I don’t remember much about falling off the wall, but what I do remains vivid – first the rending crack, a shaking sigh, and the green of the grass, each blade a perfect sword. My insides oozed out and coated the ground with a pearly sheen. The stark brilliance of the sky pained my eyes. Angels sung, a low thrumming hymn, and this peace, this grace overtook me and I cried, I cried, I was so happy! But then the men came in their shiny white jackets and picked up my brittle shards. My mind slithered down the hill, a rainbow of gold and pink and black. They caught the black but the rest escaped, and they bundled us up and carted us away in a screaming car and deposited us in a room without color or light and here I stay, swaddled like a baby, me and the black.
To this day, most people think I fell off the wall. Saying so kind of smoothes over the awkwardness of that event, just like calling someone who is rip-roaring drunk indisposed. But I know the truth, and until I speak it they will keep me here. “For your safety,” they tell me. Meanwhile, they bring me teeny white cups filled with luminosity: blue triangles, orange ovals, yellow spheres. Sometimes I swallow, sometimes not. What keeps me sane is the memory of that day looping through my shell of a head, the only other color in my otherwise black-and-white world.
Humpty Dumpty appeared earlier this week in 52, the final quarterly (and grand finale) of the 52/250 Flash-A-Year Challenge. Editors extraordinaire Michelle Elvy, Walter Bjorkman, and John Wentworth Chapin asked several of us *chronic* flashers to retell a fairy or folk tale. I chose Humpty because I'd always wondered if his crack-up was literal or metaphorical. Several of my older stories appear in weeks #44 (ANT FARM), #48 (TAINTED LOVE), and #52 (PHANTOM SISTER). Allow yourself to linger here -- fabulous work by many names you will recognize.