The editorial team for Artful Dodge every year includes student editors from the College of Wooster, where the Dodge is currently based. Artful Tangents are prose poems and flash fictions composed by our past and present student editors, each on a different, unique subject but each using the words ‘artful’ or ‘dodge,’ even if just fleetingly. Here is one such artful piece for your entertainment; accompanying image selected by Ananya Shrestha, Editorial Assistant, found here:
A Crack at Love
by Shaina Switzer ’13
He reached into his chest and cut the wires. Dabbing with a cloth, he set clamps to stop the oil dripping down his stomach. The Axiom Heart™ he let thunk onto his workshop table was blackened and shriveled. He sighed. He scratched at the skintech above the opening and reached for his phone to call his supplier for a replacement. The fat balding human with grubby fingers was always dodging his calls. Rob kept up with his payment plan, so why couldn’t the only heart supplier in town be as amiable as he, instead of such a monopolizing frustration?
When he was first switched on, Rob had been handed a manual on how to maintain his casing, how to plug in at night to recharge, how to keep his innards dust free with small gusts of compressed air. But who ever really reads the manual?
The only thing that stuck in his circuits was the imperative that being “unplugged was only advisable for sixteen hours.” Any longer and his power source, his heart, could overload, leaving him sluggish and prone to snapping at others. Some of his brethren had let themselves get wound down for so long, they weren’t quite the same after getting a recharge and a complimentary sample of casing wax.
Before he could put his call through the phone rang. Rob recognized the number and scowled. That heartless bitch was the reason his own was in such a state. He had courted her, bought her a dress, danced with her, amid a whirlwind of compliments and overtures. A full day of lavish praise and anything he could do to prove he was capable of love. And all she had given him was a papery peck on the cheek, her retreating lips parted, a perfect “o” that had taunted him for most of their time together.
So now, here he sat, his blackened heart spent in one hand, his other clicking, almost itching, to grab the phone and have it out with her. His chest was still open, wires spilling out like crackling snakes into the cool night air.