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Mark Budman

"What will you do when I die?"

"Why would you die?" Len was drowning in his dream already, and she drew him out by his receding hair.

"No one is immortal." She reached over him and pulled the last Winston from a pack on his night table. "Everybody dies once in a blue moon. It's just like breathing under water. You can hold your breath for only so long."

He yawned. His had trouble keeping his eyes open. "I would go in the basement and bang my head against the wall."

She dragged on an unlit cigarette.

"You are a clown," she told him. "You have always been a clown."

"Why do you love me so much, then?"

"Because my parents took me to the circus when I was a little girl."

He opened his eyes wide. He saw her soft, tired face, illuminated by the giant moon that hung low outside their window. He prayed he'd rather gone color blind, but he knew he hadn't made a mistake recognizing the color. He wept, and a cloud devoured the moon forever.


Mark Budman was born and raised in the former Soviet Union. His fiction and poetry has appeared or is scheduled to appear in Mississippi Review, Virginia Quarterly, Exquisite Corpse, Happy, Web Del Sol's In Posse, La Petite Zine, Parting Gifts, and many other magazines in the US, Canada, England and Australia. Exquisite Corpse nominated him for the Pushcart Prize in 2000. He is the publisher of a flash (short-shorts) fiction magazine Vestal Review, one of Web Del Sol's Hot Link and a LitLink listing.

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