The Oldest Game in Town

by Kenton K. Yee

Father shuffles to the lawn, shoves aside his aluminum walker, and shucks his bathrobe. He raises both bony arms to the cloudy morning sky and jumps.

He ascends, flailing, a crab in a crocodile's jaw.

Holy breakfast burrito! I shuck my robe and jump. The burrito bib flaps behind my ear, laundry in the wind.

"Dad, wait!" I reach up to him with both arms.

He looks away — like when I reached from the crib four decades earlier.

We ascend fast, almost slamming into a mammoth moth.

"I don't like this," I scream. "Let's go back down."

"Beat it, science boy."

"Dad, stop deluding yourself. You can't be a star."

"I just saw a mammoth moth. It's a sign."

"What?"

He flutters his fingers and spreads his arms. "Meta mammoth moth forces."

"Nobody escapes gravity," I say. "Physics rules."

Grey cotton blankets the earth below us like beer head.

He flaps both arms. "Meta moth forces. Meta moth physics."

"Nonsense," I say. "Physics is physics."

"Bah!" he says. "You'll understand when you're my age." He points both arms to the stars. "Meta MOTH physics! Say it fast." He paddles his feet and plunges headfirst into space, making ripples over my head.

I watch, stuck in the gravity of his wake, the burrito bib babbling beneath my black beard.

"Wait!" I scream. "MetaMOTHphysics. MetaMORPHosis!"

But I can't make ripples yet. I just tread.


Kenton K. Yee has placed stories in The Los Angeles Review, PANK, Hobart, Every Day Poets, Word Riot, and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, among others. A theoretical physicist working in finance, he is starting his second year in Stanford's Online Novel Certificate program. You can follow him at: http://fictionaut.com/users/kenton-k-yee.