SNAPSHOT BEFORE THE INCIDENT by Brian Brunson

With no foreboding of the approaching cataclysm, an orange brown finch, pecking at fallen crumbs, is startled by a fat gray pigeon flying down; a nervous young man watches the barista behind the cart in the courtyard; the barista clears the moist used espresso grounds from the filter with two loud thwacks against the rubber bar as her phone chimes in a text message from that boy listed under her contacts as ‘tinydicpic’; the sun hits the four story glass building reflecting the five story concrete building opposite; a broad shouldered well-suited man holds the hand of his elderly father, slowly walking along the sidewalk; the air swirls ever slightly between the buildings, kicking up a napkin and a leaf; a bee flits between the flowers on the bush in the corner; a man, deep into middle age, his pot belly accentuated by his polo shirt tucked into his jeans, carries his mocha gingerly so as to not spill any; one lone nebulous cloud in the blue sky creeps toward the sun, but never quite covers it; a one-footed pigeon rests on the gravel landscape along the wall; the palo verde tree soaks up the spring sun; a teenager on the wooden bench pauses from his game app to trace with his eye the figure of a business woman rushing past, getting particularly stuck on the curve of her hips; a woman tells, with a tone of disapproval, her younger sister, “I understand, I understand”; the hazy daytime moon drifts towards the horizon; a woman stands in the sun outside her black sedan, searching through her pocketbook for any loose change to feed the meter.

A block away a man, naked, filthy, crawls out of the storm drain.


Brian Brunson is a writer living in Phoenix, Arizona. He studied history and philosophy at the University of Oregon. His short stories have been published in The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, Otis Nebula, Belletrist, Fleas on the Dog, and X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine among others.

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