The delivery guy from Arturo’s Italian Restaurant had a sixth finger. It waved about like a little pink antenna. Horace always gave him a big tip and tried not to stare at it. They would link eyes and smile at each other. There was a tacit agreement not to stare at the unusual little digit —and to tip big…and move on. Every time that Horace ordered from Arturo’s he forgot about the delivery guy. The chicken parmesan was so outstanding that the gross-out factor at the door was but a minor inconvenience.
Melanie’s boyfriend Ray began drinking as soon as he moved in. At first it was just a few after work. Then it was four, maybe six. She liked to cook, but he always wanted to go out. She was tired of every restaurant within 10 miles, but whatever, he paid. He always made a big deal of paying. Pulled out his worn brown wallet, the one he said was “top of the line.” He always said that. His things were “professional grade” and “top of the line.” He “spared no expense.”
The parking lot was filling up around me, their headlights bouncing off my rear-view mirror. I sat gobbling my maple-dip donut and watching one old person after another make their way towards the lighted pathway. Just ahead of me, a tiny couple launched themselves out of an ancient white Cadillac, linked arms, and rocked away in unison, picking their way around the frozen puddles. The clock on the dashboard said 7:37; I couldn’t delay it any longer. All I had to do was get through the wake tonight and the funeral tomorrow and I could be gone by lunch. Short and sweet. Hello Gerald. Good-bye Roberta. And no time to talk about Paul.
I wanted to laugh. I had no idea why. There was no apparent reason, but I had an inordinate desire to laugh.
It had been a strange day.
Taking one last drag, Joe flicked the butt between his fingers out into the yard. He weaseled out his keys, unlocked the front door, and stepped inside his house. The old man was waiting for Joe the moment he walked into the kitchen.
Every girl loves a showman reckoned Big Micky Taverne.
Stand behind their car as the waltzer takes a group of them up and down. Watch as they huddle up, heads rested on shoulders, screaming in unison. One if not all will be giving you the glad eye, willing you on. Come on they’re saying, give us a spin. So, you do and they scream so loud it would burst your eardrums if they weren’t already bust from the music.
Note: There is some Urdu used in this piece. Translation is provided at the end of the prose.
My toes sank into the warm sand. I wiggled them in deeper, walking toward the fierce body of water ahead. The sand became cold and wet. Wind blew against my face; echoes of the past whispering in my ears. I brushed my hair aside and started to move towards the ultramarine waves. My family called to me as I neared the sea. Shouts of ‘what are you doing,’ ‘come back,’ ‘it’s too dangerous’ were heard spreading in the wind, but I kept going. Waves tickled my feet as I wandered deeper and deeper. The sand beneath my feet vanished and I was paddling. The sea enveloped me. Waves struck me violently. I was deep enough. I stopped paddling.