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Flash Fiction: Upon Discovering That Cows Can Swim by Santino Prinzi

Upon Discovering that Cows Can Swim

You’re on a boat on Lake Nicaragua. A tour. Your reflection in the water is murky, like a shadowy chartreuse twin staring up from beneath the surface. You want to touch her, your twin, but you don’t. You’re always refraining. That’s when you hear their breathing, and you’re not the only one. Others on the boat have spotted the cows grazing on floating foliage. You look up to see another cow swimming down the creek. She looks majestic, graceful, her horns sharp and glistening. You want to fashion a wreath from wildflowers and crown her. The captain conducting the tour says cows are his favourite animal and he rubs his stomach. You spy the stomach hanging from beneath his t-shirt, that reddish-pink of flesh peeping from polyester. There’s nothing friendly about this. The others laugh at his jokes while you contemplate veganism. The swimming cow rests with the others and grazes. You watch, knowing this is the most unusual thing you’ll see on this trip. When you have signal on your phone, you’ll google to check if cows can swim because you need to know if something this marvellous is real. Because you need to know that something so marvellous can be real.

Originally published in Jellyfish Review. Later republished in The Best Small Fictions 2019 (Sonder Press) and This Alone Could Save Us (Ad Hoc Fiction)

About the Author

Santino Prinzi is a Co-Director of National Flash Fiction Day in the UK and one of the founding organisers of the annual Flash Fiction Festival. His new full-length flash fiction collection This Alone Could Save Us is available from Ad Hoc Fiction. His flash fiction pamphlet There’s Something Macrocosmic About All of This is available from V. Press, and his mini flash collection, Dots and other flashes of perception, is available from The Nottingham Review Press. His work has been selected for the Best Small Fictions 2019 anthology and the Best Microfiction 2020 anthology, and he has received nominations for the Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, the BIFFY, and the Best Microfiction anthology. His stories have been published in SmokeLong Quarterly, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Jellyfish Review, 100-Word Story, Bath Flash Fiction Award anthologies, the Reflex Fiction and many more. To find out more follow him on Twitter (@tinoprinzi) or visit his website:

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