The Quotable

Detours in the Map of Love

The note had been wedged between the seat and the armrest of Elena’s Camaro, a small slip of blue paper.

What I’ll do when Charley dies

 1.Sell the house.

 2. Move to Bermuda.

Bermuda? Charlie thought. What did she know about Bermuda? They never traveled. He traveled so much on the job all he wanted to do when he took a few days off was lie down or go to a movie.

3.Get a tummy tuck.

Jesus! Why not just eat less?

4. Meet a rich guy.

Good luck.

The words reappeared during Charley’s PowerPoint presentation at Visa on Identity Theft — just a word or three, highlighted from behind. Fraud losses became “meet a rich guy.”  He caught himself before he misspoke. The word “die” showed up in the center of a red light on the way home.

“I hope you were careful with my car, Charley.” Elena shoved a plate of white fish, green beans and rice in front of him.

“No choice. Two mile an hour traffic.”

“When will your car be fixed?


Elena complained, in her narrow, nasal voice about the neighbor’s annoying tree that shaded their plot of dirt back yard. “The yard could be green and beautiful if you ever planted grass.”

He spelled out fat ass with the green beans in the center of his plate. She continued her one way dialogue as he carried his plate to the sink and placed it carefully in the gleaming white basin. She was a neat freak. You could eat off the floor in this house.

Charley went to the garage and threw some darts. He kept a bottle of Grey Goose behind a bucket — a few swigs settled the burning sensation under his breastbone and the low rush of anger in his head. She had her plans. He had his.

He threw darts and drank until he was sure she was asleep. Then he played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Using several cheat programs, he gave himself all the money he wanted and all the weapons. He squashed people and picked up whores and did missions until he was wasted in a combustible moment.

The next day instead of picking up his car, he drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to a parking lot. He’d already emptied their checking and savings accounts. He wrote a fake million-dollar deposit slip, which he crumpled a few times and left sticking out from under the passenger seat where Elena was sure to spot it.

He’d leave the car parked with the motor running. Bridge jumper, they’d think. Hail a cab and head for the airport. Kuala Lumpur. Thailand. Where the women were pretty and happy and had no demands. Women who spoke no English.  Perfect.



Marion de Booy Wentzien has twice been a recipient of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and has won the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s New Letters Literary Award. The Chicago Humanities for the Arts recently presented one of her stories in their Stories on Stage program. Her stories have appeared in Seventeen Magazine, Blue Penny Quarterly, The San Francisco Chronicle and Scholastic Books, Story Magazine, The Sonora Review, Prime Number and other literary magazines.

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The Quotable Issue 3 - Transformation