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Lemon

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The chicken he’s eating doesn’t taste like anything. Across the table, a red-haired woman is smiling warmly at him, like she remembers where they are and how they got there. Her name eludes him, but he’s slightly smitten. The woman’s pixie face yanks at something in his chest.

“The old lemon throbbed fiercely. I got an idea,” she says, as though she expects it to make any sense.

He cocks his head and thinks. There are lemons on his chicken. They are throbbing, menacing, ominous, they’re not at all right. These are not lemons like he knows them. He looks up. Nothing is like he knows it. Something is wrong with the world.

Something. Something is here. In an instant, he is on his feet, the woman next to him. Anger is the next thing he feels, so intense he is terrified of it. Where is it from? He grasps the woman’s hand, panicking at the though that he could lose her in this sudden crush of people.

A person. A person is standing in the middle of the hazy street, looking lost. The man hates him, more than he’s hated anything else ever before. It is wrong, it wakes his desire to break and rip and hit.

The woman is crying, as she snaps the leg off of her chair, wielding it like a club. Again, he reaches for her, switching the gun he can’t remember getting to his other hand. The crowd surges around them, but they resist the pull that has taken hold of their bending city, for the moment.

“I’m Madeline-girl,” the woman says, and the man understands.

He thinks for a moment, grins in triumph. “That-idiot-lawyer,” he says. “Nice to meet you, Madeline-girl.”

Later, he is coated in blood, and he tells Madeline-girl, “I’ll remember you.” It’s a lie.

***

The chicken in front of him tastes like nothing. Across the table, there is a woman he feels he should know.

“The stars are God’s daisy chain,” he says, as though he expects it to make sense.





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