Flash Fiction: “Rotterhalt”


Judith went into the dark kitchen like a shellshocked cat and opened the grumbling Rotterhalt refrigerator. The door squeaked wide and a heap of cold air chilled her glowing face and neck. A bright, clean display of perfectly organized greenyuck and juices and vegetables, exactly everything the girls at Stairdore were allowed to eat and nothing more. The labels faced outward, always faced outwards or there was the peach fannywhack stick.

She looked over her shoulder once, then again. Her stomach rumbled like furniture sliding.

Careful not to dirty her swamp-green uniform skirt, she knelt to the tiles and looked under the refrigerator, into the gap of its broken grill, into its dusty guts. She fished her hand through the cobwebs, past the greasy fuzz pipes.

She found it and brought it out through the rumble. For a second forgot to breathe.

It was a brilliant slice of lemon meringue pie in a clean white dish, not a single dust bug, though her hand had streaks of black and smelled like tar.

She gobbled the pie quick and slid the dish back into Rotterhalt.  She wondered what it would be tomorrow. Shutting the heavy door, caressing the cool handle, she whispered, “Cheesecake.”

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