RAINBOWS by Tim Frank

RAINBOWS by Tim Frank

A rainbow is ambushed by a footballer in a murky forest. The player slaps a cigarette from the rainbow’s mouth and then steals its iPhone. Lost without Google Maps, the rainbow stumbles down darkened boulevards, heaving bundles of shopping.

A rainbow with ties to the underworld shoots snuff films in basements while a piano chimes beneath blankets of rain.

A rainbow darts into a church, kneels, prays, and chokes on a fistful of crisps. The rainbow feels at one with the universe then orders a double cheeseburger from the confessional. 

A rainbow is feeling down, suicidal even. It takes some pills and a bottle of gin to a park, ready to end it all. But on its way, the rainbow meets a little girl with fangs and a bottle of Coke shaped like a bicep. She dances and sings and the rainbow sweeps her into its arms, brimming with joy.

A rainbow goes to war, sees friends lose their legs and their trust funds. It cleans enemy tanks with a rag dipped in a bowl of scalding hot soup.

A rainbow is a real Don Juan—it’s stringing six girls along at one time. The girls know the rainbow’s cheating but they need its artistry, its grace, and its spiralling patterns of jazz.

An old man follows the rainbows in internet chat rooms. His skin drips like porridge and he’s all alone. He has a portfolio of rainbow photos that no one will ever see because he sprinkles them on his spaghetti like Parmesan cheese. 

Then all of a sudden the rainbows stop. Months go by and they no longer appear in the stormy half-light, no longer shine in gentle prisms. So the street gangs, the DJs, the mothers, the rockers, the potheads, the tourists, and the schizophrenics all mourn the loss with agonised despair.

But no one realises the rainbows are now glowing at night, thriving under the cover of darkness, vibrant as neon TVs—and so as everyone sleeps and dreams in black and white, they miss the psychedelic visions whirling in the sky. 

Tim Frank's short stories have been published in Wrongdoing Magazine, Eunoia Review, Rejection Letters, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Maudlin House and elsewhere. He was runner-up in The Forge Literary Flash Fiction competition '22. He has been nominated for Best Small Fictions '22. He is the associate fiction editor for Able Muse Literary Journal and lives with his wife in North London, England.

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