I Want That Kid Again


by Randall Brown

The scoreboard above the wrestling room flickers, goes dark. I think of butterflies pinned to mats, and that's no wonder, considering Jonah's pinned everyone he's faced this year. This season, he hops rather than drags himself to each match.

"Is there an electrician in the house?" My son yells this in that flutter of light, and where's that kid from last year who mumbled like Michael Stipe and kept to the shade?

Everyone's waiting for the score to reappear, so Jonah starts dancing. MC Hammer? The flickering lights give his dance the appearance of stop-motion, a slide show of snapshots. The light of the score flashes on, finally.

***

Jonah's on top. The whistle blows. Just before he will twist the Malvern Prep kid with all his might, before his hand will slip off the shoulder and the lights fail again, before the crack of the kid's vertebrae, Jonah will wink; and because I will have missed him�that shy, agitated kid�and with the lights beginning their quivering, I will have already made my wish.




BIO: Randall Brown teaches at Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. He is the author of the award-winning collection Mad to Live (Flume Press, 2008), his essay on (very) short fiction appears in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field, and he appears in the Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction (W.W. Norton, 2010). He blogs regularly at FlashFiction.Net and has been published widely, both online and in print, including online at American Short Fiction, Tin House, and Mississippi Review; and in-print in Cream City Review, Lake Effect, and Harpur Palate.