Elijah Sparkman

Elijah Sparkman is a writer based in Detroit. His fiction has appeared in Sleepingfish, HAD, and Maudlin House. You can read more at elijahsparkman.com

CROWN MOLDING by Elijah Sparkman

There was a hippopotamus that lived in the middle of a shark tank. And when the sharks were concerned about the health of the hippopotamus, they called a doctor who was a penguin. The penguin liked a girl named Cindy and every night they played hide-and-go-seek out in the barn. I know this because I am the hospital bed that the hippopotamus died on. While dying, the hippopotamus grasped me tight. There is an indent the size of him still inside me. It was unfortunate, because he couldn’t have a peaceful death. The secretary dropped something on the button that made the loud speaker go off in every room. And she didn’t notice. Because blaring out of every speaker in every room was one side of the phone conversation she was having: “Hahaha, Marianne” she said, “You’re so goddam funny, but it’s not even like that. It’s more like he’s shy. It’s more like, well, you know, he’s always thinking. I know. I know. But even the other day, we’re, like, in the dining room and we’re having a conversation or at least I’m telling him about like the bullshit that bitch Nancy the nurse said to me about the time card, but like, well, you know, it’s what people do, I’m telling him about my day, and like, well, what it feels like to me is that he’s not even listening. I go, ‘Daniel! What the fuck? Do you want this relationship to end right fucking now?’ And he’s like, ‘No Honey, sorry Baby, I was just checking out your apartment.’ Yeah, I know. He says, ‘The crown molding, I’m just wondering how they did it this way, the top notched off like that’ and something like that or whatever. Oh shit, my water bottle, it’s—”

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