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Flash Fiction
382 words
SHJ Issue 7
Spring 2013

Made in China

by Patrick Vincent Welsh

The sign outside of Georgie’s Bar said:


A large sticker above the register said:


The handwritten words on the bathroom wall were much more to the point:


A row of Georgie’s wrestling trophies intermingled with the dusty bottles. There was a dark uneven pool table, and a small television that always seemed to be playing the news. It was a comfortable bar. The only problem was that it could be a little tiresome hearing Georgie talk about the current state of America, or how Ronald Reagan and both Bushes had shit all over it.

George was a small but very strong man. He poured himself a beer and sat back, saying, “You know everything you see is Made in China.”

“You’re right Georgie,” said a woman at the bar, a mortician’s wife with a deep raspy voice. “Even the dead ain’t safe. Graveyard’s full of Chinese-made clothes wrapped around our bones, all them corpses is wearing Chinese-made shoes.”

Georgie refilled her beer from the tap as the door swung open letting in the bright afternoon light. Two men stepped in whom they had never seen before and when the door closed and darkness resumed they could see that they were Chinese men. Georgie looked to the mortician’s wife, his eyes wide, as if a ghost had just walked in. She watched as the men ordered beers in broken English. Georgie’s hands trembled so much that beer splashed onto the bar as he placed it in front of them. He returned to his spot and stood there beneath a neon sign, sweating, breathing heavily, watching the men from the corner of his eye. They talked loudly in a foreign language. When Georgie poured himself a shot of whiskey he dropped the bottle. He looked up quickly to see if the men noticed and he sighed in relief as they hadn’t.

Georgie drank his shot and lit a cigarette as the men walked out, leaving two empty glasses and a dollar tip. He let out a long sigh and wiped the sweat away from his face with a bar rag.

“That was a close one,” he said.

“Sure was,” said the mortician’s wife.


—From Welsh’s collection of 100 short stories, Hard Times Galore
[manuscript under consideration for publication]


SHJ Issue 7
Spring 2013

Patrick Vincent Welsh

was a Philadelphian, is a Chicagoan, and has never been west of Illinois. He is the author of Hard Times Galore, a collection of one hundred dark and humorous stories concerning the modern American condition. Selections from the collection have recently been published in, or are forthcoming from, The Madison Review, Harpur Palate, Euphony Journal, apt, Connotation, Busk, Danse Macabre, The Dirty Napkin, Cactus Press, Black Heart Magazine, Juked, and several other journals. A story was also nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury