Jeff Landon

We meet every Friday night inside Plaid Bob's apartment. All Bobs. Twenty-four Bobs—the Bobs who loved and lost Amy McCoy. We drink bourbon and beer, gobble pizza puffs, and watch the slide show of our gone lives with Amy: Bad teeth Bob with Amy on the boardwalk, her hands in his hair gone now from the chemotherapy. We watch the pictures and we are kindred and moony and Bob.

Sunday evening we leave our homes and apartments and meet at Dilly's Doughnuts to talk about Amy. Black Bob says that once, on an elevator, Amy whispered, "I'm not wearing anything under this dress," and the Twin Bobs go, yeah, she said that to us, too. We sigh in unison, a sound like a hot air balloon deflating at the end of the state fair, and Possibly Gay Bob says, "Amy was a bad morning person," and we nod our heads, sip our coffee, and say, "The worst." But then Ponytail Bob drops some quarters into the jukebox and Al Green sings "Let's Stay Together," and we stand and toss rinds of doughnuts into the smoky air and over the chorus we sing to Amy as if we still had a chance, as if we still had hope, Bobs like us.

We wave good night in the parking lot and splinter away to our homes and apartments with hot doughnuts in a bag. Before sleep, we have one last doughnut with a glass of skim milk.

We live alone, or with dogs or cats. We never hear our own names in our own homes.

We wake up startled from our sleep with the dream we know is true. Amy, at the Grand Canyon with Bob #25. Amy, unzipping her dress so slowly in front of the television. She puts her hands on the new Bob's face, and when he says, "I love you, Amy McCoy," we talk to our pillows and say, don't, Bob, don't, and then we are quiet, awake now with our shared dreams of Amy that we tuck into bed like children overloved.

Jeff Landon lives in Richmond. He's the author of TRUCK DANCE, a book of short fiction, and EMILY AVENUE, a novella.

Read more of his work in the archive.

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