The Emerald Room Awaits ~ fiction by Paul Beckman

The fourteen-year-old twins watched Doris in her push-up bra lipstick blot rouge pluck pencil thicken shape all the while listening to Mel Torme and talking nonstop to them about which of the boys she hoped would come to her table and ask permission from her date to dance and then she stood and danced and twirled us, her younger two sisters, one at a time as we giggled and she laughed the throaty laugh that was leading to working its way to a smoker’s voice and her long hair flounced as she stood alone and twirled and then there was the beeping of a car horn and she had us run outside and tell the man with the fat cigar she was almost ready making herself beautiful for him and she sat back at her dressing table and penciled a beauty mark just to the side of her lips and her sisters came back breathless, each holding a shiny quarter, saying that she should hurry as they buttoned her dress because Harry didn’t want to miss time to show off his young twist since they all knew she had a curfew being only seventeen and she didn’t want to miss anything, the drinks the dinner, the back seat of the Buick, and especially her eleven pm curfew and chance her father grounding her and then maybe being fired by his boss.

Paul Beckman’s flash collection Kiss Kiss, (Truth Serum Press) was a finalist for the 2019 Indie Short Story Award competition. Paul was nominated by Citron Review for Best Micro fiction 2020, had a micro story selected for the 2018 Norton Anthology. He was one of the winners in the 2016 The Best Small Fictions. His story “Mom’s Goodbye” was chosen as the winner of the 2016 Fiction Southeast Editor’s Prize, and he was selected for the 2022 Microfiction anthology. Paul curates a monthly international FBomb flash fiction reading series via Zoom.