NYC gastropub, West Village, the Wednesday special: fresh-caught tuna. The bread homemade, the décor rustic.

The tuna, angry.  Hopped up on pure adrenaline from the moment just before. The bed of white beans and arugula didn’t change this.

The man had come in after the lunch rush, almost two. He wanted to talk to his partner in a comfortable (but not too comfortable) setting (but not too set).  

            Far away and deep beneath, a tuna hunted. In the moment of the net, of the kill, that very last moment, the tuna filled with what now filled a balding man on a Wednesday, in a gastropub, with his lover.

            Pure adrenal rage, the rage of pursuit, of prey, of cold water and primal desire. His face flushed purple. His fork trembled. He could feel his heart rate speed up to a rate to increase his velocity in the water. Across from him, the small voice echoed.

            “Daryl?”

            Two other diners choked by the display case. Someone yelled about tuna. Someone yelled about an ambulance.

            When the ERT with the epinephrine, the flashing lights and the sudden commotion arrived, the man flopped away, open-mouthed, from help.

            He wanted to keep hunting.

 


Kristie Betts Letter's work has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The North Dakota Quarterly, Washington Square, Passages North, and The Southern Humanities Review. Her novel Snow and White was just picked up by KT Literary. She's won several teaching awards for forcing Hamlet on high school seniors, and  also plays a mean game of pub trivia.