She wants to know if I’ve read Dada. At first I think she’s making baby talk, or else she’s kidding, but she’s not. “The Swiss phenom, you know, Dada?”

She forks her salad like a dead yet vague animal that might have ended up in her yard. Milky dressing drips down a tine.

His name is Ezra. I think it has a biblical subtext. He has purple-black hair and root beer skin, teeth shamefully white. He wears earphones to and from class. He likes kid cereals—Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Crispies. He’s fifteen years younger than us, takes a lit class every other afternoon, same as my wife. Lately she smells of patchouli and when I ask about it she goes after something else, such as Dada.

“Well?” she asks, “Do you or don’t you know him?”

When I say that I know him better than you think, she cackles over the back of her wrist and says, “Sure, sure you do.”

Len Kuntz lives on a lake in rural Washington State with an eagle and three pesky beavers. His short fiction appears in places like Camroc Press Review, Right Hand Pointing and also at

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