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Another Story About Me and Some Guy

We met because I hate the actor Bruce Willis. I knew he was in the movie, I thought I could manage, but eventually I had to excuse myself to the lobby. That's when I saw Martin Ripley, blowing out his sinuses into a napkin. I squirted butter on my popcorn and said is there any chance you could do that outside? He gave me a destroyed look that, I confess, broke my heart. He was super tall and slightly malformed in a way that indicated possible chromosome damage. Do you like Bruce Willis? I asked, and he said sure, who doesn't like Bruce Willis? And I said me, I can't stand him and Martin Ripley said well... He tossed the napkin and asked if I'd like to go with him. Where, I said and he said anywhere. Jupiter. Cincinnati. He said first he had to take Maalox to his mother and there was the dry cleaning to pick up, a book to return. I thought about the guy, the other guy, I left in the theater, but here was Martin Ripley, smiling and introducing himself and shaking my hand. I looked up into his face, the asymmetry of his jaw like the asymmetry of my chest and I said let's go. Spring was breathing puffs of steam out of the asphalt and the sun on the melting snow hurt my eyes and Martin Ripley drove as if the two of us were on a long trip, something important and urgent, as if someone far away had died and here we were, speeding to the wake.

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