Self-Portrait With Cropped Hair

I believed that by being careful and using a sharp pair of scissors I could save myself the cost. I’m poor enough to suffer these debates. One part of me, a would-be patrician, finds the idea abhorrent. The other part, an abject failure and pauper, thinks enough of his manual skills and dexterity to brave the attempt.

“He’s courageous,” offers one of the audience sitting in the tiny theatre-in-the-round.

“But surely he must know things can go wrong,” states another audience-member, standing to make his case.

Stage-lights obscure the people’s faces. A technique I often use. That is to say, blaming the lights I save myself from describing faces.

“Perhaps he’s mining the meta-fictionists.”

“Are you mining the meta-fictionists, sir?”

I don’t know what these idiots are talking about. A story has a beginning, middle and end. Yet, most of what gets exchanged between humans can hardly be called a story.

“Or does it consist more of little snapshots, sir?”

“What’s your name?”

“Oh me, uh, my name is Robert.”

“Robert, I don’t know where you come from or what your state of mind is. Perhaps you’re paranoid. I don’t know.

“I can assure you, Robert isn’t paranoid, sir.”

“And you, what’s your name?”

“I’d rather not say, sir.”

“Sit down, both of you. Sit down. I’m feeling kind of sick.”

Indeed, a turbulence in my digestive tract had torqued its way into my lower intestine and lower. I wanted to run off the stage, but then, seeing how I had failed to actually construct a stage, I found myself at a loss.

“How are you going to get out of this one, sir?”

“I’d pay to see that, sir.”

With a snap of my fingers I silenced the voices, dimmed the stage lights (which I had included) and settled into the black void that is my time away from my desk.

Salvatore Difalco

Salvatore Difalco is the author of five books of fiction, including "The Mountie At Niagara Falls" (Anvil Press) a collection of microfiction.