about the author

Bryan Shawn Wang lives in a small town outside a small city in Pennsylvania. His flash fiction has appeared in Vestal Review, Flash Fiction Online, The Medulla Review, and flashquake and is forthcoming in The Citron Review and the anthology Sudden Flash Youth from Persea Books. His work has also been shortlisted for the storySouth Million Writers Award.

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Bryan Shawn Wang


  • Roxy was standing in line for the snack bar, telling her friend Hilary how Mrs. Trent had been acting like a royal bitch for the last two weeks. It would totally suck if the Trents fired her, especially because her scholarship wasn’t going to be offered again next year, something about endowments and the stock market. Hilary said Roxy should make a pass at Professor Trent—if she flashed him some nipple, he’d find a way to keep her on. Hilary was such a slut.

  • John Trent was straddling the commode in his private bathroom, ruminating not on the graduate seminar he would teach in a half hour nor on his senior fellow’s research project, which Nature magazine had recently heralded as “likely to lead to another paradigm shift” in the field, but rather on a series of events, largely imagined, featuring the buxom young postdoc who’d interviewed in his lab that morning, who’d exhibited not only intelligence, creativity, and confidence, but a gregariousness that was almost aggressive, and whose chest had brushed against his wrist and forearm when he’d held the door of this very same bathroom open for her.

  • Several teenagers were playing chicken and hogging the shallow end of the pool, which was where Perdie was supposed to stay. According to her mother, those so-called lessons given by those so-called lifeguards were a complete joke, the child couldn’t swim to save her life. Roxy had told Perdie she would just be a minute, she was hitting the snack bar. She’d buy her a giant freeze pop if she could be a good listener.

  • Ettie Landis was crying because her sister Meghan had stolen her mermaid doll, the one with the motorized tailfin and glitter scales that changed color in the water. Meghan had lost the doll, naturally, and Ettie was certain it was gone for good.

  • John Trent, Senior and his wife Judy were standing on the deck of their cruise ship, marveling at the sunrise over Prince William Sound and saying it wasn’t the ice and the wildlife. What they would remember most about Alaska, they agreed, was the water’s breathtaking blueness.

  • Matthias was trying to decide whether he should blow his whistle, seeing as how the boys who were up on each other’s shoulders were all (a) at least two years older and half a head taller than he; (b) good friends with Markus, who’d been, like, the best brother a guy could ask for, even though Markus had been this super jock and all and Matthias was pretty much a nobody at Chesterton High. And now Matthias was obsessing about Markus and the accident all over again. He couldn’t even remember what (c) was.

  • The adults whom Perdie had trotted past were tittering about the teacher assignments that had arrived in the mail that day, which brought them around to the new school administration, and the borough taxes, and how pool memberships had gone up again this summer. How much were they paying these lifeguards, anyway? Maybe the parents should all just start watching their own kids, ha ha ha.

  • Albert was watching the snack bar instead of the diving well. Hilary was wearing that silver bikini again. The one with ties in the back. She’d texted him last night. u treat me nice albert and i will suck u off fri nite. He wasn’t ever going to delete that text. His first blow job. Wasn’t it funny how two words that were pretty much opposites could mean the exact same thing? Suck and blow. Blow and suck. Hilary’s friend Roxy was pretty hot, too. He pictured having Roxy and Hilary at the same time. In all sorts of different positions. Now that would be the bomb.

  • The parents who’d set up around the deep end of the pool were making serious headway on their novels, or catching up with the newspaper or Time or People.

  • Jayne Miller-Trent was interrupting her own presentation, asking her newest team member if he’d mind putting the goddamn phone down for one second, because what in the world, at this particular moment in time, could be more important than the client’s fucking deadline?

  • The mermaid was lying face down in the middle of the diving well. The prickle of sunlight reflecting off its scales was more than enough to steal a little girl’s attention.

  • Sid and Marlene Miller were in a state of eternal rest eight hundred miles away.

  • The diving board was bowing ever so slightly under four-year-old Perdita Trent’s thirty-two-pound frame before it sprang back to horizontal and came gently to a stop.

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