Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of
Contemporary Literature

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 10, Number 2
(Fall 2015)

Copyright © 2015
by Leah Browning, Editor.

All future rights to
material published
in the
Apple Valley
are retained by
the individual authors
and artists.
Fiction by Sue Hyon Bae

        There are fifteen minutes left when the PA system announces
an armed intruder drill.  Can we delay for five minutes while I double
check my answers, says the valedictorian.  Turn your papers face
down, says the statistics teacher, taping black construction paper
over the glass panel in the door.
        The students push their desks to the walls on either side of the
door and crouch under the desks.  The teacher turns off the lights and
stands in the doorway to check whether they are in immediate
shooting range.  You fail, I can see everybody, she says.  Now
someone has to get shot.  Who wants to volunteer?
        The valedictorian and salutatorian look at each other.  
Everyone avoids eye contact with the teacher.  Finally the
valedictorian’s best friend says, I can do it.  I’m only ranked twelfth.
        Okay, you’re going to die in the ambulance, says the teacher.  
She gives the twelfth a teddy bear and a bouquet of pink lilies.  My
favorite, says the twelfth.
        The valedictorian starts screaming.  It should have been you,
she says to the salutatorian, everyone knows your top school’s only
Yale, you don’t even want to be a doctor.  To the twelfth she wails,
I’ll dedicate my speech to you, we’ll talk about you at graduation so
much you’ll be practically top ten.
        There are two clinical rotation students in the hallway with a
stretcher.  Hi Nurse Ryan, says the twelfth.  This is a running joke,
because everyone knows he’s only a nursing assistant.
        Her mother parks illegally in the bus lane.  Should I cancel
your SAT tutoring session, she shouts to the twelfth.  It’s too late for
a refund, says the twelfth, sailing past on the stretcher.  She can see
a freshman sitting in the mouth of an ambulance, clipping on hair
extensions then pulling them off to simulate traumatic hair loss and
crying real tears: What if someone forgets to tell my teachers this is
an excused absence, she cries.

Fiction by Sue Hyon Bae

                                    Here is the treasure of treasures, the marvel
                                    of all marvels—a bulb like this blooms only
                                    once every hundred years in the palace of
                                    the emperor of Constantinople.
                                       —“The Tulip Merchant,” Aloysius Bertrand

        We have lunch at the table d’hôte restaurant in vogue.  Columns
of light stream through the glass ceiling.  Our server wears his hair
tucked up with a bone comb and keeps lunch menus in his apron
pocket.  He can do this because the menus only contain six words:
Celadon Set, Chantilly Set, Chintz Set.  We order two Celadons as it
is the prettiest pottery.
        The courses are served on thin celadon dishes, soft green organic
shapes with white detailing of willow and pine.
        First, a salad, the purple of crisp bougainvillea petals and the
deeper purple of grapes bursting over the jade green of celadon and
the deeper green of leaves.  Second, rice cakes, a cherry blossom petal
spread like a dissected starfish and pressed to the center.  Then shrimp
pillowed on rows of pink and yellow snapdragon.  Glass noodles with
shreds of yellow chrysanthemum.  Pork medallions garnished with
white Japanese honeysuckle curled into claws.
        For dessert we are both served a branch of ixora, the tiny red
flowers gathered bulbous at the end of the branch.  Our silverware has
been swept away.  We don’t know if we should pick up the branch and
munch on the flowers, or if we are meant to pluck the flowers one by
one.  Each is as small as my little fingernail.  We sip elderflower
cordial from thin cups with dimpled rims to mimic lotus in bloom while
we wait for a hint.  The ladies at the next table also get their desserts,
and then we know what to do: We gently grip the pistil with the tips of
our fingernails and pull.  We rest the tip on our tongues where a barely
visible drop of nectar blossoms.           


Sue Hyon Bae is an MFA candidate at Arizona State University and
International Editor for
Hayden’s Ferry Review.  Her work has
appeared in
Four Chambers Press, Minetta Review, Please Hold
, and elsewhere.

On “The Drill” and “The Flower Garden”:
These pieces were written in the spirit of experimentation for a Prose
Poetry and Flash Fiction class.  “The Flower Garden” was written
immediately after reading the inventor of prose poetry, Aloysius
Bertrand.  It’s also not as surreal as it seems—in South Korea, I was
once served azalea cakes as appetizer, and as a small child in
Malaysia, my friends and I used to surreptitiously eat ixora nectar off
the school hedges.  “The Drill” was inspired by Russell Edson and
armed intruder drills at my Texas high school.    

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