February Flash Fiction: Mustard Sleeve by Peter Clarke

Mustard Sleeve

Peter Clarke

Burger-joint bright yellow mustard surprised me on my sleeve. I felt blinded as I licked it off. I put on sunglasses and kept licking. Adding ketchup, salt, and a slice of pickle, I was no longer sure what I was looking at through my rock-and-roll lenses. I took my shirt off because this had to be a tropical beach vacation, even though I swear I had just gotten off work on a dark evening and come to escape the cold in this burger joint without ever leaving town. But then I’d lost the mustard sleeve. The shirt was inside out. Where could that sleeve have possibly gone? Wasn’t I just licking it? Then my sunglasses fell off. God, things became awkward real fast. Panicking like the first and last time I ever tried romance over a cheap meal, I grabbed my uneaten half of a hamburger and the sticky bottle of mustard and ran outside into a homeless person, tripping head over heels shirtless, launching the mustard bottle into traffic, forever staining sunshine on someone’s windshield like the dazzling yellow taste on my lips.

Peter Clarke is a writer and musician currently living in San Francisco. His short fiction has appeared in 3AM Magazine, Pif Magazine, Curbside Splendor, Western Press Books, Hobart, Elimae, Oklahoma Review, The Legendary, Zygote in My Coffee, and elsewhere.

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