A Long Celluloid Kiss
D. Harlan Wilson
T he photograph of a woman or a man snuck up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I was reading a book and didn't respond. The photograph tapped me again, harder.

I said, "Get away from me."

Now the photograph leapt over my shoulder. It landed right in the middle of the vintage hardcover copy of Kafka's collected stories that lay open on the edge of my desktop.

Smiling, the photograph said, "Shouldn't you be working on that proforma quotation for the FBI? Or is it for the KGB? Hmm. Anybody ever tell you you look like President Reagan? Well, except for your face. Nice tie, by the way. Funky. I think that tie's hypnotizing me! Say, what're you reading?"

"Cut the bullshit," I sneered. "I know why you're here?"

The photograph's smile broadened. "Well? What am I?"

"For the thousandth time, I don't know. You look as much like a man as you do a woman, okay? You're totally androgynous. I don't know what the hell you are. Now go away. Go back to your wall. Quit coming over here and asking me what you are."

The photograph made a frog face at me. I have a horrible weakness for frog faces. Defeated, I could do nothing but sigh and give in.

"Fine. You're a woman. Okay?"

"Okay," said the photograph and, as always, gave me a long celluloid kiss before returning to its place on the wall behind my back.

First published: May 2000
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