by Eleanor Levine
I get interrupted by other stories, though I’d like to finish my book.
This one concerns Pam, who bears the same name as the woman I’m obsessed with on a TV show.
We were in Israel in my dream last night. We are either always in Israel or Belgium, where we never leave our hotel or neighborhood and venture where real tourists go.
We see the circumference of the block.
We read signs and hear that other people are doing fun things.
There are also Luddites, some from high school, residing with us.
Pam, who was the administrator for dead animals in high school biology class experiments, is in charge of health conditions at our retreat.
We are disinterested and consider this the last retreat.
We let our dogs run through areas that would normally be prohibitive.
I, for example, let my dog enter the eating area. There are refrigerators that contain shrimp.
In his post-adolescent years, the dog became intrigued with eating shrimp.
Cooked cold shrimp crunches.
Clean fresh red and white meat that could be candy cane if it were not shellfish.
Pogue, my dog, sticks his mouth in the fridge. Pardon me, it is his paw. He extends his paw and hands himself five shrimps.
Pam is overseeing the kitchen, and immediately reports us to a committee, which requests our presence.
I think, sort of, if you have a crush on someone, they’re not supposed to report you and/or your dog for eating shrimp.
“It’s not sanitary, and I had to tell them that your dog…”
It’s how my psychiatrist, whom I also have a crush on, treats me, like she owns me.
“Ms. Ravine,” she says, after six sessions, though she could call me “Sheila,” but likes the way “Ms. Ravine” sounds on voicemail.
“Ms. Ravine,” Pam mocks me, as if I am her servant, “you shouldn’t let your dog eat shrimp that doesn’t belong to him.”
Their words, they think, are divine.
Pam narks. Would the shrink nark? If I have a crush on you, you’re not supposed to nark.
This philosophy is not always sound.
“I am not thrilled by you, Pam,” I say, while Pogue refuses to let Pam pet him.
She stares while we walk away.
Pam saunters after us.
We notice this person by her smell.
Our betrayer is stalking us.
A quiet moment, like rain drops in a Van Gogh drawing, follows, and she kisses our cheeks.
We have wanted to kiss since high school, when she was my teacher.
It is an alluring kiss.
It is the only thing that works.
Eleanor Levine‘s writing has appeared in Hobart, Fiction, Fiction Southeast, Monkeybicycle, the Denver Quarterly, Pank, the Toronto Quarterly, Barrelhouse, Intima, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Barely South Review, Kentucky Review, Juked, Menacing Hedge, Artemis, and Gone Lawn. More of her work is forthcoming in Thrice Fiction, Cracking the Spine, Split Lip Magazine, and the MacGuffin.