Slip Alley XXIX

On a moonless evening
smart phone plays
a melancholy tune,
Sveta answers
with surprise, her editor
calling at dinner,
perhaps he’s lonely.

He tells her to pack a case,
light summer clothes,
and meet him at the airport
poste haste,
he has her passport with the visa,
the plane leaves in four hours.

Sveta packs reminiscing:
a scene unfolds, a restaurant
with palms and mahogany tables,
an altar by the door
with cognac bottles,
cigarettes, and dark chocolates,
rich red wallpaper
with a coin design
adorns the walls,
a band plays
the Internationale,
men in elegant suits dance
with young women
ruby lipped
in silk sheath dresses,
hushed conversations;
the great game,
the iron curtain’s fall,
the arrogance of the USA
and Diem’s assassination.

Her novella
is approaching its coda.
What remains is to tie
the threads
yet leave some hanging…

Her editor is clear on that,
not all should be resolved.
He has given her a tight deadline,
now he wants
her to go with him
on a holiday
to Hanoi when
time is running out.

She sighs.
She will tell him
at the airport
that the deadline
must be extended,
she cannot write
in a hotel room
away from home.


Somewhere else,
someone scribbles
on a napkin:
For each rival you eliminate
you shall receive
ten thousand dollars…

4 thoughts on “Slip Alley XXIX

  1. Oh, I do like this one alot! So filled with mystery, intrigue..and most of all anticipation! That restaurant!…so old world, and I was there dancing in my own sheath dress, eating the dark chocolates…Sveta, of course, takes on even more dimension now as a writer…to me, of all the chapters, this is probably the most intriguing…because it seems a new threshhold of some kind, and I anticipate all kinds of changes, beginnings. Bravo!

  2. I love how writers inspire one another…you certainly have inspired me many times and for that I thank you..a thousand-fold. :))

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