Once upon a time there was a fire in a fireplace, but the man, who was a man from the city and not the country said I want that fire to be big. So he fooled around and the fire went out. Don’t fool around, said the woman, but the man said I want a really big fire, so he added more logs. What do you think? The fire went out. Stop fooling around, said the woman, but the man said I have to fool around with fire — it is my destiny. The next night the woman smiled at the man, as he piled log after log on top of the flames that tried hard to burn bright. He was going to make a really big fire, because he needed to know he could. The woman closed her eyes and thought of the hottest things she could imagine –burned waffles on the sun, and nuclear hot dogs. And of course the fire caught this time. Look said the man, it’s really big now. The woman smiled at the man. They watched the flames crackle late into the night.
Published by Stephanie Barbé Hammer
Stephanie Barbé Hammer is a magical realist prose fiction writer, novelist, occasional essayist, and a committed, intermittent poet. A 6-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize she has published work in Hayden's Ferry, Pearl, CRATE, Rhapsoidia, NYCBigCityLit, the East Jasmine Review, Apeiron, Inlandia, Literary Alchemy and the Bellevue Literary Review among other places. Her novel _The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior_ appeared in March 2015 with Urban Farmhouse Press, and her Narrow Interior novelette, _Rescue Plan, appeared in February 2021 with Bamboo Dart Press. Her poetry collection _How Formal?_ was published in 2014 with Spout Hill Press and her prose poem collection _SEX WITH BUILDINGS_ was published in May 2012 by Dancing Girl Press. Stephanie flunked early retirement at the University of California Riverside and is currently feeding her teaching love at Edmonds Community College, Hugo House and the Inlandia Institute. iShe is currently managing editor for SHARK REEF literary magazine and is working on two new novels, and two new poetry collections, Her manual on how to write magical realism _Delicious Strangeness_ is available from Spout Hill Press. View all posts by Stephanie Barbé Hammer