HEART • by Kyle McCarty

His heart was not where he left it.

He checked under the futon but only found dust. He swept away the dust so the sun reflected in the floor but he still couldn’t find it.

He looked in the refrigerator. There was so much food inside that he couldn’t see all the way to the back. So he ate the food and looked. It wasn’t there either.

Time was slipping away and soon he had to go to work. He already knew his heart wasn’t there but he looked under a promotion just to be sure.

Maybe it was in another town. He looked at a map and tried to hunt it down. He’d never been to any of the places he thought his heart might be.

He tried Googling it but there were no hits.

Finally he picked up a few words and started making himself a new one.

Kyle McCarty lives, works and writes in Springfield, IL. He has a microblog at brvty.net that is updated Tuesday through Thursday at midnight. He also likes music and a bunch of other stuff.

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Every Day Fiction

  • I’m afraid this piece is totally beyond me, even after the second read.

  • Elle Marie Gray

    I really liked this. Such a succinct way of expressing the fantasy that if writers could just write, and do nothing else, our hearts would always be right where we left them–in the words that we pen.

  • ajcap

    I kind of get this, I think. I can always tell when my heart isn’t in my writing. But instead of looking for it I find if I ignore it, and pretend I don’t notice it is gone, it comes back on its own.

  • I don’t think it’s about writing. I think it’s just about losing one’s heart and trying to find it again. We give our hearts so easily sometimes, but getting it back–well, that’s where love gets really messy.

  • Nina

    Perfect. *****

  • Dee Streiner

    Very enjoyable. I was chuckling from the start.

  • A metaphorical tale without enough information (for me) to make it understandable. We know the MC left his heart in a specific place — because he looked for it there and didn’t find it — however, we don’t know where that place was. If we did, then what followed would perhaps make more sense. I seriously doubt if this is about “writing” though, even if the last line (picking up words) sort of suggests that. Only the author can tell us for sure.

    I’d like to like this “story”, but I’m with Paul (#1) on this one. Two stars for making me wonder..

  • JenM

    At first I thought that this was just a surreal peice ment to make you laugh and I loved it. Then I read the last line and it hit me. This was perfectly done. Five stars.

  • I love this surreal piece, and I don’t think it’s about writing at all.

    This may be corny, but: 5 hearts

  • Eli Katz

    Very imaginative. Very enjoyable. I love pieces that are so short, so economical, and yet so powerful. Excellent!

  • A good story should–not confuse, mind you–but make you wonder. I don’t think the narrator knows where he left his heart; otherwise, wouldn’t he be able to find it? Seemed obvious to me.

  • Rob

    Clearly written, but I’m going to have to agree with Paul & Jim. Not enough info to put the pieces together.

  • Thank you for the kind words and feedback. I prefer to leave the meaning of the story in the readers’ hands.

  • Rose Gardener

    I think you have a gem of an idea here, but personally I would like to see it expanded into a full story with a memorable character I could pin the emotions to. I think it could be so, SO much more than this snippet conveys.

  • It seems to me the protaganist had heard of the word heart and thought “If it’s anything good I know I have it.” So he started to look for it. Not finding it, he set out to create it all by himself and his newly found picked up words. I hope he manages to do it this time because it seems like a worthwhile endeavor.

  • I like that last interpretation. Wonderful insight!

  • Simone


    I feel like I’m standing in the crowd who watched the Emperor strut his new clothes.

    Unfortunately, this reader’s hands are empty – some will say “So is her head” but that’s a different story entirely.

  • Andrew Waters

    If I read this somewhere other than Everyday Fiction, I would call it a poem. The writing was great. Figurative language is usually kind of lyrical and disorienting and this one definitely had those qualities for me.

  • fishlovesca

    I’ve read your stuff on your blog, Kyle, some very good stories there. Especially like the one about Pearl, excellent, really drew me in. Wish you had submitted that one and hope you will submit it somewhere, it deserves to be published and widely read.

    This story didn’t quite work for me. I was never quite sure what you were trying to set up for the reader. And then I read your note that you were leaving the interpretation of the story in the reader’s hands — that’s always a tipoff to me that the writer either isn’t sure about what the story is doing, or doesn’t want to share, in this case I think the former as your other stories indicate an open style of writing.

    Look forward to reading more from you.

  • a metaphor that is not totally linked up and nailed down in its associations.
    More like a poem.

  • Richard

    People sometimes loose their heart while going through the every day grind of life. Once it becomes obvious that it’s missing, it is searched for in our possessions and our careers. Then it is discovered that our heart is not what we do, where we live, or what we physically possess, but what we nurture inside ourselves.
    Thank you, Kyle.

  • This was cute. I have sought my heart in the refrigerator for years and that resonated with me.

    The impersonal “he” didn’t work for me; I needed this to be a person since this doesn’t end in an Everyman-type truth and I was hoping for one.

  • Thank you again for all the comments, compliments and critiques. This is the first time anything I’ve written has gotten beyond my inner circle of friends. It means a lot to me that it generated this many comments. And it is because of these comments that I don’t want to reveal the “real” meaning of the story. By this point, it’s just my take on it. I want the reader to have theirs.

  • A nice statement on the power of writing; I feel I know and have experienced the same sensations as the main character, and the author delivers it in just right amount of words to keep from coming across as a “joke.”

  • A great piece of flash, just my cup of tea! ***** Thank you.

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  • Frank Grigonis

    Pieces like this straddle the fence between flash fiction and prose poetry–anyway,I think it’s just right as is.

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