by Simon A. Smith
When I called my mom to tell her that I had been fired from my job, her response was to read me a story from a book she'd fallen in love with. The one she picked was a testimonial about a former prostitute who had changed her life through positive thinking. It was not a short story but she read the whole thing, and when she had finished and the prostitute had made her transformation from a street walker to a wedding planner, she told me that that was what I needed to do now, "think only good thoughts and imagine yourself succeeding in a business that better suits your spiritual self." I couldn't see any harm in being optimistic so over the next week, every time I sent out a resume, I pictured myself as a veterinarian, all dressed up in blue scrubs with a stethoscope around my neck, bandaging a fragile cat's paw, which had always been my dream job. On the eighth day, I take a walk through Oz Park and on the way out I find a wounded bird on the ground with bloody feathers but still breathing. And as I bend down to examine the heartbeat, I wonder if this is it, if this is what she (or they or it) would count as a triumph.
Simon A. Smith lives and writes in Chicago. He is the Editor of the literary magazine Bruiser Review. His fiction has appeared in Storyglossia, Look-Look Magazine, The Columbia Chronicle, Dogzplot, The Banana King and others. He is currently working on a novel titled "Escape From Dreamland" that will hopefully be finished by the end of 2008. (If you're a publisher or an agent, send him an email!)