Rick Joines

Issue 2: Flash Nonfiction

Why It Clicks

She lifts her left hand and tilts her head toward her left shoulder. With her index finger, she guides a strand of blonde-streaked hair behind her ear. Then, because it feels good, she pinches her earlobe and pulls as it slips from her grip. She examines her reflection in the mirror. I sit behind her, to the right, on the edge of the tub, watching, silent. She prefers it when I talk. I can tell by the way she draws a breath she is not happy with how this is going. Her shoulders rise then slump. One eye closes. She scrunches her nose. I cannot see her tray, but I hear her plastic hairbrush rattle out of its ceramic jar. Thirty-something years ago, her mother gave her this brush, touting its wonders. She has never doubted. She tilts her head this way, then that, as she pulls the brush through hair she decides may be getting too long. Wooden hair-sticks jostle and plink. She dips her hand into a demitasse with cobalt blue ink koi arching around its sides. She fishes out a hairclip, snaps it open, and in one stroke casts it from temple to crown. I ask her to hand me one. The black metal hairclip weighs next to nothing. Its sole purpose is to hold hair somewhere other than where it wants to go. It is small, but with enough room for branding. Squinting in this light, I see scünci stamped in its center. It looks, at first, like several pieces, but it is only one. I turn it over and around and consider its manufacture and design, the engineering that automatically, intuitively, gets you to turn two fingers and a thumb into a triangle. How the thumb enjoys the resistance it meets and wants to push against it. The crimped middle creates a curve, but the whole thing depends upon the little grommet binding where the machined ends join.

That makes it click.

Rick Joines is a Southerner displaced to the nation of Texas and is hoping to stay indoors until the state decides opening itself up really opened itself up. He teaches writing at the University of North Texas and his most recent piece of CNF appeared in 3Elements Review.

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