Two Stories by Michael Brierley

Brevity and the beast by Madhura Thatte
June 4, 2018
Two Stories by Beth Sherman
June 6, 2018



You must be wondering about the hole in my head. It’s an insect’s burrow, and I’m thinking more clearly since it appeared.

The last thing I googled before I fell asleep and woke up like this was the word, “Seraph.” I didn’t know seraph.

I remember the last thing you said to me too, pre-hole. You said, “Alright. I gotta get away from you right now.” And then you walked outside and left your sandwich untouched. And I tried to decide whether you or I was more like your sandwich.

I don’t think like that now, though, you’ll be happy to know.

Not every hole is the same you know. Some holes are formed like pierced ears and some are drilled, or scraped with pincers like in my case. Drilling removes bits of skull and matter from the head. The piercing way just pushes it aside, tearing connections. I don’t know what’s better. I can only say that there’s a difference.




The driver hit a pot hole and blew a tire. On the side of the road he found a can with a string tied to the bottom. The string went far off into the bushes beyond which the highway flowed in the opposite direction. He put the can to his ear and pulled the string tight to tune in.

Inside the can he heard God say, “Get back in the truck.”

The man went to his truck, but not to get back in. He went to check on the fish. It was cool enough inside for them. He looked at each one to see that they were all still swimming. Red little betas to be a child’s first pet or an office worker’s small joy. He liked driving fish.

He followed the string through the thorny brush and commuter trash until he emerged on the other side. There he found a truck full of fish. Red little betas, like his own.

Until then, the driver’s life had been heading in one direction. He had believed there was an inevitability to life, but here was proof of alternatives.

“I was heading to Ohio,” said the other driver, “but I got a flat.”

“Funny,” he said. “The same thing happened to me, only I was heading away from Ohio. Are those red betas?”

“They are,” he said.

The betas were singing which was very strange. The other driver rushed to the back of the truck and began to step on the red singing betas one by one. How terrible! Before he could crush them all, the driver picked up a tire iron and hit him in the head. The man fell with a thud in the dirt and his dusty blood pooled by the highway.

The driver grabbed the now screaming betas in his arms and brought them to his truck back on the other side of the highway. He fixed his tire and got back to driving away from Ohio feeling consoled.



Michael Brierley is from Boston, Massachusetts.