A storm on her birthday knocked the power out. The room was still bright, fifty candles lit her cake.
Their three grown kids were home for the weekend. She kept their bedrooms as they’d always been.
Her husband jumped back like so much candlelight blinded him. The kids laughed, dutifully.
He was still handsome, at the peak of his pay. She looked okay, by candlelight, with her facelift.
Did you make a wish honey? She did not say, but wished for time to stop.
Wishing was done with, her flames would go out. Her looks would pass. Her parents, too. Her calling as a mother, and her husband’s reliable hard cock. Jobs, health, friends, spouse. Then she would shit the bed.
Dear God, please stop time. She blew out the candles in several breaths.
All was dark and still, until a lightning bolt left the storm to crash in through the big bay window and
firestorm the family into the wall.
Splat. Like Goddamned grilled cheese.
They swayed in a last dance, waved their arms and moaned, but soon went cold and dead.
Burned in bas relief, a Pompeii pyrograph. Faces: four from The Scream, One Mona Lisa.
The Portable Dorothy Parker