photo of a Main Street sign

Postcard Town by Chelsea Stickle

When we were first captured in this postcard, life was as expected. Trash pick-up on Wednesday, recycling on Thursday. Then time began slowing down. A word would last a fraction of a second too long. A raised eyebrow would comically linger. I thought I was just tired, but it kept happening. Soon everyone was huddling and sharing information. It was worse on Main Street, they said. Anywhere scenic. People started staying home, afraid to get caught under the idyllic blue sky or the sun-dappled trees. Anything that someone might want to see. 

Time stretched like taffy. No one went to work anymore. The trash and recycling didn’t get picked up. People stopped showering. My arm trailed until it looked like I had several sprouting from the same source. Moving at all became an event. Conversations became impossible. No one could keep track of what had already been said. 

It was the golden hour when everything stopped permanently. The sun was setting, and the sky was cotton candy waves of purple, red, and pink. Too beautiful to take a bite out of. But now we’re all stuck here, reaching for a glass or cooking chicken, all so you could take a piece of our town, a piece of us with you. 

Chelsea Stickle lives in Annapolis, MD with her black rabbit George and an army of houseplants. Her flash fiction appears or is forthcoming in Jellyfish Review, Cleaver, Pithead Chapel, Okay Donkey, Hobart, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and others. She’s also a reader for Pidgeonholes. Read more stories at chelseastickle.com or find her on Twitter @Chelsea_Stickle.

Lead image: “You Cannot Get More Central Than This” *with edits* (via Flickr user Alan Levine)