Anniston, Alabama

Shoshauna Shy

Square-cropped photo with a white border and rounded corners. Partial view of a U.S. five-dollar bill at a diagonal on a wood surface. The portrait of Abraham Lincoln is in the bottom left corner of the photo. "S OF AMERICA" is visible on the top edge and "LLARS" at the bottom edge of the bill, as well as 5s in the right-side corners. To the right of the image of Lincoln is a red seal over the word FIVE. Above this is a serial number in red; below this is a signature (C. Douglas Dillon) and "SERIES 1963."

Photo Credit: J. Money/Flickr (CC-by)


Elsie’s father bragged at breakfast how he had special radar, could tell when anybody was lying to him. Turning ten years old on Tuesday, Elsie decided to test that out. While he was mowing the lawn, Elsie removed a five-dollar bill from his wallet lying on the nightstand, and slipped it into her sock against her shin. She had overheard her mother say on the phone just yesterday that they were finally rich enough to jet off to California. Elsie figured, since that was the case, her dirty deed would go unnoticed.

She decided to ask Melvina, the household’s beloved cook and housekeeper, to take her uptown on the bus so Elsie could buy them both ice cream cones at Lickety Split, and even Hershey bars for later. She’d say she had “birthday money” to spend. She pictured the woman’s face lighting up with pleasure.

Elsie did not picture Melvina in the front yard crying while her father stood on the verandah shouting at the top of his lungs, Melvina pleading he believe her, pleading he let her stay.


Author of five collections of poetry, Shoshauna Shy’s flash fiction has recently appeared in the public arena courtesy of 50-Word Stories, Blink Ink, Free Flash Fiction, and Nixes Mate Review.  She was also one of the seven finalists for the 2021 Fish Flash Fiction Prize, will be included in the Bath Flash Fiction Award anthology in 2022, and earned a Notable Story distinction in Brilliant Flash Fiction’s 2022 contest.