, , , , , , , ,

by Paul Beckman

Oh no! This is all I need now — Walker the Stalker coming towards me on the moving sidewalk and I can’t get off and he’s going to see me and after all these years it’ll start again just like in high school.

If I wasn’t pulling my suitcase I’d turn and run upstream like a salmon to get away. This airport’s so crowded I know I could lose him. Maybe if I keep my head down and turned he won’t notice me.

I already feel like shit after Ellen’s funeral and even though we were twins, we weren’t close. She liked losers and became one herself. Hell — she even liked this creep, Tommy Walker, who wouldn’t give her a tumble because he wanted me.

Shit — I shouldn’t have peeked. He’s staring at me. It’s been twenty years or more but, oh shit, now he’s smiling and lifting his roll-on. He’s not dumb enough to jump from his side to mine is he? Of course he is. He’s waiting for me to notice him and smile back. All I want to do is get to the luggage carousel and pick up the box with Ellen’s ashes and get away from here.

I should move my hand to the opposite railing — he’s opening his mouth to speak but I beat him to it. I put my hand on his and force a smile: “Ellen,” I say, and he puts down his suitcase as his smile fades and I continue towards Ellen knowing I’ll tell her the story at the cemetery tomorrow.

Paul Beckman’s stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Metazen, Boston Literary Magazine, Thrice Fiction and Literary Orphans. His work has been included in a number of anthologies and published in a dozen countries. Paul earned his MFA in creative writing from Bennington College. His latest collection of flash stories, Peek, published by Big Table Publishing, weighed in at 65 stories and 120 pages. His website is www.paulbeckmanstories.com.