The Wrong Name to Say

To celebrate my recent failure to be published, here’s a short story I wrote about circles. Enjoy, if you want. Nobody’s making you.

So it begins, with the soft sound of water on the handrail, two ante meridiem on a Sunday morning. How they had arrived at such a tragic destination is unknown. Things had gone fine up until then—things being mainly motions, and things going well. With their heads gently pushed downwards by the hard pull of gravity, they stared at each other with their lover’s eyes. Gasping for breath, she wondered aloud:

“How did we get here?”

He smirked and toyed with the hem of her garb. It was moist from the heavy fog lolling over them. He tried to answer but could not think of the words. He was hazy from the night’s strenuous activities and when he started he veered off in strange new directions. His feet moved faster than his mouth, and he was spewing inelegant syllables. Before he knew she’d hit him, he had said that one thing you should never say to a woman. Not that dress makes you look fat, or your sister is attractive; what he had said was much worse. Frankly, only one thing could be done to him.

She spat in his face, stalking off as her socks collected the moisture from the drooping cloud. Not that his face needed watering or iodization in the least. He knew what he had done wrong, and his punishment was the silent sound of water on the handrail, two ante meridiem on a Sunday morning.

~~La Stranezza

P.S. Bonus points for anyone who can discern what he said, who isn’t Gabi, because Gabi already knows.


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