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A Monkey's Wedding

Lara and I are sitting in the food court at the outlet mall. We’re playing hooky from our jobs at Key Bank, telling ourselves, well, it’s Tuesday, it’ll be slow at Key and Lara needs a specialty bra for the dress she’s wearing to the theater this weekend.

The theatah.

I rattle my bag of saltwater taffy at her and she waves it away.

“I’ve now got back fat,” she says. “I discovered it this morning. Back fat.”

I can’t respond right away because I’m working on a big wad of taffy. Rain’s streaming down the windows and the sun’s shining through it. We used to call this something when we were kids but I can’t remember.

“How’s that going to look in the dress? From behind, I mean.” Shadows run down Lara’s face. She looks like she’s melting.

She found a sleeveless, backless dress buried in the clearance racks at Lord & Taylor. We’re at the outlet mall because she doesn’t want to spend more on the bra than the dress, which is quite sensible.

A toddler in Osh Kosh overalls is weaving around the tables with a jelly sandwich scrunched in his fat little hand. He stops every once in awhile to offer it to one of the shoppers. Everyone smiles at him.

“I need cleavage, too,” she says. “We’ve got to look for a push-up. A long line, strapless, push-up.”

“Ha! That wouldn’t be me. I’d go braless. “ I choose another piece of taffy from the bag. A gray piece.

Lara has swung around in her chair and is leaning down. The kid’s patting her on the knee. I see a glob of jelly on her jeans. He looks over at me and holds up his sandwich.

“Go away, little boy,” I tell him.

Award-winning flash fiction writer with stories in Ploughshares, Copper Nickel. Creator of Fast Flash© workshops and The Art of Flash Fiction newsletter.