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by Craig Towsley

He said he imagined he liked art as much as anyone, as long as it kept its distance. She asked if he capitalized the word.

The light changed and they started across the street. Confined in the crowd, one of them said they felt a little like sheep, lost in the herd. The other hoped the next pasture wasn’t just thistles, that clover would be a nice change of pace. At the bar, they leaned over the table so their foreheads touched. The bartender put their drinks down. Careful not to disturb their communion.

One of them said it was quiet now.

Later, for one sharp moment, they went deaf and dumb. Blind. Formless. Uppercase A.

He made eggs a little while after rematerializing. They sat cross-legged, plates in their laps, bare buttocks on the cool kitchen tile and wondered about the women who married shepherds. Did they give great foot massages? What would they do with all that mutton? How cozy their beds must be in winter with thick blankets piled so high you felt like you might suffocate.

She crushed her cigarette in the ashtray they’d gotten from a yard sale. Handmade ceramic lump. Painted bright green. Lowercase a. I’ll quit the day I get my mother’s approval, she said. It was her little joke. He chuckled. His arm crooked around her middle. Her mother died years ago. Car accident. But not right away. They watched her bleed and bleat for days.

The upstairs neighbour dragged their fetters across the floor from one end of their apartment to the other. Bed time, they said, looking up at the ceiling. In the low light of the floor lamp, she made her fingers into a square and framed his face, closed one eye, and stared.

That’s close enough, he said.


Craig Towsley writes flash fiction, but pays the bills by writing for video games. He lives in Montreal with his wife and dog. cleveroldowl.wordpress.com.

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