Here's a treat for you, just in time for Valentine's Day (or, as the snickering boys in my junior high school used to call it, "VD Day"--ignoring the stuttering redundancy). The good folks at Europa Editions have given me permission to publish a piece of flash fiction which appears in the new short story collection Marry Me by Dan Rhodes.
In Marry Me, Rhodes looks at love and marriage through 79 fictional vignettes which The Times call "strangely funny, startlingly original." The Independent hailed the book with this line of praise: "Marry Me amounts to a bleak yet funny world view, as if PG Wodehouse and Graham Greene had got together to form a greetings card company." And on that note, I'll go straight to the story. Here's "Carbon," in its entirety, ripped from the pages of Dan Rhodes' Marry Me:
I asked my girlfriend to marry me, and she said yes. I couldn’t afford a diamond, so instead I handed her a lump of charcoal. ‘It’s pure carbon,’ I explained. ‘Now, if we can just find a way to rearrange the atoms . . .’
She stared at the black lump in her palm, and I began to worry that ours was going to be the shortest engagement in history. She smiled. ‘We’ll put it under the mattress,’ she said. ‘Maybe we’ll squash it into a diamond over time.’
It’s been there ever since. We check up on it every once and a while, and it never looks any different. I think we would be a bit disappointed if it ever did.