in Emerson's yard, did you know that? Makes me want to die very privately in the neutral zone (outer space). Not shot from a cannon, though.

12. "CEO builds mansion on iceberg. Pulls strings in Washington to ensure world remains frozen."

13. In conclusion: Burn all your notebooks (colors like flares and smoke bombs). Don't answer questions (Thoreau lived in Emerson's yard, did you know that?). Live in your mind (a patch of forest somewhere that doesn't stink of money and mint). And for God's sake, flag flag flag (it's a dance about dancing).


Bob Kottage lives in Tampa, Florida. His fiction has appeared in The Mississippi Review Online and Barbaric Yawp.

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