Natalia Rachel Singer

Vladimir and Estragon

He thought we were only company men, loyal but a little dim-witted, the kind of guys who pass the time making simple observations like “Look, a tree,” and “Yeah, that fat guy is really eating a whole chicken and throwing the bones right on the ground.”

When he sent us out to meet the clients, he could count on us to stick to the specs: band width, shelf life, delivery date. Never some big allusive story of this begat that, no Eureka, we found it. No credit, no blame.

He promised us promotions.

He promised foreign travel.

He promised us respect.

He promises face time, still.

Truth is, we can see him waving at us across time, inventions, blue river, worn train tracks, peering at us through vintage binoculars.

He thinks we don’t know he’s there.

He hoists his silk flag, pretty and vast enough to distract us from our conversation, and we’re supposed to jump.

No, thank you, Mr. G. We like it here just fine.

But we do like watching him waving that thing around, and we like the word, semaphore, the messenger a message in and of itself, bright hard angles moving fast beyond the stream.

~~

Natalia Rachel Singer has published flash fiction in Microfiction, Sundog, Harper’s, and other anthologies. She won the World’s Best Short Short Story contest in 1992. She currently teaches fiction and creative nonfiction at St. Lawrence University, where she is Craig Professor of English.