10 – Missing Iguana

It was an all-points bulletin: MISSING IGUANA! Jake likes to roam, be on the lookout. Don’t chase! I was a little busy when I first saw the news; parking my car outside the hotel was proving more difficult than it should and the sun was in my eyes. Maybe that’s why I had a hard timing believing them when I saw the iguana on the hotel lawn, sitting atop a purple octopus. I didn’t think to ask how the octopus was managing out-of-water, I was actually deep in thought, wondering: what inspires an iguana to roam in the first place?

100-word prose poem ©2019, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month #10 and NaPoWriMo poem. BONUS video footage. #NaPoWriMo. For more poetry by Jen Payne, purchase a copy of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind! BUY THE BOOK TODAY!

Donut Girl


In Honor of National Doughnut Day

For sure there is a story to tell, of late night clichés and coffee-stained romances there behind the counter of the midnight doughnut shop. She had written them in situ, on journal pages stained with raspberry-pink jelly: the dashing pirate, the rookie cop, the old war vet with a “crack in his cookie jar.” No doubt she learned more there than in any class at the university—or any day since. But could she find them again? Stir them up, let them proof and rise into something more than naïve schoolgirl impressions of the world and her life not yet begun?

100-Word Story, ©2015 Jen Payne
IMAGE: Coffee and Donut, Ralph Goings



She wonders if he remembers the night he found that cat. Left to fend for itself in the winter woods, it died by the trail — as if it waited for someone to come back. Collar with its name, no address or phone. Alone.

He carried it to the vet, along with his warped sense of humor. “Were you attached to it?” she mocked. “Yes, and then I abandoned it,” he replied — each of them poking fun at the intimate confessions they’d shared. Achilles heels, laid bare.

Ironic, how easily they laughed at the inevitable.

In his absence now, she remembers…poor discarded “Love.”

100-Word Fiction, from the archives, ©2008, Jen Payne
IMAGE: Winter Forest, Konstantin Yuon

Canal Street Epiphany

Canal Street

Maddy and I were shopping on Canal Street in New York City. My polite “No thank you” replies to the onslaught of “Tiffany! Tiffany! You buy?” catcalls clearly indicated my novicity.

Thirteen blocks of brand-name idolatry was her pilgrimage, but I didn’t see any religious icons in the dimly lit backroom we entered solemnly.

Behind faux red velvet curtains, a thousand ordinary pocketbooks lined the walls; two Asian women exchanged furtive glances and slipped our twenties into small black pouches.

Later, in the car, I looked at my purchase ambivalently.

“Is that a Coach bag?” Maddy gasped. “OH MY GOD!”

• • •

100-word fiction, ©2011 by Jen Payne

1905, Mulberry Street, looking South toward Canal Street; found on Straats’ Flicker photostream here.