Issue #74

Spring 2020

Three Stories

by Nikolaj Volgushev


I'm worried I may be found by the wrong people, so I decide to wear a disguise. But what should my disguise be? After some thought, I decide to disguise myself as a bird. It's perfect because I look nothing like a bird, so no-one will ever suspect, not even the wrongest of people, should they spot me pecking at crumbs on the street, or hunched on a rooftop, or flying overhead, above the treetops. I will have to eat worms, but that's a price I'm willing to pay. It's settled then. I let my arms become wings, and my feet become claws, and my eyes become like beads, black and mean, and my nose turn into a beak, orange like the fruit. My feathers are blue and red and green, and my voice is a screech. Good. Even my own mother wouldn't recognize me now. I spread my wings and take off, relieved to have found such an obvious and straightforward solution to a problem that had seemed insurmountable, only moments ago.



A suspicious package arrives in the mail. It's a cardboard box with a green ribbon around it. I'm afraid to open it, and don't want to bring it into the apartment. I decide to leave it in the mailbox instead. The package rattles. The next morning, I discover thick, thorny vines have sprouted from my mailbox. The thorns are purple, and curved. A pungent, dangerous smell fills the air. When I come home from work, the monstrous plant has grown further yet and borne ruby-red flowers. Its blossoms are beautiful but the hungry vines have trapped the mailman. I observe his tired struggle against the strangling green, and commend myself for my cautious, foresighted nature.



I get on the metro at Kleines Tor. To my surprise, I find that I'm already on the metro however, looking tired and a little pale. 'What are you doing here?' asks the other me, Me #2 (or am I Me #2 now?). The metro goes into a tunnel. The next stop is Kleines Tor, again, where I have already gotten on. And sure enough, there I am, standing on the platform. I get on, joining Me #1 and Me #2. 'What are you doing here?' one of them asks. The metro goes into a tunnel. I get on, join the other three. We can tell that the other passengers are starting to get nervous now, casting worried glances in our direction. So when the metro arrives at Kleines Tor yet again, the five of us get off, wave the train goodbye, and head on home, where we proceed to spend a pleasant, albeit crammed afternoon together.

Author Bio

origami bird

Nikolaj Volgushev's fiction has appeared in journals such as Hoot, Cleaver Magazine, and Cease, Cows. He currently lives in Denmark where he writes, programs, and does other things along those lines. His story, "Pete and the Elephant," appeared in Issue #55 of The Cafe Irreal, and "Three Stories" appeared in Issue #72.