SmokeLong Quarterly

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Does it Please You?

Story by Ellen Meister (Read author interview) March 15, 2004

Lying on the ground, Saul sees the underside of his car. It reminds him of something, but what?

He realizes the pain that had started in his arm and gripped his chest is gone. He almost smiles.

Then he knows. Dirty pots. That’s what it reminds him of.

He floats, thinking about how his father-in-law used to shine the pots for his mother-in-law. He thought it odd, at first, to see a man do that. “Tetszik?” the old man would say to his wife in Hungarian.

Saul had to ask his bride what it meant. Does it please you, she explained, that’s what tetszik means. Funny he should remember that now, sixty years later.

The hard asphalt feels like a bed, but Saul remembers where he is.

Don’t wash the car today, Lily had said. You look tired. He did it anyway. He likes her to have a clean car.

Saul knows that soon she will come looking for him. And she’ll find him lying here, helpless. But at least the car is clean. At least there’s that.

You washed the car, she’ll say. But it won’t be an admonishment, because she understands.

If he can, he will lift his head and speak.


About the Author

Ellen Meister lives and writes in the suburbs of New York. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fiction Warehouse, Word Riot, Pindeldyboz, Yankee Pot Roast, Haypenny, Amarillo Bay and Light Quarterly. You can contact her at ellenmeister@hotmail.com.

This story appeared in Issue Three of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Three

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