In the town of Apogia, nestled near the bottom of a volcanic crater, people eat one another’s noses on special occasions, like weddings, the vernal equinox, and the occasional Sunday brunch. The noses grow back, but because it takes about a week before they look normal, sharing your nose with someone is a special gesture. The dipping sauce is whipped up from a local fruit that has the flavor of mussels. They call it ambrosia. The Apogians call no one by name, but a woman we can call Desiree, for she is very much desired, has never been seen without her nose. She has a peculiar character, though, a little too enthralled with the sky and ash, both abundant, nearby, and completely mundane. The town chief can’t decide whether to ask her to marry his son or have her killed. “Might as well flip a coin,” he thinks. He searches his pocket.

© Thad Fowler. All rights reserved.

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