An Ill-fitting Mask

Robert Quick

Where the -@!# did my muse go?

Writer, dreamer, knight, shackled by entertainment . . . and people.


The mention of a hospital stabbed a spine-shaking spear of coldness through my middle. Gritting my teeth, I powered through the feeling. “No. Wait. I'm better now.”

Veronica had taken a step back from me, putting a little distance between us. Alfie, her dog, sat at her feet.

I knelt and held my hand out to him. He sniffed my fingers and licked the outside of my thumb. Looking up at her I said, “See, everything's okay now. I'm fine, really.”

The concerned look on her face never changed and I knew that I had failed in reassuring her. “Thank you, Veronica. I really do appreciate your help.”

I knew I couldn't be crazy all the time. I had to get a handle on whatever my life had become. “I'll be okay. You can go and I'll call you later.”

“How? You don't have my phone number.”

"That's true. For a second, I felt like we knew each other. You don't know me, do you?"

She let the question hang in the air for a long moment before saying, "Not at all."

"Me either." I said, trying for humor.

She didn't even smile.


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