“Hold Me Tight”–flash fiction from Difficult People

Hold Me Tight



          Wait for me here, she said, and then dissolved into a vague mist.

          Across the plaza a man was eating fire off long sticks. A convoy of army troops hurtled down one side of the square, young men hooting raw vulgarities at the women on the sidewalks.

          The silence of the night streets returned.

          Up an alley a pack of dogs mauled each other, seeking a leader. A child cried, and pants down, assisted by his mother, peed into the bushes. There was the ripe smell of rotten vegetables, sun-soaked, marinated in goat and lamb, of chicken roasted, dripping with tomato and pepper sauces.

          You know everything, mister, the beggar said and curtseyed for a greasy, worthless coin and hesitated, palm still open.

          Go, expose yourself no more, the man said. Suffer in silence, out of sight, the decent, manly thing to do. Look, I don’t want to yell at you, wretch.

          The breeze of night, hot with human loathing, twisted around him. The voice of the lover was returning, like the coming sun and the leaden weight of consciousness. Only a little time before banishment, dream curfew.

          Please trust me, he whispered, her body emerging into visible form, diaphanous, her fingers stroking the hair on the back of his neck.

          Caress me, she whispered, the tactile solidity of her entrancing body, wrapped around his body, a dream mermaid in the lap of her terrestrial merman.

          Hold me tight, he pleaded, tasting her salty kiss.


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