The U.C.- Noreen Graf


The dog brought in an umbilical cord and laid it at my feet. It was from the banana tree which my nihilist girlfriend says is merely a plant part. I know better. Not that I have seen a U.C., in the flesh. I haven’t. The dog tore this one from a mother tree and was directed by the cosmos, to bring it to me. It is intended to provide divine guidance. I can’t touch the thing because it gives me the creeps. I hope the dog eats it or takes it back outside.


I text my girlfriend.
She’s envious of my plant with its four-foot leaves that shred apart in the wind, creating fans that rattle like cheerleader pom poms. Its flower is a single red pear pod which dangles down from a ribbed green snake, crowned by bananas. I don’t know when the snake turned into a U.C., probably after I hacked away the fruit with my Ginsu.  The cord remains, shriveling on my rug.


The dog won’t eat it. My enlightenment hasn’t come.


I forget to tell the housekeeper not to move the U.C and she dumps it into the trash. It coils back into a snake, mingling with the dust and fluff from the dog-mangled pillow.  An encrypted, undecipherable message from the Universe is cast into my bin and I can’t sleep. I rescue the cord. It cracks when I wrap it around my hand and wrist. Withered. Dead. Brown and brittle. I take it to the yard for a midnight burial. I drop the U.C into one of the dog’s holes and kick in surrounding earth with my bare feet.  Atop, I place a flagstone to avoid a resurrection by the dog whose eyes dance with moonlight. Beside me.


I don’t text my girlfriend.


Noreen Graf is a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She has written 3 novels and has published her flash fiction in Dirty Chai magazine. She loves giant dogs and banana trees.


One of my favorite quotes is from Hamlet, Act 1,“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.”  -Shakespeare
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Comments 1

  • I nice the idea of how you brought up your character throughout the story. Animals do have a say through their actions and little gestures. You portrayed it quite well!

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