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by J. Bradley

At my third elementary school, my father decided it was time I make a friend. “Average,” he answered before I could ask what kind.

Kyle’s mom died in a car accident. “Wanna see how my mom died,” Kyle asked. His stepmom brought us each an individually sealed oatmeal cookie. One Hot Wheel crashed into the passenger side of another Hot Wheel. I tore open the packaging and nibbled on the oatmeal cookie as an oversized police car, a sun bleached fire truck, and an ambulance with missing rear doors arrived on the scene.

Author's Note

Kyle is an excerpt of a novella-in-flash I'm working on for my MFA thesis (part of that thesis-in-progress won Five [Quarterly]'s e-chapbook contest earlier this year). For this particular project, I'm writing the first drafts or at least fragments of first drafts by hand, something I haven't done in years. It's allowed me to better figure things out as I'm going along. I know what the core idea is but I don't really have a plan or an endgame yet. I prefer to let things unfold organically and that's the fun part, not knowing where this is all going or where the core idea will take me.

J. Bradley is a writer based out of Orlando, FL. His chapbook, Neil, won Five [Quarterly]'s 2015 e-Chapbook Contest for Fiction. He runs the Central Florida based reading series/chapbook publisher There Will Be Words and lives at

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