Summer 2016 — THE POTOMAC

Cover Based on Stock Photo

of Handsome Couple

  Holly Day

The woman closed the book, placed it on the table, grabbed her purse and her paper cup still half–full of coffee and walked out the door. Upon losing its audience, the story playing out inside the book stopped. Lance Handsomeness' hand froze in mid–air, in mid–slap, forever inches from contacting Veronica Willing's firm white behind.

Veronica would never find out that Lance's shirt, casually thrown over a chair in the corner, reeked of his secretary's perfume, and he would never find out that Veronica was pregnant with his baby but was planning on lying to her husband about it later that night. There were other incidental characters and situations that had yet to be resolved but now never would—Veronica would never be able to stop in to try on or buy the beautiful pair of bright red high heels with the super–pointy toes that she had spotted in the tiny but elegant boutique she passed once a week on the way to her soul–sucking rendezvous with Lance in his cheap hotel room, her severely handicapped neighbor's lost kitten would stay lost despite the hundreds of adorable hand–made flyers posted all over the neighborhood, Lance would never get the chance to tell Veronica that he had never actually loved her and that he was planning on asking his real girlfriend to move in with him—these are things that happen on pages that will never be read and are therefore as intangible and impossible to conceive of as God is in other books that are also not read.

On other pages, tiny booklice slithered across the gigantic black letters that made up the histories and futures of Lance and Veronica and the handicapped neighbor and his missing Persian kitten. They are not aware, nor do they care, that Veronica will leave her husband after he confesses that she can't possibly have gotten pregnant from him since he had gotten a vasectomy years before they even met but hadn't the heart to tell her about it because he knew she had always wanted to have children, that Lance's girlfriend will find out about his ongoing affair with Veronica and his secretary and will storm out of the apartment that he wanted to share with her and will be so blinded by her rage that she won't realize until it's too late that the senior commuter bus bearing down on her has faulty brakes, that Veronica will eventually find purpose to her lackluster life as the new albeit–single mother of twins Mary Beth and Polly Sue. The only thing that matters to the booklice is that the glue holding the pages together is plastic–based and therefore toxic to their species. Someday, a new reader will open this book and find not only pages and pages of black letters spelling out love and romance and hopes and dreams and blah blah blah schmaltz, but also the hundreds and hundreds of curled–up white–and–cream–colored bodies of tiny dead insects, many so far decomposed that their bodies blow away upon the first opening of the book like fine, white dust.

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