I’ll Surreal Your Ism

Here’s a snippet from a short story I just started writing, and a picture of a cat for your viewing pleasure. 🙂



The kitchen table was a chasm above which floated their coffee cups, the sugar bowl, their plates of eggs, their napkins. Neither of them could reach a hand across it to touch the other, neither could reach around the sides where the absence in one empty chair was wider and deeper even than the hole between them. They went on eating, slowly, raising forks to mouths, as if the void were not there.


“Pass me the ketchup,” Paul said, reaching.


Emily’s hand across the chasm was pale, soft. She held the bottle in a light grip, and he could see how little she cared that at any moment it might slip from her hand and fall forever.


“Thank you,” he whispered. It echoed all the way down the hole despite the low volume of his voice, bouncing as it went.


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Paul’s face began to burn as the sentiment repeated itself over and over.


“Stop,” he whispered.


Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop.


Across the table, Emily stared on as if only silence were ringing around them. She reached above the chasm wordlessly and picked up a newspaper that floated there. Once, when they were first together, they had done crossword puzzles at moments like this. That had stopped for years years ago, but in the new quiet, Emily had tried to resume their old habit. She picked the paper up now, folding it over itself so that the black and white squares glared up from it, lighter in their contrast than the grainy newsprint should have allowed. A wan smile crossed her face.


“Eight letters, second letter ‘e,’ ends with ‘d,’” she said. “’Left desolate or alone.’”


“Abandoned, rejected, neglected,” he thought aloud, knowing they were all wrong. The hole between them replied to these thoughtless attempts with silence.


“Bereaved,” he replied, finally, with the conviction of a kill stroke.


Bereaved. Bereaved. Bereaved. Bereaved.


Emily filled in the letters and put the paper down where the table should have been. Where the paper floated quietly.






About thebaffledkingcomposing

Pamela DiFrancesco is a writer with a community college degree in journalism, a fancy art school degree in fiction and a penchant for community organizing. A native of Pennsylvania coal country, Pamela lives in Astoria, Queens, writes, and does whatever else it takes to pay the bills. In the past, Pamela has worked for newspapers and taught children journalism in an after-school program. Pamela's fiction can be found on the web at Cezanne's Carrot and Monkeybicycle, in print in The Carolina Quarterly (who nominated "The Chuck Berry Tape Massacre" for the Best American Mystery Writing anthology) and forthcoming in The New Ohio Review. When not writing, Pamela practices acts of love and kindness in hopes of a radically different world, and is preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse through acts of badassery.
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