I slept with the teller in the vault, with all the Presidents around us green with envy. She tasted like copper. The floor was metal. This is the secret, I told her, close to her ear, like I’d heard on the radio. Alchemy. Lead becomes gold. Soft becomes hard. Two become one. She nodded because I was the advisor of the school’s magic club. All she wanted to learn was the trick to pull the quarter out behind the ear, but instead I’d led her to the safe. We’d closed the door. I tried it, after we were done, kissing her lips, putting my weight onto my left arm. I grabbed the length of her dreads with my right hand and fingered for the coin.
Notes from Guest Reader Virgie Townsend
Micros are notoriously difficult to write, so I was impressed with the rich detail in David Schwartz’s ‘Safe’. The story is only 129 words, but I felt the chill of the vault and the cold metal floor in the first three sentences. It’s also surprisingly complex thematically, raising interesting questions about money, sex and consent, and race.