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Flash Reprint: Virginia Petrucci’s “We Want to be Remembered”

We Want to be Remembered

by Virginia Petrucci


As you pick the dandelions from my hair, I can smell your breath, and myself, and the last time you kissed me; my lungs still recovering, and my heart all in high pitched howls.


You slip on a word, a strange sound aborted at the last minute due to embarrassment, even though I don't care (I tripped over a cloud coming down the hill).


Your hands explore my pockets, a delicate habit from our younger days. There's nothing there, but you know.


Shirtless, filthy, and perfect, you won't tell me you're terrified.


Hands on my temples, and I remember when you walked with me in the rain (you said it smelled bad). When you took me hunting (you couldn't kill back then). When you asked, and I said yes (forever, yes).


Hidden under a bridge, coiled wickedly in your sheets, crab-bent under a table at your work, under my table, when you were fired, and here. Grass-dirt-and-sallow-sky-here.


Some horror comes wailing from the distance, wounding the wind.


You plant your fists on either side of me, gorilla fear, ears pricked, eyes on the hills. My eyes only on you.


The last light is washed over us by some eerie paintbrush, and I get the hiccups.


Closer, we hear them chanting.


You look within and upon and around me, savoring every inch. You pull my ear for no reason, and I can tell you really don't want to cry. As a tear falls between by breasts, I look away and pretend the grass is a jungle, and the ants, little kings of forgotten tribes.


The awful drone becomes a collected scream, becomes one thick, pointed word. This time, they have weapons.


Our memories hang in purple liquid around our necks, and as we take off the rest of our clothes--faster, darling!--we understand their lofting noise. There is little time for the spoken universe (imagine! An entire reality existing only of words, a dimension of spoken hurt and written brilliance. How I have neglected this world, and understanding it, and--).


We will not join them.
Words, last and final, fall from mouth to ear.


And so we lie in a naked, humming pile, becoming dust.

Note: First published in Best New Writing 2014 as a Runner Up for the Gover Prize in Flash Fiction (released Oct. 1st, 2013).


Author's Note

This was written in 2012, when I was writing far less than I am now. I did not go through any drafts with it, and while that's rightfully frowned upon by most, I felt as if the piece arrived from that angry and graceless ether of artistic inspiration that sometimes, just sometimes, gifts us with a fluid pen. I didn't feel that I needed to edit it. I wrote it about a boy (The Boy, if you will). Before I submitted this to any publishers, I had someone read it, and was heartbroken when I was told that I ought to rewrite it "as a story". I ignored that, submitted it to a Flash Fiction contest, and was accepted as a finalist. I think it is critical for emerging writers to learn their own homeostasis of input vs. instinct when it comes to their work.


PetrucciFlashWriter.jpgVirginia Petrucci is a writer and fine artist based in Los Angeles. She has written for the LA Post Examiner, and has published writing and artwork in Another Chicago Magazine, Mom Egg Review, Dirty Chai, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Snow Monkey, and others. "We Want To Be Remembered" was first published in Best New Writing 2014 as a Runner Up for the Gover Prize in Flash Fiction.


FF.Net Editor Commentary (Randall Brown)

Interesting, isn't it, that in the Author's Note, Petrucci says that she was told that she "ought to rewrite it 'as a story.' Flash makes its readers (and its writers) think about what is story, what isn't. Or maybe flash sometimes doesn't care.

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