Janey Smith

Vignettes: Short Fictions on My Life as a Cheerleader

(for Erica Eller)

1. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
I stood in the parking lot under that tree, waited for the bus, saw all
these people not only in doorways, listened to Styx. There was this
bird. It said, “Tweet, tweet.” I held the bird in my hand. The bird
looked small, like you. But, you were nowhere, though. So, I took the
subway. There was a man on the speaker said something, beepbeep
signals. The bird got scared, bumped into a window, fluttered its
wings, got caught for a second in the door. I said, “Oh, shit.” The bird
didn’t know what to do, I think. The train stopped, the door opened. It
flew. It flew and it flew. I got up real fast to go find it, bumped into
something, found you.

2. What She Said
I walked to the top of the stairs, stopped in front of the locked door,
knocked and listened for your footsteps. You knocked back. I could
hear your voice, kind of, thought you said, “Help.” I ran down stairs to
find hammer to break door down, find you. When I came back, I got
lost. The stairs were all messed up. The door which was there was
thirty feet up in the air, in a tree. You kept knocking, though. I looked
at the sky, saw bits of my pom pom, I think. I started to believe
strange things. Started to believe that maybe my pom pom took you
away. I played with a loose thread on my skirt, the one you liked. I am
afraid of what might happen if I keep trying to stand on Marsha’s

3. Last I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
Light shone through branches. Then, my pom pom’s shadow,
blended with branches, swooped into sky. My pom pom traveled
super fast, made me think about life, if I still had my bus pass. I put
my arms out with longing eyes, watched my pom pom disappear. It
came back, flew away again. I was happy to watch it do that. I kept
my arms out. We would soon share the darkness, I thought.

4. Panic
The baby birds lifted their little wings, flapped wildly like moths stuck
on my cell phone light. I tried to call Marsha. The baby birds swooped
all around me, made me feel light-headed, like a million spinning
halos on my hair. I stood there, waited for the bus. The woman next
to me stood there, waited for the bus. The baby birds stood there on
the bus stop hutch, singing happy songs. Cars passed. The cars
made the woman’s hem-line quiver. I studied her purse, carefully,
noticed it still contained my one pom pom that, I knew, she took from
me. I stepped towards her, grabbed the purse like a crazy woman,
ran away super fast, bits of pom pom floating in air. I went into an
alleyway, sat near a gated door, my pom pom slightly worn, but still
warm, still warm.

5. I Know It’s Over
Sometimes I am upside down. When sun moves through Marsha’s
hair at noon and I watch it, lying beneath her, doing my stretches, I
am upside down. When a fly lands on the wall in the gym, and I’m
alone listening to band practice, I am upside down. For me, a storm
on the sun is a fly on the wall. It moves a little, I believe, makes
shadows here on Earth, where I lose things, like a single, solitary
pom pom—alone and I am upside down.

Janey Smith lives in San Francisco, California. Her work has appeared, or will appear, on Nothing To Say, PANK 5, HAHA Clever!, Big Other, Artifice Issue 3, and Stymie Magazine.


  1. Nice vignette titles. Janey has good taste.

    Tweet tweet. Beer me.

  2. I am so glad to see Janey getting so much attention. I ran into her at a bar one night recently. After I could no longer smoothly hold the conversation, or my bar stool, she said to me, "Honesty is three tonics gin past the point you should have left the bar." It stuck with me and only the next day did I realize it was a perfect haiku. Cannot wait to see what Janey gets up to next!

  3. Janey Smith rubbed me behind the bleachers. I have the scabs to prove it.

  4. janey smith is a warm pom pom. these vignettes make me upside down too. dear janey, do you want to go underwater basket weaving with me? upside down?

  5. holy shit! i just masturbated like 3 times reading these!