Writer in Residence · 03/16/2011

"Rent Day," and "Nancy Spain"

Rent Day

Through the window,
mother, slow-dancing
with the landlord.
Their eyes closed,
he holds one
of her hands
to his chest.
Father’s wireless
on the shelf.

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Nancy Spain

There’s a big old espresso machine behind the bar and nobody speaks when it’s in action because it sounds like a steam train in full throttle. France, 1987. It’s where, when, I meet the man who calls himself Le Grecque.

Le Grecque was born in Greece, had come to France on his way to fight Franco in Spain. He said it like that, “To fight Franco,” like it was personal, just the two of them. Nineteen thirty something. It’s where, when, Le Grecque meets an Irish girl, Nancy. His eyes say S t u f f. The machine hisses, pumps.

“I stayed,” says Le Grecque “and Nancy continued on, to Spain,” We fan our hands through steam like we’re waving her goodbye.

Nancy fights Franco. She lives through it, marries, is widowed and inherits a small hotel. She writes a book called A Hotel in Spain.

“All before you were born. Perhaps before your father was born. In the book there was a man called The Greek,” he says. “He took a bullet in Seville and died in Nancy’s arms. So long ago. I used to love how her eyes conspired with the lines at her mouth; how her voice was so piano.”

Le Grecque is quiet and I leave him with his thoughts. A waiter whispers an order across the counter. The machine starts up again.

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Kevin O’Cuinn comes from Dublin. He is fiction editor at Word Riot. Links to his work can be found at Kevsville.

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posted by Ethel Rohan