Shirley Temple

I sat at the bar, my feet swinging from a stool. Jacksonville, 1972. The adults crowded into a circular booth in the corner. Men pinched women. Women squirmed in squirmy dresses. I smelled the chlorine on my hands as I listened to the cackles of laughter. My father said I
could have as many Shirley Temples as I wanted, but I drank slowly, counting to fifty before taking a single bird-like sip. The cherry bobbed slowly lower in the glass, almost dissolving like candy. I wouldn’t eat it until it rested on the bottom, though. It’s important to have rules.

Grant Faulkner is the executive director of National Novel Writing Month and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. His stories and essays have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Poets & Writers, and The Southwest Review. He’s recently published a collection of one hundred 100-word stories, Fissures.