Tell us about your scar. Does it hurt?
Only when I smile.
I suppose it has a story?
Yes, but not a very interesting one. I have another.
No. Another story. Would you like to hear it?
Please. Our readers would be most interested.
I was nine. There had been an accident.
An accident? Nothing serious, I hope?
A garbage truck had overturned on Bruckner Boulevard, and they were re-routing the traffic through the South Bronx. It was quite a torrid Sunday morning in July.
Not a good morning for garbage, I dare say.
No. I was seated half-naked on a curbstone picking through the bottle glass for diamonds and sharpening my popsicle stick into a defensive weapon, when a funeral procession came by—a line of stretch-limos with Connecticut license plates. One of them pulled over to the curb, the rear window went down, and a lady, a lovely lady in a black veil, asked me if I could give them directions to Woodlawn.
She was lost.
Yes, and did I think I could show her the way out of the South Bronx—and to Woodlawn Cemetery.
And could you?
I had given it a great deal of thought. She invited me to get into the back seat with her and give directions to the chauffeur.
I liked riding in that limousine. I didn’t want to leave.
Of course you didn’t.
It had air-conditioning. And a rather distinctive plum-plush interior. She let me out at the southeast corner of Jerome Avenue and West Gun Hill Road. In front of the Santa Maria bodega.
Such a sense of direction.
She thanked me for getting her there so quickly. She gave me an orange. And the Sports section to her Sunday New York Times.
For a very deserving little boy. You’ve grown since then.
“When I was a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
1 Corinthians 13. Ol’ Saul certainly knew his frijoles.
I believe that was Paul. The apostle. He experienced a conversion.
He did. Saul to Paul. Presto change-o.
His frijoles. Very good. Do you mind if I use that?
Be my guest.
To your lovely lost lady. Wherever she is.
To all my lost ladies.
Of course. Does that include me? We really must take a raincheck for dinner. I could always use an extra man.
I’d like that. If I ever get out of here.
Charles Leipart was a finalist for the 2017 Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize for What Wolfman Knew, Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival; What Wolfman Knew is published in the September 2017 issue of the Jabberwock Review; Tea with the Tin Man, a flash fiction, is published in the quarterly issue 82 of Burningword Literary Journal, July 2017. Frank & Mia & Me, a flash fiction, is published in issue 7 of Panoply Literary Zine. Charles is a graduate of Northwestern University, a former fellow of the Edward Albee Foundation and a member of the Dramatists Guild. He lives and writes in New York City.