2 Short Fictions by Salvatore Difalco
THESE ARE THE NERVES I FEEL
The sky was the colour of burnt pumpkin. A smell of melted candles permeated the air. We made our way through the park holding hands. The leaves were changing. I liked her hand, large and warm.
“You have no reason to complain,” she said.
“I was merely noting how the damp hurts my knee.”
“That was years ago.”
“A botched operation.”
“That’s what you say.”
Pretending to be miffed, she pitched my hand. It plunged into the crisp autumn air like a piglet in a tub of cold water.
“Must you make those faces?”
“Why are you so heavy?”
“My period. I missed it.”
“You mean, like an old friend?”
“No, idiot. It’s been two months—never mind.”
Sometimes when we talk all the gas escapes from our bodies. The hissing gets deafening. I have always considered myself a good listener, active, earnest, patient. But when you cannot see yourself as you are, the truth can be a Jack-in-the-box.
“Do you really think I’m an idiot?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said without stopping.
She continued on the path toward the ice rink. I loped behind. Some boys were playing evening shinny under buzzing sodium lamps. They looked ghoulish.
“It’s peculiar,” she said.
“How haphazard their play.”
“Haphazard? They appear to be skating and tooling the hockey sticks with some expertise. Most youngsters can handle themselves on the ice in this land.”
She continued toward the pedestrian bridge that crossed the highway. The wind had picked up. I felt nervous about going over.
“Maybe I’ll just head back!” I shouted over the traffic.
But my hand, the one she had been holding, protested vehemently, and would not stop squirming and squealing until it returned to the safety of hers.
MENAGE A TROIS
We sat in contemplative silence. The two women visiting from the Sorbonne reclined and held hands. We’d been discussing art and death, exhausting subjects. Also, the opium had worked its magic.
“I’m floating above myself,” I said.
“Sammy—they call you Sammy?”
“That’s what they call me, even though it’s not my name. But I’ve grown used to it. Indeed I’ve all but forgotten my given name.”
“That is tragique.”
“Pardon, she is being—how you say—hyperbolique.”
“Pardon, she is being—how you say—a beech.”
Someone knocked at the front door. The girls were too wasted to move from the divan.
I opened the door. A bearded man wearing a white suit stood there with his hands behind his back. He looked vaguely familiar.
“Do I know you?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Do you?”
I couldn’t place him.
“I can’t place you.”
“No? well never mind that. I’m here to deliver a message from the executive branch.”
“The executive branch of what?”
“Look, the board has decided you’re having way too much fun with this crap.”
“It’s hard work.”
“Bullshit. Now, you have one minute to finish this.”
“Don’t test us.”
He walked away. A black limousine waited for him. This was serious. I went in and told the French women to leave.
“But we have done rien.”
“No, Monsieur Sammy. We have done rien.”
See, and that right there was what the board must have meant. That French shit never flies with them. They have prurient minds. They start thinking all kinds of nasty things. Talk later.
Salvatore Difalco is the author of four books including The Mountie At Niagara Falls (Anvil Press), an illustrated collection of flash fiction. He currently lives in Toronto Canada.