Sleepingfish net

../ ]  [N/09.01.11] [ Bait by Brian Beise ] + N/09.01.14 ]

I found a manuscript titled My Life with a photo of my mother paper-clipped to the cover-page, full of things that maybe should be true.

There’s a chapter that makes it seem my father didn’t leave us, but was mugged on the subway and lost most of his memories, and lives three stops from our old apartment and rides every day looking for his attackers, the faces of whom he’s confused with mine and my brother’s. If he ever meets us he’ll try to kill us.

There’s another that tells about a lakehouse we never actually owned but I can see the dock where Mom never actually taught me to run the hook down a cricket’s back, saying how catching fish is like falling asleep on a train.

I’d heard mom still lived about an hour away, where at night she could hear freight trains moving through back yards like a blue whale beneath rowboats. I took the manuscript out to see her. There she sat, reading a book titled My Life with a picture of me grinning on the cover. When we’d said our hellos she asked me if I really had an illegitimate child currently attending preschool in Nevada. I asked to see the book, apparently my biography. She took hers in hand and from there we were alone, and the pages gleamed.

The last chapters are the same; we hunt for the fraudulent writer, Mom and I, and we stop to eat at a diner, looking suspiciously around us, and Mom says to me that she hopes we don’t catch him so we can have lunch again tomorrow.

Brian Beise

Brian Beise's work has appeared in Monkeybicycle and a chapbook of his stories is forthcoming from Paper Hero Press. He was born in Jackson, Mississippi and attended EABJM, a Bilingual school in Paris. He is currently working toward a bachelor's degree in creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he lives with his wife and kitten.

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