Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Deer - 450 words
Sarah Van Name

“I’m not going to hook up with anyone,” he told me as he pulled into the parking space and turned off the engine.

“I mean. I would hope not,” I replied, getting out. “It’s been like three weeks since she broke up with you. You’re supposed to still be a wreck.”

“I am skilled in the art of acting,” he said without looking at me as we walked towards the door. “I’m just saying you shouldn’t worry.”

The guy made the requisite x’s on our under-21 hands and we drifted in along the back wall. I bounced on my heels; I hadn’t been to this club in a while and I had missed it. But standing around waiting for a band when even the filler music is too loud…well, it isn’t that exciting in the end, even if the band is your favorite band and you have a good friend, a good heartbroken friend, beside you, because there’s still the forty-year-old on his second beer standing in the corner and there’s still the heat and the knowledge that you need to save your ears for later.

So I told my friend I had to get some air and I went out to the smoking patio. There was no one out there, but the smell of smoke still clung to the air like perfume. I kind of like that bitter aftertaste hanging in the atmosphere. I leaned against the wall, in the smoke and the cool of the summer night.

Behind the chain-link, there were some trees, and I saw a deer there suddenly, as if it had just coalesced from the darkness. It was small, as graceful and soft as ribbon, and alone. It lowered its head to sniff something on the ground; stepped delicately onto the concrete; hesitated by the side of the road; walked to the middle to nibble at a small piece of grass.

Of course I saw what was going to happen, what must happen. I heard the car coming, the too-loud rap music, saw the headlights rise like a rapid dawn and the baby poke up its head. Closer and closer, and –

– the truck swerved, I heard a curse, its tire hit the dirt on the other side but it continued on its way, the deer crossed over to the other side. I breathed. I heard drums, guitar, an appreciative roar, and a familiar verse.

When I went inside I saw him backed up against the wall like a scared animal while a hipster girl, small and cute with beautiful breasts, shouted something in his ear to make herself heard. He looked at the door, at not me but escape. I went to save him.

Party Pit - The Hold Steady

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