Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

My Girlfriend the Mentalist

by Luc Reid

Note from the author: Although my girlfriend does read my mind sometimes, this story is not about either one of us. Occasional mind-reading is fun and exciting; it’s only constant mind-reading that’s a problem.

“That’s sweet that you like me better,” Leanne said, reading my thoughts as a jogger passed us, “but you’re right: she has a nicer ass.”

It was great that Leanne always told me what was on her mind, but I found it harder to like hearing what was on my mind. Which, unfortunately, she knew. It was also impossible to surprise her.

“But I don’t need surprises,” she said. We were walking in the postage stamp-sized park two blocks from our apartment on a Sunday morning. “Believe me, I get enough surprises just hearing what people think. The old guy at the Korner Mart yesterday: he wanted to smear–”

“Look: ducks!” I said. It was true, there were actually two ducks today in the bathtub-sized pond in the middle of the tiny park. Of course, I was just changing the subject.

“Sorry,” she said. “I shouldn’t bring things like that up.”

As usual, she ignored what I said and responded to what I thought. It wasn’t even a matter of privacy: it was a matter of being able to conduct a relationship instead of having my instincts conduct it for me. For just a while, I wanted her out of my head. And she’d probably just overheard that thought, proving the importance of my point. God, I seriously needed to break up with her.

Leanne looked at me disgustedly. “Fine,” she said. “You … just … fine!”

She strode off in the direction we’d come. She was probably starting to cry already, and knowing that I knew that probably was making her cry even harder.

“Hey, get back here!” I shouted after her.

She turned, but shook her head furiously. Her tears glimmered on her cheeks. “I know what you think,” she said.

“Thinking isn’t the same as deciding,” I said, walking toward her. “If you’re going to hear everything I think, fine, but some of that stuff is crap.”

“It’s not crap!” she said. “You thought–”

I pictured crap, a big, gloppy pile of it. She snorted with laughter that she was trying not to have and made an I’m-really-amused-but-I’m-trying-to-be-angry face.

“Come on, Houdini,” I went up and took her hand. “You didn’t even look at the ducks.”

The ducks had flown away when we went back to the pond, but I remembered what they had looked like for us both, and that was almost as good.

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2 Responses to “My Girlfriend the Mentalist”

  1. David Says:

    April 16th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Very sweet. Impractical, I think, (for a long-term relationship) but sweet.

  2. Luc Reid Says:

    April 16th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks, David. I don’t know whether I think it’s possible they could stay together or not, but I kind of hope so. I think this incident could maybe be the one where things get to the next level (or the beginning of a real breakup, if you lean that way in expectation).