Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview

The Cognac

I smoked a cigar just before taking my bath. My rubber ducky floated
around me. When I had finished I dried myself off and dressed. Then I
went to the living room and poured myself a shot of vodka. Cindy was coming
over in a half an hour. I wanted to be in good shape. When she arrived
I offered her a cocktail and she accepted. She told me about her job as an
accountant and I told her about mine as an insurance agent. We both
agreed that our bosses were idiots. We joked and laughed and had a
second drink. I felt I had known her a long time, when in fact this was
our first date. I grilled us some steaks for dinner. I poured us some
wine. We toasted each other. We laughed and ate. We talked about what
we liked to do in our spare time. We both liked to read. She liked novels
and I liked nonfiction. When we finished I cleared the table and got us
some cognac and dessert. She had beautiful eyes. I was attracted to her,
but knew I should wait. We talked about our childhoods, growing up in
the city, brothers and sisters. I asked her if her family was religious.
She said, “Not really. We went to church on Easter and Christmas, you
could hardly call that religious.” I said, “Same here.” And we laughed.
We talked politics and so on. The next thing I knew I woke up in bed
in the morning. I looked around for Cindy, but she wasn’t there. I got
up, holding my sore head. I went to the kitchen to make myself some
coffee. There was blood all over the floor. I panicked. I tried to
remember the end of the evening. I couldn’t. Maybe we fought, I wasn’t
sure. Maybe I stabbed her, but that seemed unlikely. I wasn’t a violent
man, I never had been before. But somebody got hurt and it wasn’t me.
Finally the phone rang. It was Cindy. “Are you all right? There’s blood
all over the floor,” I said. “Yes, I’m okay, but I stabbed something.
I don’t know what it was,” she said. “What do you mean,” I said. “It
had fangs and sharp claws and pointy ears and was the size of a small
dog, that’s all I know,” she said. “Was it a raccoon?” I said. “No,
I know what a raccoon looks like. I said I don’t know.” “Okay, well
it must be in the house, anyway. You stabbed it, I mean, it must be
dead,” I said. “I think it went back in one of those cognac bottles,”
she said. “Oh my God, I’m going to throw them all out immediately,” I
said. “Please don’t, I kind of liked it,” she said.  

   Nine Posthumous Poems

return to top