A Short Story For Saturday

This week’s short story marks our first foray into flash fiction.  From the opening paragraph of Ben Hoffman’s “So Much To Burn“:

My neighbor is burning his mail again. My neighbor is a postman so his mail is not the mail he receives but the mail he delivers, or the mail he should be delivering but instead is burning. We live in a duplex and I can smell the smoke, seeping through the walls. I bake a pie, which is a thing I do when the postman is burning his mail or when I miss Jane. I bake a pie but my apartment does not smell like pie. My apartment smells like burning envelopes and I am alone. I go next door. I bring the pie—in case you need a break, I tell the postman. He is thinner than last time and I am fatter. The postman says he has no time for breaks. He cannot burn his mail fast enough. Towers of mail are stacked on the counters, the coffee table, the mantle. Coupons are scattered across the floor. The fireplace crackles and churns. The postman sticks in hospital bills, report cards, appeals to alumni to give back. He says the investigators from the post office are closing in. I did not know they existed. I ask the postman if I can help. He says there is a reward for leads on the missing mail. I can turn him in if I need the cash. I do, but I won’t. I owe the postman too much. He was the one who let me know Jane was having an affair.

Continue reading here.  Hoffman’s chapbook of stories, Together, Apart, will be released in 2014. Previous SSFSs here.