Glen Pourciau ~ Pour

Look who’s here,” a stranger says to us and pulls out a chair and sits at our table. Looks to be in his late six­ties, ball­cap with a worn bill, wire-rimmed glass­es, three-day’s sil­very growth, close-cut hair on the sides. He waves at a serv­er and asks for a cup of black cof­fee. “Good meet­ing you at the Brockways last week, good to be around like-mind­ed peo­ple, peo­ple you can speak to with­out fear of an erup­tion of bad will. There’s noth­ing worse than find­ing your­self in a room where you’re not free to speak your mind. You feel like you’re trapped in a tight space and some­thing deep inside you wants to jump out so you can live your life in free­dom again. I con­stant­ly want to ask peo­ple if they’re sure they know where their minds are tak­ing them.” The serv­er brings his cof­fee, asks if he wants a menu. “Not yet,” he says. “If you haven’t already, you should look up the Brockways on social media. They’ve got some neck snap­pers on there that will keep you think­ing for days. I appre­ci­ate your let­ting me share about my son Rob. He’s just going through a dif­fi­cult stretch. He’s young and gets frus­trat­ed, which is under­stand­able. I mean it’s good to have strong con­vic­tions, but he needs to show more con­trol, chan­nel his ener­gy so he doesn’t get him­self arrest­ed. He needs to be aware how act­ing out his anger will lim­it him in the future, which will only lead to deep­er frus­tra­tion. So how are you guys doing?” We’re reluc­tant to tell him. Seeing the con­fu­sion on our faces he grows uneasy, gives us a clos­er look. “Are you the Costellos? You’re not, are you? Why didn’t you say some­thing? If you think you can know what I’m think­ing, I’m telling you that peo­ple who think they know what I’m think­ing should ask them­selves how much they know what they’re think­ing. You’ve got ideas crawl­ing around beneath your so-called con­scious­ness that you don’t even know are there. You think I don’t know you and there­fore can’t see you or under­stand you, but the truth is that think­ing you know who you are is the exact thing that keeps you from see­ing and under­stand­ing who you real­ly are. Don’t think I don’t know what I’m talk­ing about, and if you doubt me, ask your­selves if you can prove me wrong. Who are you peo­ple any­way, mis­lead­ing me with your silence? Do you think you have a right to invade my pri­va­cy? Were you hop­ing I’d con­fess to some­thing? Do you even live here or are you just a cou­ple of tourists rolling in here like you own the place? Does it make you feel supe­ri­or to behave your­selves this way? What groups do you iden­ti­fy with? Do you have some agen­da con­cealed in your silence? You should be sus­pi­cious of your own inten­tions, not mine.” He stands up, straight­ens his shirt, then paus­es, two fin­gers on the table­top. “Listen, I was speak­ing to you in good faith and you were lis­ten­ing to me in bad faith. Can you say I’m wrong about that? I hate it that you look at me when I’m the one with the right to be afraid of you and your sur­rep­ti­tious lis­ten­ing, all the silent wheels turn­ing inside your big round heads, those hol­low ships.”


Glen Pourciau’s third sto­ry col­lec­tion, Getaway, is forth­com­ing lat­er in 2021. His sto­ries have been pub­lished by AGNI Online, fail­bet­ter, Green Mountains Review, New England Review, New World Writing, The Paris Review, Post Road, The Rupture, and others.