from NOON, issue 1

They were sitting on the floral, drinking after-dinner Baileys, watching a TV show featuring a woman with a big ass. Stephanie said, Honey? Do you think I have a big ass? Fred paused. She had asked him this many times before. Before, he’d always said something like, No, you’re beautiful, or No, I love your body, or, Honey, don’t be silly. The reasons for this were many, but chief among them was Fred’s desire for peace in the house, as well as his belief that his informing her that her ass was big would not have any serious long-term impact on the size of her ass. Tonight he said, Well, I don’t know.
white What do you mean, she said, you don’t know?
white Well, he said, I haven’t looked at your ass lately.
white You haven’t? Stephanie was surprised. In her mind Fred looked often at her ass.
white No, he said, I haven’t. Why don’t you stand up so I can see it, and then I’ll answer your question.
white Okay. Now Stephanie regretted that she’d asked. She stood up slowly. Well?
white Why don’t you turn around a couple times, he gestured, so I can see it.
white She did, turning slowly. The TV went to commercials. She did not look at him.
white It’s hard to tell, he said, with your pants on. He flipped a few deliberate channels. Why don’t you just lower them a minute and turn around that way.
white Stephanie unbuckled her belt and unzipped her pants. She pulled her pants down to her ankles.
white Underwear, too. Fred was looking out the window. He could see a few stars. He was trying hard to recognize that hunter constellation.
white She bent and pulled down her good florals.
white Now turn, he said.
white She did. She turned slowly. She saw the butternut trim he’d refinished for her, the anniversary grandfather with the hand-painted moon. Well? she said.
white You have a big ass. Fred flipped back to the show. He felt sort of very bad and sort of very good, both at once.