“THE LIL’ CLOUD FACTORY” by Pablo Piñero Stillmann


by Pablo Piñero Stillmann


OK, so they were right: it’s not financially viable. We put an ad in the local paper, but no one has any interest in purchasing our Franco-Austrian cloud machines. Abby writes a titan of industry reminding him that clouds have cool names like stratocumulus. The titan doesn’t even open the glittered envelope, which is how one achieves titanhood. We move in with Abby’s parents, promise it’ll only be until we, you know… The workers camp out in the front yard to demand back pay. Some have brought their hungry babies. “I lost a limb for your clouds!” says a guy in overalls holding up a rotting arm with a non-rotting arm. We smell of shampoo peeking behind the curtain crack. A couple of union guys climb the dogwood just like Abby’s high-school sweet used to do back in the day. “Um, this is trespassing,” I say after one smashes the window with his bare fist. They drag us down the stairs. Abby’s mom: “I was about to put out a spread. Nothing fancy, just—” Dad has a coughing fit. The workers take us to the dried-out farm where we’d dumped the machines. They crank a couple of ’em up & throw Abby in one, me in the other. Could’ve guessed she’d come out as a cumulonimbus, though, for obvious reasons, I sure wasn’t expecting to become an altostratus. We’re red clouds. Blood-red because of all the blood. Does it rain blood in the Bible?



Pablo Piñero Stillmann‘s novel, Temblador, was published in Mexico by Tierra Adentro. His short story collection, Our Brains and the Brains of Miniature Sharks, is coming out in Spring of 2020 (Moon City Press). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Summerset Review, Notre Dame Review The Penn Review