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Wisdom is rare in adults. Those who have it made life impossible for everyone around them as children. We beat it out of the weak. It threatens us like joy. Like water balloons. Like youth. We want everyone to be old, and we don’t want to be wet. Or too dry. Or too anything. We want everything to be just so. We like to know where things are. Have you been to a grocery store? We’re obsessed with the size of the nuts. We think it measures worth. Are they colossal? Giant? Are they grand? (Grand is not a category of nut size, but if it were, we’d calibrate the right price for a grand nut and we’d pay it feeling righteous. Also—without telling you anything you don’t already know—we’d pay more for a grand nut to a place that would gift-wrap, and even more to a place that would gift-wrap and call a “grand nut” a “colossal nut.”) Nuts are sold in a round cardboard foil-lined container wrapped in the image of a friendly man who loves nuts, and veracity, and a square deal, and whose name is inoffensive, goofy even, maybe just initials. (And a reclosable plastic lid.) When he says “Honey Roasted Nuts” with “real honey” we should all be unnerved by what else “honey” might mean, and cheapened. But instead, we’re grateful for our paychecks. We’ve matured. “Honey-roasted nuts” in quotes is the least of what we’ve swallowed. The nuts cost a dollar ninety-nine in a package that would retail for a dollar and a half. Hardly nuts at all. Barely protein. They’re mean small fragments of nut meat that deliver salt and sugar. God bless them. Good from nothing. If we had found them, roasted them, seasoned them ourselves, we’d be heroes.

The Spring 2008 issue features five Very Short Novels. Many thanks to editors PJ Nights and Ray Sweatman.

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Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.

Behind the Pseudonym

The pen name David B Dale honors my parents Beatrice and Dale. David+B+Dale = davidbdale

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