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Flash Fiction: Kafka's Lost Letter

Mark is a former therapist who turned writer when he moved to California. He writes poetry and stories with a satirical twist.

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Kafka Looking for the Letter

"Where did I put it?" Kafka asked himself as he searched every inch of his flat.

"Have you seen a letter," he asked his housekeeper. "The letter is private, and I don't want anyone to see it."

"Letter?" the housekeeper responded. "I have not seen your letter. Did you check the trash?"

"Trash! Yes, I'll look!"

Kafka rooted through the trash cans, but all he found were crumpled notes for his new book, "The Castle," and those silly doodles he didn't like.

That night, Kafka couldn't sleep. And when he did, he dreamt about his father reading the letter. In the dream, he saw his father take one of his books with the letter inside it. He saw his father bang his hand on the table and then rip up the letter. In it, Franz was critical of his father's parenting style and religious beliefs. He felt that his father's rules and expectations imprisoned him. It was worse for his sister. His father had no respect or sympathy for her. He said she was lazy and a miscreant.

Franz woke up and feared his dad would never talk to him again if he read the letter-- so Franz decided he must get it back.

Kafka Sneaks into His Father's House

Kafka knew it wasn't a good idea to break into his father's house in the middle of the night, but he had to destroy the letter. He didn't want to startle his parents from sleep and have his father think there was an intruder. So, Franz crept like a cat burglar to the desk where his father kept his books.

He tried opening the drawer, but his father had locked it. Then, Franz remembered that his father kept a spare in the pantry, near the pickled tomatoes, in a small compartment on the top shelf.

Franz looked high and low, but there was no key. So finally, he got a knife from the kitchen and tried to jimmy open the drawer. It was a stubborn piece of furniture, but with a forceful pull, it opened, sending the drawer and its contents flying across the room.

Kafka leafed through all his letters and books. He noticed his books were unopened. He gave his father the novels months ago, and he still hadn't read them.

"You write trivial hogwash," his father once said. "Nonsense. How do they publish such crap."

Kafka's Father Awakens to a Burglar

The senior Kafka was upstairs, sleeping soundly with his wife, when he heard a loud thump downstairs. But, of course, he was unaware that his son had been trying to pry open the desk drawer. Hermann assumed someone was robbing his home and perhaps breaking into his safe. He would not tolerate that. So he grabbed his Schonberger pistol, made sure it had bullets, and tip-toed down the steps.

In the dark, he saw a shadowy figure at his desk, looking at his private papers. There were a lot of essential documents there, and if lost or stolen, they would cause Mr. Kafka much distress.

He crept toward the man, and when Mr. Kafka was at close range, he saw the man holding a knife. He then shot whoever it was and watched the robber collapse on the floor. He paused for a minute to ensure the man was dead, and when there was no movement, he stepped closer.

Mrs. Kafka, wearing her robe and slippers, came downstairs with a lit candle.

"Are you Okay, Hermann?"

"Yes, I'm fine. Please, Julie. Shine the candle on the robber."

Mrs. Kafka put the light up to the intruder's face. It was not a person but a thing. After further inspection, they determined it to be a giant bug. It had black eyes and two antennas, and Mrs. Kafka counted six legs!

"Oh, my God!" and she let out a gasp."It's horrifying!"

"Look, the thing is holding a letter," said Hermann. And Hermann took it out of the monster's grasp. "I'll read it later. But first, let's get rid of this thing. I don't want it stinking up the house."

"Shall we call the police?"

"No, they'll think we're crazy. We'll put it outside and let the city officials determine what to do with it."

They put on gloves, carried the big bug to the edge of the street, and dropped it in the gutter.

Hermann turned to Julie and said, "I hope there's no more where that came from."

Herman went into the house and read the letter.

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