the Remembered Saints: My Life and Subsequent Death
Execution of the Sun"
Among the Jellyfish"
of the Manfestation"
Cake and Double Talk"
woke, donned his bathrobe, and wandered down to the kitchen.
His first order of business was to make some coffee. But
something Norris saw made him stop. There, growing out
of the kitchen floor, like an exotic fern, was a donkey
ear. Norris rubbed his eyes. Yes, it was a donkey
ear. A donkey ear growing out of the kitchen floor.
went into the bedroom where Carole slept, her body heaving
in the tectonic rhythms of their unborn baby.
up," Norris said to his wife, shaking her. "There's
a donkey ear growing out of the kitchen floor."
opened an eye that reminded Norris very much of a barnacle
stuck to a rock.
with it," Carole said, and rolled away like a wave
crashing toward a distant shore.
dealt with the donkey ear growing out of the kitchen floor
the only way he knew how: He made a pot of coffee. Then
he sat at the kitchen table and contemplated the ear.
noticed the donkey ear was sticking straight up, as if
standing at attention. That was good, he thought. Norris
liked things that stood at attention. By why only one?
Shouldn't the ear have a mate? Where was the rest of the
Deep in thought
about this, Norris misjudged the distance from the cup
to his lips and spilled coffee onto his leg.
it! Now lookit what you made me do," he scolded the
he saw the donkey ear quiver, as if in sympathy.
As if the
donkey ear could feel his pain.
came downstairs in her nightgown and slippers, clutching
the round orb of her belly. Norris sat at the kitchen
table in his usual place, reading his newspaper. It was
Saturday; there was no office for him to go to.
"I had the strangest dream last night," Carole
said, raising her hand to the light and spreading her
fingers out like a fan. She liked to admire the moons
that were growing on her fingernails. She thought of baby
waiting inside her as she watched the ghostly white disks
drift toward the tips of her nails and disappear over
"I had a dream there was a donkey ear growing
out of the kitchen floor and I told you to deal with it."
Norris looked up from his newspaper.
it's true. There is a donkey ear growing out of the kitchen
floor," he said, pointing at the donkey ear.
Carole gasped, folding herself into an S in the chair
next to Norris. Moons shot out from her fingernails, a
torrent of cold white flecks, gibbous, crescent, and full.
the moons come and go. Baby was coming. The clockwork
of Carole's solar system was on fast-forward.
at the kitchen table, thinking about things, her hands
fluttering like birds against glass.
is going along fine, and then one morning a donkey ear
was not happy about the donkey ear growing out of the
kitchen floor. Her kitchen floor. Her kitchen. She had
picked out the linoleum, she had chosen the cabinets,
she had selected everything, even the knobs on the pantry
door. And now here was this weed, this thing that had
us?" she said. "Why did it have to come to us?"
batter into the waffle iron. The ear made it difficult
to maneuver in the kitchen. Carole had to make a wide
orbit around the ear to reach the table with the waffles.
It wouldn't do to get to close.
our house insurance cover the removal of animal parts?"
Carole asked Norris.
been inside all kinds of houses, but she had never seen
one with a donkey ear growing out of the kitchen floor.
A moose head on the wall, maybe, but never a donkey ear.
Never a donkey part of any kind.
his head and said, "I don't think so."
glad he didn't think insurance covered the removal of
animal parts because he liked the ear. After all, how
many men in America could boast a donkey ear in the middle
of their kitchen floor? There was something appealing
about the ear. He could talk to it and it wouldn't talk
back. Not like Carole. Carole was always giving him an
earful. She was always saying things like, "I want
that ear out of here." Or, "It's a hazard. Someone
might trip." Or, "Think of baby. The ear could
be diseased. You don't know where it's been."
next morning it was still there, rising from the floor
like a young maple sapling.
Norris said in a cheerful voice. As he spoke, Norris was
pleased to see the donkey ear snap to attention.
a can of coffee from the freezer. On the can there was
a picture of Juan Valdez and his donkey. As Norris ground
the shiny beans, he wondered what it was like to have
a full donkey instead of just an ear. He had searched
the entire house for other donkey parts, but he had found
nothing, not even a hoof.
had a full donkey while Norris had only an ear. It just
wasn't fair. Norris was jealous of Juan Valdez.
night Carole made a pot roast, arranging carrots and potatoes
in a horseshoe around the mahogany meat. Carole could
feel baby moving inside her as she poured brown gravy
into a pan. Baby was almost ready. But before baby could
come, the donkey ear would have to go. A house with a
donkey ear growing out of the kitchen floor—who
ever heard of such a thing? Donkey ears—donkey parts
of any kind—had no place in her home.
arranged Fourth of July sparklers in a ring around the
donkey ear. Vines shot up the walls and slithered across
the kitchen ceiling. Smoke was pouring from the oven.
Norris was standing in the mists of the Colombian jungle.
Norris and his Colombian donkey ear.
not going to light those things in the house," Carole
said, eyeing the donkey ear and the sparklers with resentment.
Baby moved again, a sharp twinge in her womb. Something
hard was kicking. "This has got to stop," Carole
said, but Norris of course wasn't listening.
in a festive mood. There was much to be thankful for.
Commander Sanchez had squashed the peasant rebellion and
this year's coffee harvest would be the biggest ever.
To celebrate, Norris tied a purple ribbon around the donkey
"There," Norris said as he stood up to
admire the bow he had tied to the top of the donkey ear.
He liked how the ear stood proud and erect, like an obelisk
honoring an ancient god.
"Norris!" Carole shouted.
sniffed the ear, ran his tongue along the fluted interior.
There was the sour mingled taste of gunpowder, coffee
beans and dung.
Carole screamed again, clutching her belly. Something
was galloping inside her, and there was the deafening
thunder of hooves.
coming!" Carole cried out.
Incendio!" Norris shouted as the sparklers flashed
their tiny lightening bolts.
ends simply or completely. It would be easy to tell you,
for instance, that Norris and Carole's baby was a donkey—that
it was the full donkey that Norris had always wanted,
but that would be lying. Norris and Carole's baby was
a human baby, like any other. A woman giving birth to
a donkey? Who would believe such a ridiculous story anyway?
But if you
must know, the donkey ear is still there, growing out
of Norris and Carole's kitchen floor. Only the kitchen
floor no longer belongs to Norris and Carole. After baby
was born, Norris and Carole sold the house to Jerry and
Kim and moved away.
Kim wasn't thrilled with the idea of owning a house with
a donkey ear growing out of the kitchen floor. But Jerry
didn't mind. He thought having a donkey ear growing out
of the kitchen floor was rather novel.
and Kim got a good price on the house.
That was good,
Kim thought as she caressed her belly.
She and Jerry
would need every penny to buy baby a full donkey.
December 1, 2002
Rosenblum, Director of Corporate & Policy Programs
at the Japan Society in New York City, has spent nearly
half his life overseas, including thirteen years in Japan.
A former television producer and foreign correspondent,
Daniel is also is an award-winning fiction writer. His
work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including
Printed Matter and Wingspan in Japan,
and The Kit-Cat Review, Doorknobs &
Bodypaint, Quick Fiction, Japanophile
Magazine and Spinnings in the U.S. He
has read widely in the New York area and was interviewed
on WNYC about his short story "The Podiatrist,"
which was featured in The Broken Bridge (Stone
Bridge Press), an anthology of expatriates in literary
Japan. Daniel is active in the Tunnel Vision Writers'
Project, a non-profit organization that specializes in
providing support and creative forums for multi-genre
writers and writing students. He lives in Montclair, New
Jersey, with his wife, Tamima, daughters Beryl and Hannah,
and Winston, a dachshund.