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SmokeLong Quarterly

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The Mystery of Water

Story by Zin Kenter (Read author interview) March 29, 2011

art by Brandon Wicks

He washes his hands as he has a thousand, hundred thousand times before, but this time wonders: where does the water come from, where does it go? Oh, it comes from the reservoir, of course, and goes to the sewer, but he wonders about the exact why and how of it: at this moment with his children tucked into bed and his wife in the den filing his doctor’s bill (punch biopsy, level 3 cytology, $3500,) it seems very important, this mystery of water. An in pipe, an out pipe, hidden by the vanity? He is an insurance actuary, what does he know about plumbing, but he knows he’d paid for a vanity, not sure what it was (of course he knew about vanity, but a vanity, a bathroom vanity, stumped him, in the same way “pagetoid spread” sounded like something from a magazine, perhaps a pictorial in Newsweek, instead of a diagnosis) but he’d learned about bathroom vanities and now he rocks the wood stand to see if it will pull away from the wall, revealing the pipes, but it holds fast. He kneels and opens the vanity door, pulls out toilet paper and boxes of Band-Aids and an enema (an enema?) and a box of feminine hygiene something he doesn’t want to know about, and he finds a pipe at last, this is where the water either comes from or goes, but he does not know which, and there, knees aching against the cold tile, he cries because he will never know.

About the Author

Zin Kenter lives in Maine and loves to play with words, sentences, stories, fairy tales, poems, songs. Bios, not so much. Zin loves to sing—music plus words, what could be better?

About the Artist

Brandon Wicks is the associate editor for special projects at SmokeLong Quarterly. He is a freelance writer and illustrator based in Philadelphia. His debut novel, American Fallout, will be published by Santa Fe Writers Project in 2016. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Pembroke Magazine, Potomac Review, Sou’wester, and other journals.

This story appeared in Issue Thirty-One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-One
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