My mythica short story, “Preschool War Games,” was just published in the March 2014 issue of Cicada Magazine.
A long time in the making, “Preschool War Games” started life as a denouement to a longer short story. But short stories don’t really tolerate denouements, so it got a life of its own, and after many, many edits the good folks at the Cricket Magazine Group picked it up, and so my valkyrie-in-training Siggi and her papa get to see the light of day.
Preschool War Games
I arrived in Helsinki on the red-eye from Islamabad and took a taxi to the preschool. The teacher, a young woman with pink hair and three studs in her nose, gave my fatigues and duffle bag a long look. “I’m Siggi’s father,” I said, in English.
She raised an eyebrow, also pierced. “Your daughter has an independent streak,” she said, eyeing the American flag on my shoulder with unconcealed disdain. The taxi driver had stared at me the same way.
“She gets it from her mother.”
“Siggi refuses to take her nap. Our janitor kindly plays games with her instead.”
The other children, conformists all, were indeed napping. Siggi sat in the back at a low table, playing a board game with a gray-bearded man in brown coveralls and a wool coat. “Hello, Papa,” she said, without looking up.