KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Micro-Fiction: 311 words

Paraguay, Someone Says as a Song Finishes

by C. C. Russell

Funny the words you pick up as snippets over the music, the pieces of sound that weave their way through sound. For instance, I was sure a second ago that the guy in the next booth talking incessantly about Magic cards said something about a lesbian chief and I could so easily picture my friend Jenn in the role, all war paint and tongue and commands. She’d be perfect. Except that she’s bi.

For the most part, this place is one person to a booth under black paintings. Just listening. In the next booth, the Magic man sits alone again now, folding origami birds and glancing up from time to time at the paintings. The girl who painted them was his girlfriend until three weeks ago. He tries to forget this, but still likes coming here to stare at her art. He likes coming here to see her nailed to the wall.

Somewhere in the back of this room, two people toss the names of places back and forth—everywhere they’d like to go if they weren’t so broke. In between destinations, they exchange cash and crystal meth. The woman says San Francisco and the man replies “toomanyfags” as one word. She laughs, says she worries more about earthquakes. Something, you know, actually dangerous.

This place stands next to the tracks, all white noise and cold forced air when the door opens. Everyone’s head turns at anyone’s entrance. Every time. The sound of trains, a constant reminder of motion just outside our reach. Everything here a constant, a tether.

I take another drag off a stale cigarette. The person coming through the white noise of the door is not the person I hoped for. I stub out the cigarette, and think about going to San Francisco or Philadelphia. Anywhere—maybe as far as Paraguay.

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