Karen liked the Flair pen – unforgiving, indelible felt-tipped ink – and here is what she could make it do: unfurl a ribbon candy of ovals and slashes that ached sweet words like a toothache that only Mickey Rourke would share. Maybe he’d find the note tucked in a booth where the only other thing was the metal tether missing a phone book, or dropped on a dirty bench, looking too clean to be garbage. He’d read it and squint his approval, and he’d blow out some cigarette smoke with a little laugh and throw her note in the gutter thinking, yeah. She wanted so little. At The Loop Lounge, a dingy place with pulsing music where streetcars once reversed direction, there was a boy with long blond hair whose smile could make her as disarmed as Venus de Milo. She thought he was a poet, and treated him as such. At the Loop, there was also the owner who could always find her because she’d be at the edge of her circle of friends. The owner did not have a disarming smile, but could squint his approval, and his laughter would blow cigarette smoke upward when he liked what Karen said. Meeting Mickey Rourke never seemed a stretch to her, with her bangling earrings and liquid eyeliner and patented dance move that nobody else looked right doing. The sub-woofer pulse permeated the building, the coat check, the bathroom with its needle-strewn floor. That poet never got past the sixth grade. The owner, Bruce, called himself Ruth at home. She would laugh while blowing out cigarette smoke to the rafters. She wrote her last note to Mickey Rourke on the Loop’s bathroom wall. More like scraped, really; it was a crummy Bic. I ain’t no bird, Mickey Rourke. The corn is green.



AEWeisgerber headshot copyA.E. Weisgerber reads for Pithead Chapel and Wigleaf, and is a Reynolds Journalism Fellow at Kent State University. Her recent fiction has/will appear in SmokeLong QuarterlyStructo MagazineThe CollapsarDIAGRAM, and Gravel. Recent non-fiction in The Alaska StarAlternating CurrentThe Review Review, and Change Seven. She’s a current nominee for Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and The Pushcart Prize. She keeps information current at http://anneweisgerber.com.