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Salt 

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I’m terrible at communicating. That’s what my late wife told me.

I told her to fuck off, drained our bank account, and took my ass to Fiji. It was her lawyer who called to tell me she had died on the subway—heart attack, forty-seven years old. He said, “I’m sorry for your loss.” I heard, I’m sorry she croaked before she could divorce your ass and pay me.

I hung up and spent fifty bucks at the bar.

Fifty at the bar. Sixty at the craps table. That’s where I watched my life go to shit. About the time Congress had the country in a stalemate (Is your government broken? Turn it off and back on again!) I was rolling in bills. I swear, the ATM was spitting them back at me.

I walked down to the ocean—sunset, couples walking hand in hand—thought about drowning myself, decided I’d stick with that low sodium diet.

A girl was crawling toward me on all fours, in a bikini bottom and a baggy tee shirt with a collage of twisted da Vinci art on the back—Mona Lisa with vampire fangs, The Last Supper with zombie disciples. She grappled with my sandal for a moment before looking up at me, wide-eyed.

“I’m so sorry! I lost my glasses, and I’m almost blind without them!”

She lifted her rickety form off the ground. Stumbled. I caught her, felt her hand slip into my back pocket, pretended I didn’t.

“That’s alright. Hey, why don’t I just walk you out to the main road. Find you a cab?”

“No, no, I think I’ll be alright.”

Yeah, I bet you will. As she skipped away, I watched her round thighs under that bikini bottom and wondered whether she was eighteen. I wondered which of us was worse.

I stood on the beach a few more minutes, watched the waves roll in, thought about drowning myself, remembered I was afraid of water.

I walked into an oceanside bar and ordered a shot of tequila—paid with a ten I had stuffed in my front pocket. The same girl was standing at the bar not ten feet from me, clinging to a man with big arms and a sharp tan line—surfer. A quick bite of jealousy, and then I laughed out loud as she reached into his back pocket.

I saw my wallet under a pool table on the way out, didn’t stop to pick it up. I looked at the ocean one more time, thought I might drown myself.

A heart attack would probably be nicer.

Sometimes I miss my wife. She may have turned me into a bitter old shit, but she kept me alive. Communicate, baby, communicate.

Ah, fuck it. I’ll grab a lime and swim for New York. Who doesn’t love a little salt with tequila?

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Victoria is an East Tennessee native, currently studying English and playing softball at Campbell University. When she’s not writing, she can be found in a hammock under a shady tree. Her short fiction has recently appeared in Lazy Day Writing and Sweatpants & Coffee and is forthcoming from Apeiron Review and Zeit Haus. For links to her work, visit http://victoria-griffin.weebly.com.

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