CPSC Micro-fiction #5

CPSC Notices 5/20/2010

Walmart Recalls General Electric® Coffee Makers Due to Fire Hazard - The coffee maker can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers. Walmart has received 83 reports of overheating, smoking, melting, burning and fire, including three reports of minor burn injuries to consumer’s hands, feet and torso. Reports of property damage include a significant kitchen fire and damage to countertops, cabinets and a wall.

Target Recalls Storage Trunks Due to Strangulation Hazard - The lid of the trunk can drop suddenly when released, posing a strangulation hazard to small children opening or reaching into the trunks. CPSC has received two reports of injuries that occurred when the storage trunks’ lids suddenly closed on children, including one report of an 18-month-old girl who reportedly suffered brain damage when the trunk’s lid came down on the back of her neck and pinned her throat against the rim of the trunk.

Micro-fiction 5/20/2010

He made the coffee. He always does. He's so attuned to the vibrations coming through the grinder that he can feel the precise moment when the beans whirring through the blade are the optimal size, when the particulate matter is in the exact concentration of fragment, grains, and dust to best percolate through the filter. Something like that.
He poured the water into the reservoir, pushed the button, black on stainless steel. Then we sat at the kitchen table and didn't look at each other. We looked at the wicker trunk, under the window, the rays of sunlight highlighting the dark gaps between the weave.
"I'm sorry," I finally said. He didn't say anything. The coffee pot clicked, and gurgled. He never says anything. This is my vibration.
"We never should have opened it. We knew, and we did it anyway."
He folded his hands on the table and sighed, but imperceptibly, so I wouldn't see.
"I'll get rid of the trunk. It's all we can do now. It'll be gone by the time you come home."
The coffee was finished. He stood up, and reached for the mugs.
"I never would have thought... inside there..." I started, but couldn't finish.
He handed me a cup. "Be careful. It's hot," he told me.
We both sat quietly, watching the steam rise in the morning sun.

(I'm resisting the urge to provide commentary on these, to explain my motivations for the fiction based on the CPSC notices. The urge is made more intense by the fact that often there are real deaths, injuries, and damage associated with the recalls. I feel I need to phrase the fiction as a response to this distruction, to ensure my literary action is adequate. But of course, this violates the principle of micro-fiction, skirting the "rules", as it were. Anyway, this "need to speak as action" dynamic was in my mind when I wrote this one, and perhaps that says it better than anything.)

For information about this series, please see the introductory post.

No comments: