Congratulations to Leonard Kress and Joe McDade, who tied for first place in our “Something Lost” microfiction contest! There were so many strong entries, it was nearly impossible to decide. Thank you to everyone who entered this contest!
What She Said
by Leonard Kress
“I am so sorry,” he says, as he prepares to move out, his second suitcase almost filled. He tries to rush, but his packing is inefficient and he leaves a trail of slumped shirts along the path from closet to bed.
“It’s not me,” she says, kicking them out of her way, “who will suffer the most, but you.” Her eyes like cast iron cooling in the mold, the heat evaporating between them like lost wax.
“Each time you two have sex—and it won’t be as often as you might expect—after all the hard rubbing and the whimpering gasps, after the brief tremors, after the restrained howl of your coming, you’ll sink back into your usual gloom and no TV news, no beer, no snack, no moonlight stroll or mundane chat will ever distract from the unqualified fact that you abandoned your wife and your children. And that every time we think of you, our love will be tempered with loathing.”
But no, that is not what she says.
She says, “I hope your whore gives you what you really want.”
Highway 70, Visited
by Joe McDade
In Uvalde the state highway doubled as Main Street; my second-floor room at the Days Inn opened to outdoors and the noise seemed not a succession of cars but the same one circling the building beneath my bed. A country-western band had taken the two rooms below me; at three a.m. they stopped pitching beer bottles into the nearby dumpster and began unloading the gear. Metal, asphalt. By morning they were gone.
In Marfa the famous hotel spread out behind a storefront; I passed it twice before noticing. Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean had stayed here during a shoot. Dean had been shy and a gentleman; Taylor had been a slob. The ancient desk clerk told me this before handing me my key: an actual key, with a chilled brass tab that filled my palm. The smallish dining room featured white tablecloths; in the lounge was a sofa so overstuffed I drifted for a few seconds before settling. A fireplace. An older couple, smiling: “We’re headed to Mobile.”
I checked my phone. No. She wasn’t looking for me, hadn’t wondered where I went.