Creative Non-Fiction Micros by Kevin Browne

Good Days

My friend Jasmine tells me she wants to get married. Her boyfriend is no saint, she admits, but at least he quit drinking and visiting prostitutes, and he’s better than the last one who beat and raped her when she was only eighteen.

Her parents, who are very traditional in these matters, as expected consult the primbon, the old numerology books that show the good and bad days for everything, to see whether this would be a good match. Unfortunately for Jasmine, the results are not propitious. Though she is sad she must abide and continue now in this limbo.


Today is Nyepi, a national holiday and a solemn day of silence for the Balinese. But I’m not in Bali, though perhaps it is somehow influencing the feeling I’m having that I’ve inhabited this exact space-time before, or at least for these ten minutes I am convinced I have. The scene is soporific, as if repeated on endless loop. I’m sitting on our front porch in Yogyakarta, our neighbor Mrs. S. from the back is sweeping out in front of the house, and Dani is burning trash. Mrs. B. is sitting in front of her house across the street as she usually does, taking in all the comings and goings of the neighborhood and keeping an eye on her children. I feel transfixed, wondering if I’m in the present or the past, or frozen in some Faulknerian circular time.


Every day I walk or ride my motorcycle through a community garbage dump. It’s a shortcut through the field, and it’s a pretty small dump. Pickers come every morning to claim some items. Somebody also plants a few crops here. I’m careful to look for rats as I go.

Night Visit

My friend Laila says she now believes in jin. She didn’t use to until she was visited by one in the night. The jin was polite at first, tapping lightly on Laila’s window when she was nearly asleep. When Laila ignored this she soon felt something sit on the side of her bed. When she opened her eyes she couldn’t see anything, but a few minutes later she felt something playfully tapping her in the back of the neck. She knows that jin can be notorious tricksters and isn’t thinking about collecting familiars. Laila says she wasn’t in the mood to be teased by a jin that night, yet she is curious why this particular jin chose to visit her. We talked about ways she could investigate this, what kind of jin it is and what it wants, but are still waiting for the jin to return.

Kevin Browne formerly lived in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and currently resides in Wisconsin. His writing has appeared in Book of Matches, Kelp Journal, otoliths, and other publications.

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