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Flatlining in the Edward G. Bellacosta Memorial Park
by Jake Ruiter

We gave each other the ability to float, beside the fallow baseball diamond and the crabgrass tennis court. Dirty, young thumbs pressed to our necks, clamping off the vulnerable carotid artery. Two sets of arms there to catch us as we fell, parting for our brief moment. We woke to the squirming, white beetles in our vision, the shiver in our digits. We told the others we had been far away, wandering some charred, abandoned planet. Told them this was better than Robitussin. But once everyone had their turn, we could only kick at the chunks of dusty hardpan, with the wind cracking the flag against the violent, gray sky. We had all left out the truth of the trip. That things had not changed as we’d expected them to, and we were smaller now. That something now had hold of us, and we would feel this need to exit, again and again.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.



Jake Ruiter lives and works as an electrical engineer in the Boston area. His first published work, "What Kind of Whale It Is" is forthcoming in Quick Fiction.

Read the interview.
Issue Seventeen (June 15, 2007): Renoir Responds to Aline Charigot’s Charges of Painting Her Ugly by Daniel Bailey «» Cymothoa Exigua by Christopher Battle «» Oblivious by Gary Cadwallader «» The Wedge in Between by Debbie Ann Eis «» One Purple Finch by Kathy Fish «» Clouds by James Hanley «» Mousafa's Woman by Kyle Hemmings «» First Night by Ric Jahna «» My Great-Aunt Meets Jesus at the Mobil Station in Montana by Stephanie Johnson «» Old Leningrad by Sandra Maddux-Creech «» Selective Memory by Mary McCluskey «» The Attraction of Asphalt by Stefani Nellen «» Of Potential by Jim Nelson «» Portrait of a Mother, Beforehand J.M. Patrick «» Midnight in Albuquerque by Tiffany Poremba «» Flatlining in the Edward G. Bellacosta Memorial Park by Jake Ruiter «» Prow by Claudia Smith «» I Know This Man; He is My Father. by Tavia Stewart «» In the Last Frame by Beth Thomas «» My First Two-Headed Boy by Veronica Thorn «» Interviews: Bob Arter «» Daniel Bailey «» Christopher Battle «» Gary Cadwallader «» Debbie Ann Eis «» Kathy Fish «» James Hanley «» Kyle Hemmings «» Ric Jahna «» Stephanie Johnson «» Sandra Maddux-Creech «» Mary McCluskey «» Stefani Nellen «» Jim Nelson «» J.M. Patrick «» Tiffany Poremba «» Jake Ruiter «» Claudia Smith «» Tavia Stewart «» Beth Thomas «» Veronica Thorn «» Cover Art "Peace in a Time of Monsters" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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