A WELL-KEPT SECRET

An Ode to Hills Like White Elephants

The streets across Denver were long and white. It was dry and the city was desolate, as it tends to get in winter. There was an hour or two to kill before the train came to Union Station before heading to Chicago. The couple leaned on the counter of Leela’s Cafe and Bar.
“Two PBR’s,” said the woman to the bartender. The bartender returned with them and popped one of the caps off.
“Queen of hearts,” said the woman.
“Lower, same suit,” said the bartender.
“Ten of hearts?”
“Nope, jack of hearts,” the bartender said, popping the other cap off, “and yours?”
“What?” said the young man.
The young woman showed him the top of the cap – J and a heart.
“You try to guess the card on the top of the cap. You guess once, and she’ll tell you higher or lower, and then if you get it right, your next beer is free,”
“9 of diamonds…” the young man said to the bartender.
“Yep,” said the bartender.
“Beginner’s luck,” said the woman, “can we get a couple coffees too?”
“Coffee and beer?” said the young man.
“It’s a Denver thing,” said the woman.
The man and the young woman found a table and they sat down. The man stared out the window at the snow falling and the dead streets of a Queen City.
“It’s beautiful,”
“Yeah,” said the woman, drinking her beer.
“Should you be doing that, Kat?”
“My mom did, and look, I’m just fine,”
“Okay,”
“I’m not planning to get belligerent or anything. Sounds like they gave you a solid dose of scaremongering at NYU,”
“I wasn’t trying to preach,”
“I’m sorry. Yeah, it is pretty outside,” said the woman, downing the rest of her beer.
“It’s just white. It’s all white, but i can’t look away. I feel like i’m trying to search for something through the haze,”
“You do sound like a writer…”
“You’re the writer…”
“Travel writer…” said the woman, “That just means they give me an allowance to go write about the strange troubles i get into in strange cities,”
“And strange affairs with strange men,”
“What does that mean?”
“It was just a joke. That’s all,”
“The way you’re drinking that beer is the joke,” said the woman, “do you want a nipple for that thing?”
“What?”
“You’re nursing it. You’re nursing your beer,”
“Oh,” the young man smiled his head turned downward on the table. The music was some girl with a jazzy voice singing over her acoustic guitar. The woman put her hand over the young man’s.
“I love you,”
“I know,”
“Do you like Denver?”
“I love it. It feels like a well-kept secret. Like New York if no one knew where New York was,”
“Huh…”
“I’m sorry; i don’t mean to compare everything to New York,”
“No, i get it. You’ve been there your whole life. I must admit though, it was funny to see you get so excited about seeing a Home Depot,”
“I’m sorry; I’d never seen one before,”
“No, it was charming…” the woman stood up, leaning against the back of her chair, “should we have another drink?”
“I guess that would be okay…” said the young man.
The cold air rushed in along with a group of street kids. The woman walked to the bar and ordered the drinks.
The young man pulled out his phone and checked how long he had. The woman looked back at the bar and saw him. He just smiled and waved at her, like they were meeting for the first time. CONTINUE READING ON GUERRILLA GRAFFITI MAGAZINE.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. Author of Stupid Flowers, out now through Punch Drunk Press.

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