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With Maura by Gary Percesepe | Word Riot
Flash Fiction

November 15, 2010      

With Maura by Gary Percesepe

Downstairs was crowded and too many voices were speaking at once. I lost sight of Maura. Some people huddled in a corner by the stage. The microphone was still on the stage but I did not know where Maura had gone. A couple looked at me as though I should know them.
     A woman came up and threw her arms around me. She thanked me. Her voice was hoarse and she coughed into her starfish hand. She apologized for coughing but her perfume was lovely. It hung there between us. I wondered where Maura had gone. The couple by the stage continued to look.
     I left the room with my bag under my arm. Maura was at the bar in the next room. She came up to me and took my arm. A photographer wanted to take our picture. Maura sent him away after one flash. My eyes stung. I wondered where our picture would appear.
     A waiter went for a taxi. Outside it was hot and bright from the camera lights. They were filming the outside of the bar. Equipment and cars filled the street. The street was shaped like a little square. A fountain had appeared in the square and water tumbled. There were trees and grass and on the grass taxis were parked. One drove toward us and the waiter opened the door. Maura got in. I tipped the waiter and got into the taxi beside Maura.
     I told the driver where to drive and he shot out of there. Ruts formed in the grass as he accelerated. We entered a long tunnel. I told Maura what she had said to me the last time I saw her. That I made her laugh. She frowned and said, did I say that? She smiled then and I saw her white teeth.
     The tunnel was dark. Maura moved close to me. We sat close to one another and were quiet. I put my arm around her and tried to see where we were headed. At the end of the tunnel was a long hill and we climbed the hill in second gear. Outside the houses were white stucco lit by floodlight.
     We crossed a bridge. The water was black beneath us. I told the driver to stop. I got out of the car. I took Maura’s hand and she got out. I told the driver to wait. With Maura, I stood on the bridge and watched the black water move. A bat flew into the open window of the taxi and the driver yelled and the bat flew out. We watched the bat fly off into the night. I asked Maura if she felt alright and she said she felt fine. It was hot and dark. A light went on in a house across the river and then it went out.

Gary Percesepe

About the author:

Gary Percesepe is Associate Editor at BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review) and serves on the Board of Advisors at Fictionaut. His short stories, poems, essays, reviews, and interviews have been widely published in Mississippi Review, Antioch Review, Westchester Review, Rumpus, Pank, Word Riot, Necessary Fiction, Metazen, elimae, Moon Milk Review, and other places. He has a story in Sex Scene: An Anthology, and two other stories appear in anthologies by Red Hen Press. He is the author of four books in philosophy, numerous short stories and poems, and an epistolary novel with Susan Tepper, What May Have Been: Letters of Jackson Pollock and Dori G, (Cervana Barva Press) which was recently entered for a Pulitzer Prize. He just completed his second novel, Leaving Telluride, set in Telluride, Colorado.

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