inside the emerald, a short story

still relevant, unfortunately

Kimberly Townsend Palmer

illustration inside the emerald utah-mountain-man_feillustration inside the emerald Oval Emerald 1.77ct

(originally published in Snake Nation Review)

Inside the Emerald

Brett sat on my kitchen counter — ancient, mottled pink and gray Formica — wearing tight corduroy jeans, cut off at mid-thigh. My eyes couldn’t stay away from his meaty, shaved bicyclist’s legs, hanging there, swaying, his feet clad in hiking boots. Brett’s bulk scared me, but on another level it seemed clownish. He was trying to seduce me, but it wasn’t working. He couldn’t get things moving: he seemed pendulous, awkward.

Besides which, I couldn’t stand his beard. It was one of those really long ones; it touched his chest. It made me think of old age, of death and decomposition and depressing black-and- white movies. He looked freakish, a cultural throwback; the medieval flagellant, the cold-weather mountain man.

“Let’s have a love affair,” he said. His voice was pinched, immobilized in the hairs of his nose, but also…

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