Junto Magazine Vol2_Issue2 - Page 23

Junto Magazine, Volume 2 Issue 2 The Storyteller Short Story Themes: Catharsis, Secrets, Unforseen Consequences hoping his parsimonious nature would save enough money to send their son to college. To pass time, she found herself engrossed in work—a corporate lawyer job that truly didn’t interest her—but, she was so well liked by her company, she kept receiving promotion after pro- motion, compiling those vacation days, until she became a Vice President, giving her a salary and quarterly bonuses that made her feel above the law. But being Vice President didn’t give her the thrill of being an outlaw. All the new job offered her—aside from removing her from the social world at Nationwide, where she could manipulate the gossip and the sim- ple minds—was plenty of time to Google unforgettable vacation destinations while wondering how she fell in love with her husband in the first place. Then, she re- membered. He loved to listen to her talk, to remark on the day, people passing, movies, politics, anything. His ear was all she needed. But now, she’d get home late, have a quiet dinner next to him on the couch while streaming Netflix. Witty commentary had been traded for binge watching fictional lives in silence. Once, while watching Breaking Bad, she rubbed her jaw, afraid it would one day require surgery with all the yawning she endured. But mostly she was sad because she couldn’t tell her now estranged hus- band, or anyone for that matter, her fa- vorite story. Dean Martin crooned through the speakers above the bar. A droplet of red sauce had stained Viktor’s left lapel. A short, stocky man in a leather jacket Colleen’s pride drove her to scour the snares of the city, leading her face to face with Viktor Reznikov. Viktor’s raised hand delivered two shots of vodka. “Na zdorovie.” With her eyes still watering from the first shot, the bartender brought two more. Colleen hated vodka, all clear liquor really, but she accepted the shots because didn’t want to seem bitchy—al- though she was bitchy—and, if things progressed with Viktor, she would no doubt present her default personality as a power move. But, it wasn’t time yet for her natural proclivities, so she flashed her veneers and swallowed the poison, and began to role-play. “You terrible drinker. You drink like little baby. You need practice. Again.” Another flash of the hand brought two more shots. He handed her one and raised the other. “To drinking better.” Down the hatch they went. With details already beginning to spin, she focused on a mural of a man steering a gondola. She’d never been to Venice— not even to the Venetian in Las Vegas for that matter—and aside from the usual American tourists traps like dirty Flo- ridian beaches and national monuments, she’d never really been anywhere as an adult. She wondered when her first stamp would appear on her passport (Canada didn’t count). She blamed her husband for this. After the youthful and curious— yet disappointing—want for sex dissipat- ed, she quickly discovered that her choice in a life-mate was unadventurous and cheap, his actions sewn to a stale predict- ability. She tried to find the good in this,