Pink Tulips

By Tinamarie Cox

Kenny settled on the park bench and fussed with the bouquet for Hannah. His palms were sweaty but he was sure she wouldn’t mind. He had done everything Hannah requested: worn his thick-rimmed glasses, donned a crisp button-up shirt with a bow tie, and slicked his hair to the side. His reflection in the morning mirror screamed nerd, but Hannah had said she liked smart boys. Kenny had all the qualities she was looking for in a boyfriend.

“No way!” Jason approached, holding his phone up in front of his face. Tyler and Casey flanked him like lesser apes.

Kenny frowned at them. “Go away.” Whatever trouble the boys were up to, he wanted no part in it. Today was about meeting Hannah, who was sure to be the love of his life.

“He got the pink tulips and everything!” Jason continued recording.

Kenny tensed and his eyes widened.

“You’re so pathetic. Hannah isn’t real!” Jason stood back to film the scene.

Tyler pulled a glossy catfish out from behind Casey. With a grunt, he heaved the fish corpse toward Kenny and it landed at his feet with a wet slap to the cement.

Kenny’s spirit faded with the laughter of his peers as they left him on the park bench with the stinking fish and the tulips he would now use for mourning what never was.

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Tinamarie Cox lives in Arizona with her husband and two children. She writes and creates visual art to escape her mind and explore the universe. Her work has appeared in several publications, and she is also the author of Self-Destruction in Small Doses (Bottlecap Press). You can find more of her work at:

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