Flash Fiction
$25 Prize
You met Uli at Miami’s Best Pizza, back when
he barely spoke English, back when he punched
dough like it was the face of a man he wanted to
kill, some
cabrón who stared too long at his kid
sister, who promised her heaven and more,
surrounded by the exhaust and floating plastic of
downtown Managua. A week before you met Uli,
your father left to start a new family in Jersey
and you wanted out of the suburbs, away from
the dripping fountains and too-straight lawns,
away from your mother’s flat eyes and receding

Uli lived with his
tío Victor in a duplex near calle
, in a neighborhood that never shut up,
whose lawns were littered with plastic toys,
kitchen appliances, and wild roosters, a place
where there were a million smells, a million
distractions. Because you were boys, you didn’t
talk about anything real, but you recognized the
anger in his eyes. All it took was one shared
blunt in the freezer to create a routine: you’d take
him home after work, he’d change into a
guayabera and smoke you out. Once you were
both faded, you’d walk across the street to Casa
Lario’s, order ice-cold Maltas, ham
and yucca fries with extra
mojo sauce from
waitresses with busted teeth, frayed apron
strings lost in the folds of their fat bodies.

They’d fluff your Jewfro with their plastic nails,
cursing your good luck, asking if you wanted to
meet their little
hijitas. You’d respond in shameful
Spanish, exaggerating your dumbass white-boy
accent just to hear them laugh, just to see the
glints of silver and gold in their teeth. They called
el gringo guapo, and while you enjoyed the
attention, needed it, it wasn’t enough. You
wanted them to look at you the way they looked
at Uli, like you belonged to them, like you were
somebody’s son.

Dana De Greff is a writer and editor from Miami, Florida. She has
published articles and stories in The Austin Chronicle, The Miami
New Times, and Palooka Journal.
by Dana Reva De Greff