Smoking a Roach
Bev Vines-Haines
Flash Fiction Winner
This isn't the sort of story you think. It's actually a love story. Vinny Passemoni gave me the best gift I've ever received on Arbor Day, 1975. A perfect cockroach, embedded in quartz, splayed out like a hoochie dancer going for extra dollar bills. Every leg, each antennae, crisp brown shell and even its tiny eyes were held captive inside a crystal clear blob of quartz about the size of a grapefruit.

Right after he gave it to me, Vinny pulled it back and tossed it into the fireplace.  We'd been sitting on a small rug toasting tall glasses of Cabernet. I screamed. "Vinny, you idiot! You've destroyed it."

Thing is, he hadn't. He'd written a message with clear nail polish and the heat turned it black. The quartz said, "Will you marry me?"

I cried and acted all girlie, almost forgetting my little roach. Vinny pulled it out of the fire and polished it after it cooled. Quartz and roach were unharmed.

Me and Vinny? We've been married almost thirty years and even when we had two sets of twins it was not as great a surprise as that amazing rock.

First published: February, 2006
comments to the writer: Knob'