The Rhino is Off the Wall


I stand in my little brother’s dorm room, visiting. It’s been almost a decade since I’ve sat in one of my own. He is working on some school project or another. I am cooking dinner.

My brother’s phone buzzes. He looks at it then yells, “Yeah, come in!”

The door opens and some late teen in a tank top walks in.

“What kicks?”

“No dibs,” my brother says, not looking up from his computer.

His friend sits across. He nods to me.

“Who’s up?” he says, pointing my way.

“Brother,” my brother tells him.

“Sup Bro,” Tank-top says, then adds “what kicks?”

I frown. “A horse, if you stand behind it,” I decide.

Tank-top laughs. “Dope,” he says, then adds, pensively, “dope.”

“So, how was your get-out?” My brother asks.

“Dope A-F,” Tank-top says, taking a selfie.

My brother’s phone buzzes. “Nice snap,” he says.

Tank-top doesn’t respond. He is taking another selfie, this time with his tongue out. My brother’s phone buzzes again.

“Dope,” he says.

“So, where’d you get your pilot’s license, bro?”

The room is silent. I put water on to boil.

“He’s talking to you,” My brother says. I look at tank-top, his fingers blurring over the screen of his phone.


“I say,” Tank-top says, “where’d you, like, get your pilot’s license?”

I frown at his down-turned face.

“I’m not a pilot.”

“Nah, like, what’s your thing bro? Your bread and butter.”

I look to my brother. He shrugs. The water boils.

“My job!” I realize. “Oh, just doing a bit of construction.”

“On fleek, bro. So, anything crack while I was gone?” Tank-top asks my brother, I assume.

My brother shrugs. “The rhino fell off the wall.”

I stare into the boiling water. The rhino fell off the wall, I think. I think it over and over.

“Aw, damn,” Tank-top says. “You put it back up?” he adds.

My brother shakes his head. I try to think about what my brother has been up to lately. His girlfriend broke up with him. Maybe girls are rhinos now, I wonder. Or, no, a school project!

“What the hell?” I whisper to the boiling water.

“Should we put it back up then?” Tank-top asks.

My brother nods. He reaches under his bed and pulls out a silver rhino head. Tank-top takes it, along with a tack. He puts the rhino back up on the wall. He pulls out his phone and snaps a picture.

My brother’s phone buzzes.

“Dope snap.”

Tank-top nods, full of pride. “Dope A-F,” he tells the rhino on the wall.

I sigh, adding pasta to the water.


  1. When my sister and I were young, we had an imaginary rhino (named Rhino) that lived in my mother’s hatbox in the closet in my brother’s bedroom. He chased us every morning into the kitchen trying to get our fuzzy slippers (pink and green.) Our Rhino did not fall off a wall, but he did provide the title of my book – The Book of Rhino. I LOVE rhinos! I also love Rhinos!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. […] I’m considering the creation of a flash fiction series for Word Salad Spinner, where I write a 250 word story then expound on how the story can teach you about writing. With Flash 365, I have a good model for such a story. The author captures the feeling of not connecting with people only a few years younger than you. It’s easygoing, but also engaging. A perfect model for me, perhaps? […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] The Rhino is off the Wall – I have to apologize to my brother’s friends here. None of them were nearly as annoying as the main character who comes into the dorm room. I greatly exaggerated the slang (most of it is not real slang, I don’t think.) I stayed with my little brother for a bit last summer and I honestly couldn’t understand what him and his friends said sometimes. And there was actually a silver rhino head that fell off the wall. It is actually more embarrassing for me because I knew the rhino head had fallen off the wall but I’d completely forgotten and I was sitting there so confused for an embarrassing amount of time. […]


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