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Man of His Word
She hopped in the car and kissed him on the cheek. “Did you do it?”
“Of course,” he said. “I said I would.” He slowly
pulled away from the
curb while she fiddled with her seatbelt.
He looked in the side-view mirror and eased into
traffic. “What do you
“I love you,” she said, rubbing his shoulder.
He told her how her mother wasn’t scared so much
“She said we
were made for each other.”
“And my father?” she asked, a tremble in her lower
He didn’t look at her and she felt the car
“He wrote me a check for twenty-thousand dollars,”
Future of Memories
The ceiling was very high and the exquisite marble floors stretched out
like a bank of clouds. Tall, narrow windows cast light across the room
and up the walls opposite. The predominate color was white. Whenever he
shifted his gaze, the brightness would blind him for a few seconds.
It was crowded for a Thursday morning, but that
may have been because it was a free admission day. People wandered
about in a state of mild confusion. This confused him because the walls
were blank. It looked like something Rothko would have done in a white
phase. People bumped into to each other as they moved around the room
staring at the walls.
The new exhibition was in A Hall. He studied the
map on the brochure a moment before he realized he was in A Hall. He
looked at the invitation again and wondered who had invited him. His
connections with art were minimal at best. The last work of art he had
completed had been an ashtray for his mother. When was that? Fifth
grade, he reckoned. She was dead now. Lung cancer.
It had been a long bus ride to the museum and he had to use the toilet.
There were no signs anywhere, but he saw several men standing in a line
at the far end of the hall and headed in that direction. He had to go.
Where does this go, he asked the man in front of him. Where does this
go, the man in front of him asked the man in front of him. And so on it
went. It was parrots all the way down. This is going nowhere, he
thought to himself, surprised at the little joke he had made.
There was a commotion at the front of the line.
It's the Playmate of the Year 1967, he heard one old man shout. This
was immediately contradicted by someone who claimed it was the woman to
whom he lost his virginity. Another man guffawed, how can you lose your
virginity? You make it sound like an accident. A scuffle broke out and
the line collapsed into a scrum. What were they looking at? A few men
wiped tears from their eyes. A man with a booming voice called them all
a bunch of liars, that it was the prostitute he had slept with in Tonga
during the millennium celebrations.
Intrigued, he muscled his way forward to have a
look. It was his mother.
Sides of Love
“You ever have a one-eyed woman wink at you?” he asked.
It had been years since I had seen Roger, and I'd
been certain I never wanted to see him again, but when he called and
said he was back in the city for just three days, I thought it would be
safe to take a chance. After all, he'd be gone in a few days, back to
his posting in Zambia.
“It's pretty weird,” he went on without waiting
for an answer. “I mean, during the wink itself she can't really see
you. Spooky,” he said, taking another gulp of his gin and tonic.
“How do you know she was winking at you?” I asked.
“She might have got something in her eye and was just blinking.”
“I thought about that,” he said, “and it was kind
of dusty in the market, but I'm pretty sure she was winking at me.”
He called the bartender over and ordered another
round of drinks, though mine was almost full.
“There weren't many other men around that morning.
Unless she was a lesbian or something, I'm pretty sure she was winking
We were silent for a moment. When you haven't seen
or heard from someone in a long time and you only have a short time
together, you tend to be careful about what conversations you start.
“Where was her eye?” I asked.
“What do you mean? Was she a cyclops or something?”
“No. Was it the left eye or the right eye?”
“Oh,” he said and tossed a handful of peanuts into
his mouth, some not making it past his bushy mustache and clattering on
“Was it love at first sight?”
“Isn't it always?” he laughed.
“So what side was her eye on?”
“Doesn't matter, does it, if it's love?”
The bartender arrived with the drinks and a new
bowl of peanuts.
“If it's love, wouldn't you remember what side
it's on?” I asked.
Roger gave me a long look while shoveling some more peanuts into his
mouth. I didn't turn away. Eventually he averted his gaze.
Picking up his drink and turning back to me, he said, “Let's drink a
“To what?” I muttered, picking up my new drink.
“To Carolyn,” he said.
We clinked glasses and swallowed deeply.
“How is she?” I asked.
“Fine. Fine. She says to say hello.” Roger rolled
an ice cube around his mouth and let it slip back into the glass.
“Remember that big mole she had on her ass? She finally had it removed.”
“Which cheek was it on?” I asked.
“Hell. I can't remember.”
“The left,” I said.
Lucky (USA – Ethiopia)
Bob Lucky lives in
has an MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso and currently
teaches at the International Community School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He is co-author of the chapbook
thing_ (bottle rockets press, 2011), and his work has appeared or is
forthcoming in various journals, including Shot Glass Journal, The Prose-Poem Project,
Emerald Bolts, Rattle.work,
Shamrock Haiku Journal and Modern Haiku.
front page image is copyright ©
by Tony Kitterick, 2012