Fiction: Names and Cigarettes

BY KYLE ELLINGSON

 

It’s nicely blindsiding when someone whom you didn’t expect to remembers your name. It’s as if he or she is saying, We are equals. Now and then someone memorizes your name just to flatter you. Maybe he requires something in return. Maybe he wants to look like he knows you. Maybe he just intends for passersby to think he has various friends, and that you’re one of them. You remember his name, too, this guy, but only as the name of someone worth avoiding, and telling loved ones to avoid. You never let on that you know his name. You are tidy about withholding encouragements.

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