To See One
by Lee Smiley
“You’re sure this will work?”
Art looked at the glass on the table, watching the way the light from the neon above the bar rippled across the liquid like a chill. He reached out toward it, hesitated, picked it up. It felt heavy, as though the wine inside carried the weight of his decision.
“If you prepared it just as I instructed,” the old woman said, her words soaked in Hungarian, “then it will work.”
“I’ll be able to see her then? See her and . . . ask her why she did it?
“You will be able to see her,” the crone assured him.
Art lifted the glass to his nose and inhaled. The bouquet was cloying, and tinged with subtle hints of the other ingredients—assorted powders and herbs—that the woman had given him. He swirled it, watching the vortex he created and wanting to dive in, to drown in that wine until he knew why Lisa had jumped from their balcony with a rope tied around her neck.
He opened his mouth and threw down the wine in one gulp. At once, his throat contracted as though it was he who now had the rope strangling him. He fell of the chair, the sound of his body crashing to the floor the only one he could make.
“Funny thing about the dead,” the woman said, leaning over the table with a toothless smile. “You have to be one to see one.”