Samantha Steiner


Why they didn’t shake out their shoes, I don’t know. I was working the counter, watching this couple browse the magnets and keychains. When they left, I stood to straighten out the display carousels and there was all this sand on the floor. I didn’t want anyone to trip because legally, you know. I tried to get it with the broom and dustpan but it was too deep in the floorboards. Can’t imagine how someone walked around with that much sand on them. So I went to the bathroom and got the mini vac.


Some tastes awful and some tastes beautiful. She has me eat hair a lot. If the hair is long, it never goes down all the way. The ends poke out of my mouth. But the sand from the floorboards, I wasn’t expecting that, but I guess someone came in straight from the beach. It was kind of glittery in the light, but it went down like gravel, no, worse than gravel, gravel just bumps around, but this stuff, this scratched me from inside. She emptied me out into the toilet, slapping my side with the heel of her palm. It hurts, but it hurts good, like getting plugged into my charging station, there’s that zap but then I relax.


Deep in the ocean, I luminesced. Then the whale devoured me and I became a nutrient-rich topsoil. A few centuries later I slid up to the sunlight. Then a shoe devoured me and I became a nutrient-rich mound on the floorboards of a gift shop. Then the small land whale devoured me and I became a nutrient-rich dusting on the water of a toilet bowl. Now it’s back to the ocean.

Samantha Steiner has received fellowships from the Fulbright Program and the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. Her work appears in Best Microfiction 2021 by Pelekinesis Press and in the print anthology Coffin Bell 2. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Steiner_Reads.

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