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by Paul Beckman

Valentine’s Eve for men at the mall. I stopped to buy Amy a gift hoping to cement a relationship that had just gotten off the ground with a few hellos and one shared table at lunch in the work cafeteria.

Tuxedoed waitresses served complimentary champagne. I looked in jewelry and nightgown stores finally settling on a boxed set of Sinatra love songs covered by Polka King Frankie Yankovic which I set on her desk early the next morning at work.

After lunch there was an envelope and small package left for me which I opened immediately. The box held a pair of lovebird Peeps — one pink and one blue. I loved Peeps. Her card was a cutesy grade school card with a note. Thanks for the great gift. I’ll play it on the drive with my Polish boyfriend on the way to our favorite B&B for a romantic weekend.

I picked up the Peeps and bit the head off the blue one — the one that represented me. Then I put the Peep bodies back in the box and left it open on my desk. I looked at the lovebirds and thought about what should have been.

Paul Beckman’s new flash collection is Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Publishing). He has new stories coming out in Lost Balloon, Thrice Fiction, Fictive Dream, Blink-Ink, Flash Fiction Magazine, flash & cinder, and others. Blog: pincusb.com.