FIVE: Short Works by Oliver Zarandi / by Oliver Zarandi


She lost her right arm in the bomb. When asked about the explosion, how it felt, she told people it felt like somebody had thrown freezing cold water all over her body and, actually, inside her body - so cold it was hot. It wasn’t true. It was a something to fill a nothing. It was filler. Her husband tried to make light of the fact that she didn’t have an arm anymore. It looks like lasagna, he said. It looks like a penis with phimosis. She didn’t laugh but that’s not to say she didn’t think it was funny. It was, in its own way, funny. Define funny, though. Funny is tragedy plus time, said her husband, who was actually quoting Woody Allen. She said that maybe comedy is Woody Allen plus time, plus his daughter. The daughter who he went on to marry and perform coitus with, she said. But what her husband noticed the most was that the house they lived in began to change. Not all at once, but gradually, item by item. First it was the fruit bowl. The kiwis, the kumquats, the apples, the mangos, the pears, the blood oranges, they began to rot. They turned green. The bowl itself, too, began to fall apart. And then it was the staircase. The balusters were loose now, like bad teeth, and eventually the husband removed an entire baluster and swung it around like a weapon. The toaster became ill. The living room changed the colour, from a lively cream to a dull grey. The toilet lid fell off and the rim just under the seat was brown and shit-stained. The microwave began to smell of vomit. They went to see a doctor. Is there anything we can do, said the husband. The doctor sat in his chair with the fingers of each hand intertwined, his head leaning on those hands, breathing through his two nostrils to suggest he was thinking of an answer. Eventually the couple decided that they weren’t just victims to the bomb, but, in fact, victims to their own biology. They began measuring each other’s hands and feet together. She began inserting things inside herself as a way of testing herself. He began inserting his genitals into spaces that could accommodate them. They began engaging with each other and their surroundings in ways they’d never thought of before.The husband suggested that maybe the removal of the arm was a blessing in disguise. The wife said let’s remove your arm then. The husband said nothing and she said, don’t worry I’m joking, I did this for you.


Oliver Zarandi is the editor of FUNHOUSE. His writing has recently appeared in Hobart, The Quietus and The Alarmist. Follow him on @funhousemag or