"One Gum Bubble" is in Short Circuit #03, Short Édition's quarterly review. Rolli is the author of two children’s books: the story collection Dr. Franklin’s Staticy Cat and the novel Kabungo. His website is rollistuff.com.

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All Julie did was toss a piece of bubble gum into her mouth, one day. Honey plum-plum flavor. Her favorite. And then...


That's it.

It may not sound like much. But sometimes, one gum bubble is all it takes.

Up Julie went, into the sky, her lips stuck to the bubble. It was like a sticky, pink hot air balloon. That smelled like honey.

One gum bubble, one gum bubble...

Far below, the people looked like tiny breath mints. Julie waved to them. They didn't wave back—because she'd already vanished!

The bubble moved higher and higher, now. Faster. And faster. Like a rocket. That smelled like plums.

One gum bubble, one gum bubble...

Soon, Julie was as high as the clouds. She floated right through them.

"Clouds," thought Julie, "taste exactly like cream soda. Only not as sweet."

Flying above the clouds were the most beautiful birds she'd ever seen. They were bright pink, with very long necks, and hardly any feathers. They may not sound beautiful. But they were beautiful.

The birds circled Julie, staring at the bubble. Did they think it was another bird?

Julie crossed her fingers.

The pink birds opened their pointy beaks...


And flew off.

"Phewf," thought Julie.

One gum bubble, one gum bubble...

Julie was so high up, now, that she'd left the Earth completely. She was in space. She was still able to breathe—the air in the bubble.

The moon was out. In space, it's always out. It was a crescent moon, with two big horns, like a goat.

Julie and the bubble moved closer.

And closer.

Too close.

Because the bubble touched one of the horns...

And popped.

And down Julie went.

Down through space.

Down through the sky.

Past the pink birds (they paid no attention to her).

Through the clouds (they tasted like root beer, this time).

Down and down, faster and faster and faster, until...

Back on earth, in the middle of a park, a wedding was taking place. There was a bride. And a groom. And a cake.

The cake was chocolate, three stories high, with pink frosting.

The bride and groom were about to kiss, when Julie landed right on top of the cake.


It ruined the wedding. But it saved Julie.

"Phewf," she sighed, stretching out in the sweet mess.

Because it had been quite a day.

It was only one gum bubble, true. But sometimes, one gum bubble is all it takes.

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