by Steve Passey
Lavender blue and rosemary green,
When I am king you shall be queen.
“Lavender’s Blue” (Traditional)
Synesthesia, she says. I see a color in every written name. Greens and reds and other colors too. My own is purple. The colors tell me what the person is like. Other people who see their names in purple have synesthesia too.
What color is my name, I ask?
Blue, she says. (She knew I would ask.)
Blues are good, she tells me, but they can be difficult.
I tell her: Blue. Here’s all that I know about Blue. My friend Benny had a girl named Blue. Let me tell you about Benny, and if I can, I’ll tell you about her too. Benny took speed and played heavy metal guitar. Benny once jumped out of a moving car. He thought he could do it without spilling his beer.
He was wrong.
Benny once opened the passenger door to hit a homeless man at thirty miles per hour. I don’t know what happened to the man but heard the sound. I looked back in the rear-view mirror, but he was already gone.
Benny once jumped into a moving car. He did it without spilling (much of) his beer. Benny and moving cars, man. Always jumping in or jumping out, he had no fear. Just one time that I can remember, Benny stopped the car.
He let a stray dog in.
He named her Blue.
You’re my girl Blue, he said. You’re my girl.
He fed her and bathed her. He sang Brown Eyed Girl to her in the bath. Blue ran away anyway. She ran away in a single day. Man, she just got up and she just ran away. Billy asked me to drive him to find his girl Blue. He leaned out the passenger window with a beer in his hand calling out where are you Blue? We found in her a culvert. Her puppies had all died. She wouldn’t come with Benny then. She wouldn’t leave those puppies’ side. Benny man, he fucking cried. But Benny man, Benny he stayed. He wouldn’t leave Blue, wouldn’t run away. He sat there with her for the better part of the day, but the time the moon came up Blue had passed away.
That’s so sad, she says. She meant it when she said it, and anyways it is true. It is sad.
She asks (I knew she would ask), How is he doing today?
I don’t know, I say, cracking a beer. I have not seen Benny in years.
Steve Passey is originally from Southern Alberta. He is the author of the short-story collections “Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock” (Tortoise Books, 2017), “Cemetery Blackbirds” (Secret History Books, 2020), and the Novella “Starseed” (Seventh Terrace, 2020) along with many other things. He is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee and is part of the Editorial Collective at The Black Dog Review.