KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Haibun Story: 384 words

The Mixologist

by Roberta Beary
 

At birth the baby looks normal which is a relief to Isobel. She’s almost certain the father is her boyfriend Hector. Hector waits tables in the same restaurant Isobel tends bar. She tells Hector she’s naming the baby Michael after the Archangel. Michael’s also the name of Hector’s best friend from work, who helps out at the bar on weekends. Isobel thinks of that time with Michael as a one-off. She hasn’t been back in the men’s room since, not even to clean. Still Michael might be the baby’s father and Isobel likes to keep her options open. The name Hector reminds Isobel of a cartoon donkey famous in her country. She would never ruin her baby’s life with a cartoon name.

closing time
a paper coaster
unravels itself

Today is Michael’s one-year visit and Isobel doesn’t dare miss it. She doesn’t want to get reported. The clinic has called Isobel twice the past week to make sure the appointment is kept. The doctor spends a long time examining baby Michael. Afterwards he presents Isobel with a list: wide-set eyes; extremely thin upper lip; short, upturned nose; small, narrow eyes; small head circumference; heart murmur. When the doctor tells Isobel the diagnosis she calls him a liar and curses him in their native language. She swears on her medal of the Blessed Virgin that she’ll never take another drink, if only the doctor won’t report her to social services. The doctor, speaking in English, says he must do what is best for the patient.

new year’s eve
an unseen bell rings in
the next round

That night at work a customer offers Isobel a $100 tip to share a Rum and Coke in the back room. Isobel says she promised the sitter she’d be home before midnight. By the time Isobel unlocks her front door it’s 2 AM. She can hear baby Michael crying as she reads the note from her sitter: Midnight, couldn’t miss my ride, baby sleeping. Isobel searches the cabinets and finds what she’s looking for behind the baby cereal. She quickly pours some into a glass, making sure to leave a little for Michael’s bottle. As she drinks she wills her hands to stop shaking. But they ignore her.

room for rent
glow stars stick
to the ceiling

 

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