Tag Archive: fouquet


Months ago, I was contemplating my impending marriage, when I heard stomping upstairs.

“En Garde,” a voice declared.

It wasn’t my business, but I found myself creeping up the staircase to the third floor. Crouching down, I peered through the keyhole.

Having seen the apartment before, I was surprised by its present oddity. The new tenants furnished it entirely in white. Blanche walls accommodated large frameless mirrors. Plush ecru carpeting provided a base for eggshell hued sofas and end tables, along with a pristine white baby grand piano. However, they were not tickling the ivories tonight. They were fencing.

I focused on the two slender figures, dressed completely in black, lunging back and forth. They were almost indistinguishable. Their pale faces were the only flesh revealed; their long black ponytails slapped their backs as they attacked and retreated, foils within inches of one another.

“Dirty Bitch.”

“Filthy Cunt.”

Their lunges quickened; foils struck.

“Nasty Whore.”

“Fat Ass.”

One charged, pressing the foil’s bulbous rubber tip to her opponent’s chest.

“Touché. No riposte.” She released her weapon.

The other dropped hers and stepped closer. She pulled the elastic band, freeing her long hair. The gesture was reciprocated. A moment elapsed before a deep kiss. In a flurry, clothes were thrown until both stood wearing only short black gloves. They acted in unison. A gloved finger traced a nipple and the other followed. Caressing and licking each other, they purred.

“Valentina Lenore.”

“Lenore Valentina.”

I quietly descended the staircase.

My fiancé pressed me to move in with him.  I would’ve proceeded with our plans, but I longed to know more of the two upstairs.

The opportunity presented itself.

Opening the gate, I saw them talking to our landlady in the carriageway. Black gloves animated every comment. They quickly waved before disappearing into the stairwell.

I said, “I’m glad I caught you. I have the rent.”

She squinted. “Hello. Will you really be leaving at the end of your lease?”

“I’m afraid so.” I opened my checkbook. “Valentina and Lenore seemed in a hurry.”

“Expecting their manicurist. Hand models, you know?”

“Ah, the gloves.”

“They were runway models in New York.” She accepted the check and brought it close to her face. “Nice sisters. Good tenants.”

“Oh, they’re not sisters. Just emulate one another, right?”

“Identical twins.”

“Is that what they told you?”

“They needn’t. My eyes aren’t that bad.”

“Of course,” I replied.

As the wedding neared, he asked me to start packing, but I wanted to stay in the building.

The other night, I snuck up and listened at their door.

“You’ve been sneaking food, Lenore. The evidence is in the trash.”

“Prove it. Put your hands in the can,” she dared.

“Shall I get the scale? Measure your hips? This is serious. Our metabolisms will shift if we’re not eating exactly the same. You will get fat.”

Regurgitation. While Lenore lost her extra calories in the toilet, the main door suddenly opened. Valentina stared at me.

“Prefer a better view?” she asked, leading me into their apartment.

The next morning, I renewed my lease.

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“Would you eat Mosi?” Darren placed a seed between his teeth. The African Gray perched upon his wrist accepted it with his beak.

Carl defended his earlier entrée from the restaurant. “I don’t consider chicken to be in the same class as your Mosi.”

Julian sneezed. “Excuse me.” He resented this drama his lover, Darren, was creating. He tried to hide the bruises Darren inflicted, but Carl caught sight of a particularly deep one.

“Gesundheit,” Darren said.

“Gesundheit,” the African Gray repeated. “Gesundheit.”

Ruth detested this awkwardness in the dark bungalow.  Carl had shared with her the St. Maarten postcards sent from his brother Julian. This was supposed to be a visit and a vacation, not an intervention. She touched her stomach.

Darren brought Mosi to his cage. He draped a piano shawl over it, then grabbed Julian tightly around the arm. “What are we going to do?”

Julian said, “We shouldn’t be doing this in front of them.”

“Because of them,” he replied nastily.

*

Morning provided a vivid view of the island. Darren suggested Ruth join him for a boat ride. Carl encouraged her, wanting time with his brother. Apparently Julian was in another unhealthy relationship. He felt compelled to buy him a ticket off the island.

Darren steered the boat aggressively. Ruth’s face stung in the wind. She struggled to steady herself. The vessel hit every wave with choppy, violent precision.

*

Carl brought towels to the bathroom. The blood was immense.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked.

Clenching her legs, Ruth shook. “It wasn’t the right time. You were worried about Julian; I didn’t know if you were ready to be a father.” She whispered,  “I think he knew. I think this was deliberate.”

Darren strolled the hallway. “Revolting.”

“Revolting,” the African Gray repeated. “Revolting.”

***

Mirror by Kristin Fouquet

Some identical twins want independence. Not Francesca and me. We were indistinguishable on the outside and on the inside, we shared an identity. Before the accident, we communicated telepathically.

We should have taken the bus home that day. When Byron offered us a ride, I couldn’t resist.  His car didn’t have seat belts and it was always breaking down, but there was nothing wrong with Byron. I thought he was perfect.

Without a word, Francesca climbed in back. I knew she disapproved.

As he drove, Byron continually turned to me. He flirted and I responded. Our eyes were momentarily locked as he ran the red light. Francesca leaned forward and grabbed my shoulders, violently pulling me back, as we crashed into the driver’s side of a car. I would have gone through the windshield had she not clung to me. As we made impact, the metal lever on the back of my seat ground into her shin and her right patella shattered against the door.

The morphine gives her relief and she now walks with a cane. Yet, our connection is lost. As I ran my finger over the indentation on Francesca’s tibia, I knew what I had to do.

I grip the hammer over my right leg. We will be identical again. This will save us.

The Night Gardener by Kristin Fouquet

The neighborhood teens called her a witch. There was no account of her being seen during the day and never a light burning in her decaying mansion. Their parents warned them to leave the reclusive widow alone, but they wouldn’t listen. Every evening for months, they waited for her to come out of her dark house and work in the garden. By amber lantern and on hands and knees, she weeded, dug, and planted in the cold soil. The teens would creep close to her vine covered iron fence then shine bright flashlights on her face.

“No light! S’il vous plait.” Her plea in a shaky French accent was always ignored. “My eyes,” she screeched.

They cackled and gave her their nightly shrill taunts. “Witch, witch, witch.”

She ducked her head into the crook of her elbow, the dark bell sleeve covering her eyes, until they left.

Among her moonflowers and night blooming cereus, Veuve Hébert found her most toxic white blossoms. The angel’s trumpets and oleander will make a poisonous solution to serve her vengeance. Wearing her darkest sunglasses, she will look beyond their painful flashlights and spray revenge into their eyes.

Tomorrow evening, Veuve Hébert will be waiting.

The Fumes by Kristin Fouquet

Warned for decades, we still contaminated the air. I guess we could point the finger at big business burning off industrial pollutants, if it made us feel better, but I suspect we all had a hand in it.

I have to suit up to venture outside. No one can live for more then a few seconds out there without wearing the gear. I’m seeking the most unlawful substance- smoke.

Downtown, I find my destination and go through one door, then another to the stabilization room. I remove my gear and enter the tunnel. In the distance a figure waves me forward. No clearance needed, I’m a regular.

The walls sweat; the air is a giant pocket of smoke. As I edge in, several men hunch over smoking. This is my camorra. One hands me a pair of surgical gloves and a cigarette. Lars is a greasy younger man with nervous shaky hands. “Hey, how ya doin’?”

I nod, drag on my smoke.

He creeps closer. “You know, I heard of this older lady, like around your age. She runs this smoking parlor where you can smoke anything- cigars even.”

I frown. “That’s a myth, Lars. I’ve heard it for years. Sorry, my friend. There are only these caves.”

“Well, I heard they’re watching some of the caves.”

I shrug, unaffected. I’ve heard this for almost as long.

I peel off the skin-like gloves, suit up, and leave. Outside, I’m too relaxed and unguarded when a stranger bumps into me.

He declares, “As a smoker, you are a murderer.”

Four uniformed men approach us. I’m stripped of my protective gear.

They’re really beautiful; pink and azure ribbons swirling all around me. Before I drop to my knees, I smell something sweet.