by | Jun 7, 2022 | Fiction, Issue Twenty Seven

There are a dozen books on the right shelve, unread, never opened. Ornamental books, hardcover, bare spines devoid of the author’s name or the publication’s logo. You can pick any, and you won’t know until you flip them open. I ask her why. Why such blasphemy? But that is how life is, she says.
Red jackets look so good under the umbrella, I hear the passer-by say. I don’t understand it. I put sentences before it, after it, trying to complete it to make some more sense, but I fail miserably. I say it to Shia, Red jackets look so good under the umbrella. Yes, and yellow Prada’s, she adds.
At an auction my friend attended he bought me an old picture, withered and yellow, bitten by the paper-eating bugs at places. A portrait of some lady we don’t know, for $3. She does not look royalty, but we assume she was someone important to be photographed. Some 25 pages, hand written draft of a never published novel by a famous author was sold for $7000.
In my free time I read the art of fiction issues of The Paris Review, until they say, subscribe to read further and then I move to the mundanities of life; sketching ideas on my notepad. I use a pencil. I compost the shaving, and sometimes remember that for my school essay I read about sharpeners, and my group of friends laughed at the people who invented the sharpener because they were named Dick, Love and Climax.
The fryums come in smiley shapes now a days. As a child I ate them as badminton racquets, teddy bears, cylinders and netted balls. The shape of clouds has also changed, or not, I don’t know, its all smoky up there now. As children we found kissing couples, whales and distorted faces of people we know. Now we don’t look up, we are told not to look up, neither towards the sky, nor towards the ones who tell us not to look.
A good person keeps good company, my daughter learned at the school today. My wife tells her, its, one is known by the company one keeps. So, mama, what do we do with bad friends, my daughter asks. Stay away from them. A bad apple spoils the whole basket. But mama, why can’t all the good apple make the bad apple good. My wife looks at me; shocked. But that is how life is, I say.

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