Color Coded for Your Protection and Well-Being by Chris Smith

It happened at the airport in his birth city, amidst the monotone announcer informing the businessmen and women and pilots and tourists that the danger level had been upgraded to “orange.” Emil wondered what orange even meant, how it was any more threatening than chartreuse or turquoise or cerulean. All he could even think of was the fruit–since when was citrus a danger?

Yet down they came, round as the bellies of pregnant mothers, falling from the sky and exploding on impact. They bursted into a stain of juice and flesh. They pummeled the airport’s roof, drumming an offbeat tattoo. They bombed cars, smearing across windshields–often cracking and breaking the glass–causing traffic jams and car crashes, where the terrified drivers leaned forward to gaze up through their spiderwebed windows and think three letters, “W” and “T” and “F.” They filled the air with their heady-sweet scent. They fell onto animals, driving out distressed moos, yelps, and bunny screams. They hit the pedestrians; they broke noses; they bruised cheeks and thighs; they broke children and teacup chihuahuas, the geriatrics on their walks with their geriatric pets. It all happened in the span of a half hour, one of those fluke tropical storms that stop and start faster than a heartbeat.

Through the airport’s oversized panes of glass, Emil stared at the runway planes, service vehicles, and staff. Thick sludge covered everything, pulp and rind gleaming in the noonday light like jellied sunshine. And he thought how warm and safe it must have been, hovering and sleeping and dreaming there in his mother’s womb.

Chris Smith now lives in Savannah, GA, after having spent the last year nomading it across the country from coast to coast. For whatever reason, journals and zines that begin with the letter “P” seem to like his writing the most. He’s not going to argue with this. He can be found inhabiting cyber space with his coauthor, Holly Cagney, with their blog here ( and their twitter here (