Moxie, a stray collie, chases a bouncing balloon between parked cars. The balloon is red, not that she knows. The both of them are like children bounding and splashing in the puddles. She clamps her teeth around the end of the balloon, and her serrated touch cracks the morning silence. She yelps a little, sniffs the shreds of latex that lay scattered across the road, and is bewildered. The balloon is gone, but that’s why she’s confused. Her tongue lolls around her mouth: it’s red – Moxie had forgotten the taste of red.
She struggles to decide if it’s sweet cinnamon or spicy steak she tastes, but either way it tastes good. She salivates at the taste of home, and thinks about the one she misses. Of the man and woman, of the nights by the fire. Of her curiosity at the arrival of the miniature one that cries, of their shouting, how they burst. That last car ride. That rope she gnawed through.
She licks another sliver of red. Whimpers. Then she sees another balloon, a slightly different shade of grey this time – orange – caught in a breeze, hopping from invisible objects. She scampers after it, wondering where they’re all coming from, hoping one will taste like her memories, or maybe lead her home.
Santino Prinzi is the Co-Director of National Flash Fiction Day (UK), Flash Fiction Editor for Firefly Magazine, and a First Reader for Vestal Review. His debut flash fiction collection Dots and other flashes of perception is available from The Nottingham Review Press. Website: tinoprinzi.wordpress.