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

Red Is the New Black

by Rina Rich Langer

A girl in a red accordion dress swept into the party. “Bonjour,” she said to the elegantly dressed hostess, married to the gallery owner, and the other French women dressed in red. “Comment allez-vous?” she asked me, and I stumbled, stuttered, the only American, the only woman dressed in white. Dinner was a five-course affair, with la fromage and le salade numbers three and four. Expensive art lined the walls, including a virtually flawless reproduction of the Mona Lisa, and next to it, another work, a photograph of a Native American destroying the Mona Lisa.

Finally, after four courses and forty minutes, someone spoke to me, a young German woman, Melitta. “German is my mother’s tongue,” I said. How was I going to eat another bite, I thought, when the two large plum tarts appeared in the arms of the small Asian woman silently serving. I managed, of course, and even spoke a few words of German with Melitta, “like zee coffee filters,” she reminded me. Just stay for another ten minutes, to be polite, I thought. Kill the idea of trying to understand the discussion at the end of the table.

Laughter broke out suddenly, between the host and the girl in the accordion dress. Ménage-à-trois? Not tonight, was clear from the hostess’s face, which started to turn crimson. On the table the Camembert turned even whiter. “Pardon,” she said as she grabbed the arm of her husband and pulled him toward her. Quickly she yanked him up and away from the table to the adjacent study. “Remember the last party,” said a seated, middle-aged woman with thin legs and papery cerise flowers pasted on her short cocktail dress. She, accordion-dress girl, had already turned her attention to Melitta’s husband, the Nobel-prize winning economist.

“That’s it!” said Melitta, in German, which made it sound much fiercer. Unbeknownst to the dinner guests she was ready. Very quickly, Melitta picked up her second glass of vin rouge, an expensive Chateau Margaux 2000. With a quick jerk of her right hand, the ruby liquid flew in front of her husband’s shirt and down the front of the accordion dress. Xenial is not how I would describe the relationship between the women at the table. Yet, Melitta gave me a parting gift, when I asked if throwing wine is common at a French fête. Zatt is vhy all of zee vimmen wear red, she said.


Publisher’s Note: For those who may not be familiar with the term, an “abecedarian” story is one whose sentences begin with the successive letters of the alphabet.

Rina Rich Langer
Issue 11, Spring 2019

is an adjunct assistant professor of writing at New York University. She has published numerous articles on books and authors in her years working as a journalist for Gannett publications; however, she is a poet at heart and currently at work on a novel.

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