Tag Archives: Al Kratz

Al Kratz
October 2017 Commended

What If Nothing Hurts Us More Than Imagination?

by Al Kratz

I finally went to see the doctor because it was easier than telling My Girl that I hadn't gone. It was easier than watching the disappointment grow. It was easier than admitting weakness. The ways she could move me were magical, but when the fire alarm sounded, I wished I had held my ground. I could just as easily die in a fire. These things happen all the time. I went to the doctor because My Girl had put her hands on me. She was magical that way too. But now on the ninth floor with a bunch of old people, stairs our only option, I thought, Oh great, are you happy now? You'll never get to touch me again. And then I thought, Come on, man. This isn’t all about you. Look at these people. What a loss we would be. And as if a wall of smoke had already done its deed, I had trouble breathing from the fifth floor down. She had put her hands on me, and I had asked her to say, O Captain! My Captain! But she just said, Shut up! This is serious! I went to the doctor because My Girl had felt something wrong. Right there in her beautiful hand, she had held a lump, small enough for fingers—my little life and pointless death. Or was it my little death and pointless life? What if it was just her imagination? What if it was the truth? I don’t know. After I opened the fire exit, after I felt alone in the parking lot, I caught my breath. I saw that I wasn’t alone. I saw everything I needed to see. These things happen all the time. The fire might have been a false alarm. I don't know. I didn’t stick around.

About the Author

Al Kratz lives in Indianola, Iowa with his fiancé, their three dogs, and any college kids that return to the nest. He is working on a short story collection and a novel. He writes fiction reviews for Alternating Current. He finished second in the February 2016 Bath Flash Fiction Award, and his story in Jellyfish Review was nominated for Best Small Fictions 2017. This year, he has had work in Ellipsis Zine, Train, (b)OINK, and forthcoming in Bull.

He blogs at alkratz.blogspot.com and tweets @silverbackedG

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Interview with Al Kratz
Bath Flash Prize Winner

Al Kratz with beer

Al tells us how his second prize-winning story was sparked off by the title, which came into his head on the way to work. This great ten-worder, You have so many more choices than fight or flight posed questions about human existence and allowed Al to write in the second-person, a voice he wouldn't normally use. We think he's definitely created a 'kick-ass' flash fiction.

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Al Kratz
February 2016 Second Prize

You Have So Many More Choices Than Fight Or Flight

by Al Kratz

When you encounter a bear in the woods, lock arms with a friend. Make yourselves appear stronger. Transform into a collective self. When they ask how little girls like you survived the bear, shrug your unlocked shoulders and agree: isn’t it a wonder?

Just in case, hang out with stronger people. Maybe that guy from your co-ed softball team with the tattoo on his neck. It might feel counter-intuitive, but don’t confuse the number of fights you will witness with the number of fights you will be in. Just don’t fall in love with the tattoo man.

When you fall in love with the tattoo man, and your mother whispers to everyone that her son-in-law is in jail over a little fireworks thing, tell her, Mom, it wasn’t firecrackers—he’s in prison for making bombs. You’re neither fighting your mother nor fleeing the truth—you’re standing your ground.

When you encounter a carpenter bee in the woods, be still. The male has no stinger. It’s safe to call his bluff. The female only stings when provoked. As she flies around your head, repeat to yourself: she’s not really a bee, she’s not really a bee, she’s not really a bee.

When you lose your wedding ring in the woods, let it be. This is the universe singing for you. Listen to all she has to say. You don’t have to fight or run from the universe. You have so many more choices than that.

When you divorce the tattoo man, testify how so many things aren’t even worth fighting for. It’s not fight or flight if you don’t care who you’re getting away from or where you’re going to. You’ve seen birds. Sometimes flying is just for the sake of flying.

About the Author

Al KratzAl Kratz lives with his girlfriend in Indianola, Iowa where he is working on a short story collection. He is a reader for Wyvern Lit and writes fiction reviews for Alternating Current. He won the 2013 British Fantasy Society Flash Fiction contest and has had work in Literary Orphans, Third Point Press, Spelk, Red Savina Review, and others.

Blogs at alkratz.blogspot.com and tweets @silverbackedG.

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