Two Pieces / by Mark McKee


That night they go out for drinks, spelunking through the haze of their favorite bar, and his friends, barely visible in the corner booth in back, stand up, duck under arms, wade through bodies to clap him on the back and say, "Hey, that's great, man, so cool you guys got back together," and he smiles and she smiles, his real, hers feigned, and he explains to these people he's known since grade school that, no, this isn't Josie, this is Franny, from Chesapeake, which is almost like Poughkeepsie; and after his friends go back to their table, visibly embarrassed, but comfortably buzzed, she will ask him, "Do we really look that much alike?" and he will say no, it's a game with them, these friends of his, and sometimes they got carried away, but he will say something to them about it, just not right now, because right now it would make a scene; because right now they should find a table where he can build a scene in his mind, where he can gaze right through her 'til she becomes uncomfortable, the word forming on his lips, over and over 'til it becomes audible, and she hears that name that means everything to him: Josie, Josie, Josie, Josie…



We both agreed it was for the best. Cecile jumped from the bridge. I watched her plummet, head first, into the Wasawee River. The water below was smooth. The wind had been calm all day. There was a light splash, then Cecile surfaced, gasping. She paddled in place, drew a breathe, submerged. Moments later she surfaced again, screamed. As she paddled, she yelled, "Jump, you bastard! Jump!" I stood at the edge of the bridge, looking down. I didn't know what to do with my mouth. I didn't feel like smiling, exactly. Cecile disappeared below the surface, then reappeared; just her face this time. She was growing weaker. I couldn't make out what she said. Her voice below was quiet. It sounded like, "We agreed." And then she vanished below the rippling surface. 



Mark McKee is from the American south. In his spare time he collects nervous breakdowns. His work has appeared in decomPCheap Pop, and others.