Listen to a reading of “Mistralismus” by Dan Reiter.
He took one of the sunnier seats and sat in contemplation over the menu, but ordered neither lunch, nor wine, nor coffee. His regret was nourishment enough: a sweet wilted bouquet, tinted with the blue shadows on the cobblestones.
The Mistral came purling its ancient breath over the hills, and it blew across the square to where he was sitting and coalesced his regret into the contours of his face so that the skin above his cheekbones thickened, and his forehead and chin browned like leather. His body fused with his clothing, and his clothing melted into the iron chair.
The waiter watched and muttered bitterly—it was a waste of such a sunny seat. The afternoon dimmed to cornflower. The wind slackened. The waiter began to stack the chairs. The seat was not so sunny anymore.
The regret did not subside with the coming of evening. It sparkled and grew and crystallized in his chest until his breaths spread out and slowed, like the flow from a gutter after a passing storm, till finally they stopped.
The waiter collected the tables and lit a cigarette and swept the concrete, and when he came to this chair he brushed the Mistral dust from the iron legs, and then from the legs of the man.
When the maître d’ came out, slurring and jangling his keys, he instructed the waiter to move the statue into the green space by the trees. “Ask the sous-chef to help,” he said. “If it is too heavy.”
About the author:
Dan Reiter is always working on something. His most recent offerings won The Florida Review Editor’s Award in fiction and Bartleby Snopes story of the month. A more bizarre piece is currently on display at Burrow Press Review. More of his sudden fiction is upcoming in Spork and other journals. He lives and dreams here: www.dan-reiter.com.