I may not want Meredith Alling to cook dinner for me anytime soon, but she can write me a story any day.
In “Ancient Ham,” a delectable morsel of flash fiction, Alling tells the story of a magic ham with predictive powers. “Once a year,” we’re told, “the Ancient Ham crawls out of the sewer to sit on a curb and answer questions.”
People flock to the Ancient Ham to ask it yes or no questions. How, you might ask, does a ham answer such questions? Well, one simply pokes the Ancient Ham with sewing needles laden with offerings, and then the Ancient Ham bobs left for no, right for yes.
“Ancient Ham” is especially brilliant in the way the story’s heart emerges in the last few lines. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but just know that it has me bobbing to the right, just like the Ancient Ham.
Yes, you should read this story; yes, this writer is fab; yes, I am salivating over the prospect of Alling’s forthcoming debut collection.