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Abby and Al in the Desert, Together

Before departing, Abby added Al’s name to her list of every gay friend of every gay friend in each western state on her itinerary. Three days in Reno nearly killed her: Pomegranate’s artificial-insemination daughters were the subject of a nasty custody battle between P and Maxine, a high-voltage attorney with all the money and meanness to win the twins to her side. Maxine was forty-one and barren, according to P.

At Al’s, she informed him, “Victor said you were cute.”

“Oh honey, I’m so sorry, but I’m taken!”

“I’m a lesbian, remember?”

“Ah yes, ye of the second date marriage.”

“And don’t forget the bitter divorce.”

“Like your lovely friends in Reno. How much nicer women are than men, etcetera etcetera.”

“I just hope those little girls aren’t too traumatized.”

“And why should they be any different from the children of warring hetero-parents?”

Abby rubbed her eyes. “I always want gay people to be different.”

“Better, you mean.”


“You’ll learn.”

She looked at him to see if he was being ironic. She couldn’t tell. “My girlfriend of six years fell in love with a man.”

“Is that why you’re on the road?”

“I told you: I’m on my way to a new job.”

“Is that why you got a new job?”

Abby was heading to D.C. to direct the Palestinian Anti-Defamation League, media matters division. In her interview she’d made sure to come out to her supervisor, Fariq, so there would be no misunderstanding later. “We’re all workaholics around here,” Fariq had said in response. “Gay, straight, whatever.”

“I suppose. I just couldn’t handle the idea that Fatima was suddenly bisexual. I’m a dyke. I thought she was, too.”

Al rose. “Ah, our beloved labeling system. This, too, shall pass. We’ll have tea, and you’ll tell me everything.”

Flash Fiction by Annie Dawid
Picture: Twins by Tom under CC BY 2.0
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Published in Spring 2017


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