KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Micro-Fiction: 318 words

We Recover Lampshades

by Philip Wexler

So the sign in the window of the lighting store announced. My first guileless thought was, “Why, are they lost?” No sooner did I realize my mistake, than I determined that maybe I shouldn’t rule out my first impression after all. I had no lampshade needing a new skin, but remembered one that had gone missing.

Opening the door set off a jingling bell. The shopkeeper, surrounded by hundreds of lamps in a stiflingly tiny space, was small, smelly, and unshaven, though you couldn’t say he sported a beard. I told him of a shade I’d had years ago, widely flaring, pleated, cream colored, and embedded with golden flecks. It was the lesser used, at least recently, of the lamps on my bed’s two end tables and, one morning, three years ago, was simply gone. It was the favorite of the girlfriend I had dumped about the same time. Could he help?

He scratched the stubble on his chin, took an old, dusty, loose-leaf binder from the bookshelf, flipped through black and white photographs preserved in plastic, and stopped near the end. He pointed to one of a lampshade remarkably similar, sitting, like a hat, on the head of a woman looking remarkably like my ex-girlfriend. “Like this?” he asked. “Uncanny,” I answered excitedly, “can you recover it?”

He pulled at his chin and smiled, two gold incisors glinting. “Without a doubt, though it will grieve the young lady to part with it.” “But I mean to have her as well,” I clarified. “Yes, of course, my friend, but she won’t come cheap anymore. I would suffer inconsolably to part with my wife.” “I’ll make it worth your while,” I offered.

In accord, we shook on it, and did a little jig in celebration. We recovered our composures and returned to our respective obligations—he to retrieve my belongings and I to secure his cash.

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