Lisa Boylan Sam Flute
He goes and changes into cutoffs and dives in from the side. His brother disappears. Sam goes underwater and emerges, like a seal in front of me, smiling. He picks me up, weightless in water, and says, “Where have I been all of your life?” One day I decide I am going to call Sam. His sister Bridget answers. She laughs and says, “Sam’s not here!” Gleefully, the way all little sisters do. “He’s not here!” It’s like a taunt from a fairy-tale gnome. “Can I leave a message?” I know better, but it’s worth a try. She says, “He’s down at our place in St. Michael’s.” What am I supposed to do with this information? “Do you have a number down there?” “Mooooom, Sammy’s girlfriend wants the number down at the Bay.” “This is Mrs. Flute, may I ask who’s calling?” Didn’t you hear your daughter? This is the tramp you met in the kitchen, the girl who inhabits your house, pool, and son’s bed while you’re sleeping. I haven’t thought of myself as Sam’s girlfriend. “Mrs. Flute, hi this is Alice, I was wondering if I could have the number of your house at the Bay. I’d like to talk to Sam.” “All right,” she answers, a little frostily, and gives me the number. I call and the phone rings about ten times. Sam answers. He says, “Where are you?” “In Washington.” In the background, a purring, sullen, pouty voice demands, “Sam?” “Alice…” I hang up. He calls back, “Don’t you ever hang up on me.” I’ve never heard him mad before. I hang up, really loud this time. Slam the phone down on the receiver. I am admittedly incorporating some learned movie star-style behavior. Faye Dunaway, absolute, resolute, pissed, unyielding. He calls back, I reach for the receiver, then halt. Let it ring. It rings and rings. And I do not answer, Sam I am. Do not do not do not. I decide I don’t want to look at the phone anymore so I put on shorts, baby oil and take a stack of magazines out into my mother’s back yard. I sit on a taupe lawn chair and paint my toenails fire engine red. I sip a
Story I wrote about Tucumcari in an anthology of DC women's writers.