He scratched my back from neck to tailbone. Curling, looping, like handwriting. I was his paper. It made me shiver. Out his window, I glimpsed a bloated moon. He had me lie on a towel that felt rough, like a string of small arguments. We didn't say much. Earlier, he'd frowned, lifting his eyes from his phone. Asked if he knew me. I said you don't and you won't. That was in the coffee place, in the strip mall, near my work. A whole vocabulary ago. That was in the morning.
The place in Keystone was a dump. They had a gift shop on the first floor. I wanted a souvenir.
I twirled a rack holding rabbit's foot keychains.
Disgusting, you said.
Cruel, I said.
The shopkeeper said, Fake.
But I could feel the reedy bones under its fur.
I tried on butterfly necklaces in gold, blue, and green.
Gaudy, you said.
Folksy, I said.
The shopkeeper said, 50% off.
But I didn't see any price tags.
We climbed some rickety stairs to a room filled with electric stars and moons, beanbag chairs and flutes. A large bear carved from a tree. You could get pot there. They had brownies and a special oil.
We'll take two of everything, you said.
I want the bear, I said.
The shopkeeper said, Not for sale.
But I knew exactly where I wanted to put it.
's stories have been published or are forthcoming in The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers
(Black Lawrence Press
, 2015), Guernica, Indiana Review, Denver Quarterly, Quick Fiction
and elsewhere. She is the author of three collections of short fiction: a chapbook of flash fiction in the chapbook collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness
(Rose Metal Press
, 2008), Wild Life
, 2011) and Together We Can Bury It
, a second printing of which is available now from The Lit Pub
. She has recently joined the faculty of the forthcoming Mile-High MFA at Regis University in Denver where she will be teaching flash fiction.