John Bauer
L azo Street. Stone building on corner reads Maria Cibotai Street. Map near bed beneath wallet and passport. "Gde Lazo?" Maybe. A coin, 25 Bani, from pocket, but number? 24-8 something. Faded red bus opens its doors. Rush of voices-Russian? Romanian? Mercedes honks. Rooster crows.
Father cuts off their heads. Boiling water; plucking feathers. Good eating for weeks. Then Lentils and potatoes. "I can't eat another cheese sandwich," Father screams. Mother beat. Tuna that week for lunch.
Mateevici Street. Traffic coming fast over hill. Dog darts across.
Buster dead in arms. Bawling like a baby feels good. Killed best friend. Too old. Not convenient.
Tall grass and lots of trees. Faded amusement rides; no people, just music, Elton John. Wrong way.
Steps leading down. Subway? "F" on door. Long legs and no bra appears. Stale sweet. Toilets. Holes in ground. Turns away.
Back track. Which way?
How long? Block? Two?
Columna Street. A church domed like the Jews but built like the Catholics. God, maybe, but no Christ. On to bigger things. Who cares about ants?
When did he leave? Half hour?
Statue. 1457 to 1506- Stefan Col Mare. Who'd remember? She had a job. Who was he? Cubicle and meetings. Can't go back.
Fountain. Pushkin Park! Block from apartment.
Old men playing checkers. Each gets a game. A pact, unspoken. Harder with dad getting old.
Elevator: twelve buttons and seven floors. Finish the painting or read some Zen. No, laughter in apartment. Billy and Sue for cards.

First published: October 1997