Issue #58

Spring 2016

Three Fairy Tales

by Mark Budman

Oh, My Balls

Desperate for relief, I scrubbed off all my pains and aches, made a ball out of them and hurled it down the Empire State Building. A Chinese boy from Brooklyn in a T-shirt that read “Yr wyf yn bachgen o Brooklyn Tseiniaidd” under the Welsh flag (only Google Translate knows what it means), took it home, dribbled with it daily and got a scholarship to Notre Dame five years later. By then, I had accumulated new aches to make another ball half the size of the former planet Pluto. From the pain in my neck, a Latina woman by the name Vrouw (her father was Dutch) arose who became a progressive blogger, and out of the cry of my loins, a Russian man Федор Николаевич Живаго sprung out; he ran for the president on the Right to all Rights platform.

When I wasn’t in pain, cats and dogs rained until the rainbow coalition appeared in the streets. Each of the dogs adopted a human and each of the cats ratted on them. And as for me, I grew fresh balls, like a lizard grows a new tail, but that will be a new tale.


The Ideal Husband

My wife asked me to get the rug dry-cleaned, but I had to walk instead of driving, so I would remember not to soil it next time, and I rolled all eight by six feet of it into a Stainless Steel Cigar Tube, Matte Black (I don’t smoke but those tubes are cool), tucked it under my armpit and walked through the rain, sleet, snow, hail, tornado, sand storm, hurricane, sulfur, fire and brimstone, but when I got to the dry-cleaner, and opened the tube, inside, instead of the carpet, there was a man the size of my thumb, and he introduced himself as Tom, and he praised me in his Cockney accent for being such a good husband, but I wasn’t surprised and let him go.


Break a Leg

Polycrates’ buttered toasts never landed buttered side down because he never dropped them. He saw double rainbows everyday and the blue moon every other day.

When the flood ravaged the city, Polycrates’ mansion on the hill was dry as a carcass in the sun. He took a flood victim in. A few days later, she won a ruby-studded ring in the lottery, and gave it to him in gratitude.

“That’s too much,” Polycrates said to himself in ancient Greek.

He went to Caesar’s, intending to gamble the ring away, but won a fortune instead. He threw his ring in the river, but a salmon brought it back. Darn. They’d never had salmon in this river before.

Later that night, at the roof of his mansion, holding a buttered toast, with his back to the blue moon, Polycrates raised his totally symmetrical face and wished upon a shooting star. He got it. It made a perfectly round hole in his skull. He was such a lucky guy.

Author Bio


Mark Budman was born in the former Soviet Union. His fiction and non-fiction writing has appeared or is about to appear in such magazines as American Scholar, Huffington Post, World Literature Today, Daily Science Fiction, Mississippi Review, Virginia Quarterly, The London Magazine (UK), McSweeney's, Sonora Review, Another Chicago, Sou'wester, Southeast Review, Mid-American Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, the W.W. Norton anthology Flash Fiction Forward, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure, Short Fiction (UK), and elsewhere. He is the publisher of the flash fiction magazine Vestal Review. His novel My Life at First Try was published by Counterpoint Press to wide critical acclaim. He has co-edited flash fiction anthologies from Ooligan Press and Persea Books/Norton. He is at work on a novel about Lenin running for president of the United States. His story "Shadows on the Wall" appeared in Issue #13 of The Cafe Irreal.