A Brief History of a Country
Once upon a time there was a country. It grew up on a farm. It started out small but over time grew big and strong.
When it reached a certain age, the country went into the world to seek adventures. It had a swell time. Eventually, though, it caught a sexually-transmitted disease. It decided to return home.
Back at home, its father, a farmer, watched the country to see how it had turned out. It sat in a La-Z-Boy barking orders for pie at its mother, and laughing at the antics of some idiot on reality TV. Twice a day it made a big show of taking its penicillin. Then it would call its broker.
"I don't like it," the farmer said to the country's mother, a housewife and former brothel worker. "We both worked so hard. Back-breaking work, of one sort or another. We scrimped. We saved. We poured our own foundation. Now the boy says he's going to be a trillionaire because of something called securitization? I may not have a college degree, but I'm no idiot. He's explained it three times already, and every time I think the same thing: 'Sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me!'"
"Don't worry, dear," said his wife. She was only half listening. She'd developed an interest in scripophily. She sat at the kitchen table, the materials of her hobby scattered around her. She'd just acquired a rare 1987 Bear Stearns and was eager to add it to her collection book.
The stock certificate was orange, with a starburst pattern. It had Ace Greenberg's signature! It had come with a letter. "Thank you for your purchase of this beautiful engraved 1987 certificate from Bear Stearns Companies Inc. The 85-year-old pillar of Wall Street crumbled under the weight of its own wagers on high risk mortgages ..."
She was going to cut that paragraph right out of the letter and affix it in her book, under the certificate.
"I'm glad you feel you can get something good out of it," her husband said. "That pretty piece of paper represents thousands of crushed dreams and lost fortunes."
"But it is very pretty." His wife smiled. She placed the certificate in the book and smoothed a clear plastic sheet over the top, to protect it from the ravages of time.
The country came out of its room, where it had been on the phone for the past half hour. "I'm headed over to Alan's," it said. "We're going to make some bailout pie. We'll bring you some back."
"Oh, yummy. What's in it?" the country's mother asked.
"Whatever we can find," the country said.
"That doesn't sound very good," said the country's father. He'd been to Alan's and knew what was lying around there. But no one was listening.
"I guess I'll go plow under the wheat," he sighed, hoping to get a rise out of someone.
"That's nice, dear," his wife said. The country was already gone.
's poetry and prose have appeared in a number of print and online journals, with work forthcoming from Dogzplot
, WORK Literary Magazine
, Right Hand Pointing
, Wisdom Crieth Without
, The Milo Review
, and Squawk Back
. Her debut novel, an environmental mystery called Mitigating Circumstances
, was published by Five Star/Cengage
in January 2014. She lives in Gulf Breeze, Florida.