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Darlene Eliot

The Canceling of Rufus T. Firefly

He knew that look: the glance down and back again without smiling or blinking or laughing at his jokes, which were usually well-timed but powerless in the face of I-Want-A-Divorce and, with this new twist, he had three seconds to get her out of the rain-soaked car, past the wind-blown Monterey Cypresses, into the warmth of the Spanish style restaurant with the best food on Yelp, the best cliffside view, and the most captivating ghost on the Central Coast—captivating and murdered and torn from her lover’s arms—which was precisely why he chose it; a reminder of the ridiculous way they met, dragged to a 1920’s Murder Mystery Theater by their respective dates (who they respectfully dumped afterwards); rolling their eyes at the cloak-and-dagger plot, laughing at the George-Martha-George-Martha chaos while he raised his eyebrows and made her laugh and the rest looked for clues; saying he could dance with her until the cows came home while the rest discussed the positioning of the body and everything faded except the sound of her laugh, her snort, her open-mouthed smile, and the sequins of her flapper dress, which disintegrated into a t-shirt and jeans in the passenger seat with one second left for him to pull her through rain to a fireside table, the reading of a menu, waves crashing below, and a server saying the Blue Lady might appear before dessert, giving him a few more desperate seconds to think of another joke.

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