In the morning, he stood in the doorway of the kitchen. Draped over the wooden captain’s chair where he usually ate and read the paper, was a very large jacket, an enormously large jacket, a jacket so large that its arms pooled on the floor like the final tributaries of some great body of water. He approached it. The shoulders of the jacket seemed supported by something unseen, as if two crouching men might be underneath; their heads in the shoulders, two men or two large apes, like as if two Western Lowland Gorillas from Gabon hid there. But there were no legs or paws beneath the table. There was nothing but the jacket. Looking at it, he scratched lazily at the side of his arm, moving his hand up under the loose sleeve of his gray cotton t shirt so that he stood with his arms crossed, holding his own average-sized shoulder. The cotton for his shirt could have come from Alabama or Mississippi or Arkansas or Uzbekistan. The jacket was green, a color like that of the emeralds of Columbia or like the exoskeleton of a Jewel Beetle, a small insect that a Malayan tiger might pass in its forest if Malayan tigers still existed which they almost don’t. The jacket fabric was a slippery-looking material created through chemical synthesis, with ribbed collar and cuffs in a similar color, also created through chemical synthesis. Across the left breast, sewn in white script, was the machine embroidered word, Coach. He noted as he sat down across from the jacket that it carried the faint whiff of pipe tobacco, cherry and hardwood, a pleasant enough scent that caused him to think about a guy he used to work with. But also, there was something else, something richer, darker, like Spanish olives redolent with garlic maybe, or good leather or the brine that seeps as you split the oyster and the abalone splinters, leaving opalescent flakes on your skin so that you are momentarily scaled in something shimmering and beautiful that is other than your own self. He was reminded of some fish he had once at a restaurant. It had come with the head on and needed deboning. He’d squirted lemon juice in the eye of the fish because in the moment that had seemed hilarious to him although now it really didn’t. “No need to rub salt,” he said aloud. The jacket did not move. He was sure of that and yet it had about it a vitality of sorts, as if it was looking at him, as if breathing, as if it was sentient. Maybe it was the way his heart was beating in his chest, like it always did, like he’d never noticed. He began to think about teeth, the ones in his mouth which he licked with his tongue, and the ones in the mouths of others. He’d planned to fry up a mess of eggs and bacon which would mean turning his back on the jacket whom he’d begun to think of as sort of a guest. And it seemed rude to appear not to include it in his activities. He poured himself a bowl of cereal, set the box down where the jacket could see it, and ate without saying anything through the milk and yellow corn crunch. Then he said, “There’s a puzzle on the box, it’s a maze. You don’t win anything though, it’s just for fun.” Sitting opposite where he usually sat gave him a new perspective. Beyond the jacket, he could see down the hallway to the living room of his apartment. There, a knocked-over lamp lay as if exhausted from some struggle. He could see light flickering which meant the television was on with the sound turned down. He knew this meant that there were electrical charge carriers at work providing alternating current continuously. Not that that answered any questions. He glanced back at the jacket which sat patiently. It was not his jacket. Where had it come from? Had someone come into his apartment while he slept? Was someone else in his apartment now? Had he acquired the jacket and not remembered? Could he be larger than he thought? Was he Coach? He stood up from the table and slammed the palm of one hand against its surface. The bowl and spoon jumped, the jacket did not. Something is happening in the wires, he thought, charge is moving. He wondered from what distance it was possible to hear bees swarming from their hive as they followed their queen to some new destination. He put on the jacket. It fit just fine. He went out into the world feeling shiny and new, electric. And cool as a sparkling, iridescent, uncaught fish. Can you imagine what that would feel like?
-- Cecilia Pinto is a writer whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. She is delighted that her story has found a home here at Jet Fuel Review. She feels as if her heart were a blossoming flower.