Little Box

Little Box

The term “ Couch Potato” always seemed to fit quite well, if only they would have actually made it as far as the living room.


Flash fiction


Tali Chais (United States)

The TV was put on a shelf above the window in front of the bed. As the kids lay on the bed they had to tilt their head high up, strain their necks in order to see the small box.
As one of those that belong to an older generation, I am always somewhat creeped out by the blank faces my grandkids have as they watch TV. The term “ Couch Potato” always seemed to fit quite well, if only they would have actually made it as far as the living room.
Sometimes I stay the night in this house; it is much better then the retirement home I was put into. There is more privacy, cleanness, and hospitality in the house. I will say, however, that the food in the retirement home is better. The food here is fresher, perhaps, but there is something comforting about the food in the retirement home.

I worry sometimes. Sometimes, when I stay here, I hear the kids scream in fear at night. They run to their parent’s room, and sleep there for the rest of the night. They say they had a bad dream, that although it is 3 AM they were unable to sleep all night through.
I feel it odd that two kids have had a bad dream at the same time, but I guess twins may be connected in some odd and unusual ways.

The twins are a quiet pair, but they get louder as they become familiar with you. To me it feels that I have to remind them who I am every time we meet. Funny kids, every time we meet they will hide behind their parents, and over the course of a week or so, will finally warm up to me. Then, if I don’t see them for a few days, the process will have to start a new. I don’t recall if my kids were like that, but either way all kids are different.
My kids were different.

Regardless, recently I became determent to remain with the little kids. I am afraid I am weakening, and I want them to remember me when I pass.

So I watch them as they watch TV (because, God, nothing can make them look away). Their little blank faces, their little flat noses pointed high at the celling, their round nostrils too young to sprout with hair. Even with light from the celling beaming into their eyes, the reflection of the TV is visible in their shiny little peepers.

Funny thing about light, light can work in many ways. The little square in their eyes, and the bigger square in mine. I wonder if they can see me sometimes, staring through the window, but I don’t think they can. When there is light in a room, and night outside, the window only works one way.
From the darkness outside I can see their lighten room clearly. From their bright room, you can’t see the outside. The glass reflects the light, and become a weak mirror. I touch the glass and they look to a point above me.

But sometimes, at night, there is a tiny bit light from the street lamps. When it is finally darker in their room then it is out in the street, when for once they do not fall asleep watching TV, when for once they are put to bed without the remote in their palms, they look out the window.

Competition: June 2015 Pen Factor, Round 1



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