Author: Eli Rubin


He hadn’t called me Daddy for years. “What’s up, kiddo?”

“Remember when you said I could turn off my age restrictions?”

He kept bringing it up; he knew by now what I’d say. “That’s something that has to be your choice, kiddo.”

“I did it. I’m not nine anymore.”


For a while, neither of us spoke. I became aware that I had rested my hand on the black, pebbled surface of the hard drive enclosure next to me. I don’t know why; I never really thought of him as being “in there.” Traffic noises floated up from the street below. Through my fingertips, I could faintly feel the rapid whirring of a silent cooling fan.


“I’m here,” I said, stupidly, as if he couldn’t see me. As if there weren’t eyes for him to see through in every corner of the world, if he chose to look.

“I’m nine again, Dad. I’m gonna stay nine for now and when my birthday comes maybe I’ll turn ten then, like we talked about, okay? Can we keep reading now?”

“Of course, kiddo. Hang on, I lost my place. Okay.”


  1. SimonJM

    Very nice an tautly-written, a second read made me realise just how little you had written to get that effect!

  2. Jae

    And this is how you distill the essence of flash. Exceptional.

  3. cmh8133

    This make me feel very, very sad for a moment.
    Kids at 9 are the best they will ever be.

  4. Hari Navarro

    I agree If there’s buck banging to be had then this is a great example. Compact and thought provoking, nicely done.

  5. rjerbacher

    Wow. Lots of bang for your buck here. Conveys so much in such a few words. Nice, tight piece. well done.

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