Thursday, 30 January 2014

They End Up [_______] by Randall Brown

They bumped into each other at writer conferences—Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Denver. This last time, on the dance floor, bodies twisted in ways only writers might imagine; they both stood on the edge, agape.
The writers on the dance floor tried and failed, again and again, to keep beat with “Superstition.”
 “If only Stevie could see this,” she said. They shared a smile, similar sensibilities.
“Yes, ” he said. “It would be beyond his imagination.”
“I think we should show them. ” She set her pomegranate Cosmopolitan on a table between a couple, all hands and tongues. “Inappropriate,” she told them.
“Clearly.” He had altitude sickness, felt on the verge of fainting for days now. Perpetual restlessness and sleeplessness and thirst. Alcohol made it worse.
Her dance, some hip-hop moves; his, more John Travolta, spins and arms doing things he hoped she’d see as ironic. At least their bodies moved where they should; at least each move had some connection to what was happening in the music. At least one could sense the restraint, how it all happened in a confined space, without flailing aimlessly.
“Very nice,” a famous translator said, as they walked back to get more liquid. The connections between himself and earth, always tenuous in this mile-high city, now snapped. His head spun like moons.

 “We are in the Mile High Club,” she said. “Literally.” She tipped her glass to the neon sign. It was later now, at a table in a basement lounge.
 “Each time,” he confessed, untethered, “I think the magic will be gone. And here it is.”
 “And there’s nothing to do with it.” She brushed something from his cheek, maybe an eyelash. “That’s all the more magical.”
At home, on Facebook, the pictures will arrive a few days later, mainly of that dance floor. Everyone will look pained, as if a curse bent them beyond the point of flexibility.
 “What are we?” he asked.
 “It is one of those stories where nothing happens." She wore looks he couldn't read, like this one, peering out over her pink glasses, almost like a teacher, the kind schoolboys can't get out of their heads. “And you know what happens to those stories, don’t you?”
He shook his head.
"They end up—,” she said.
He still didn’t know. She lifted her glass and pointed to it for the waiter.  
"Fill it," she said, in case he hadn't understood.

About the Author: Randall Brown teaches at Rosemont College’s MFA Program. He’s the author of the award-winning collection Mad to Live, and his work appears in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Flash Fiction and Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction. He blogs regularly at and is the founder of Matter Press.  
Image: (c) Quinn Dombrowski