amelia markson



Man on Pink Corner


At first, he didn’t want to.  Not just because it was pink, but because it left him with so little.  Just a corner.  A little angle for him to squeeze himself into.  But, he allowed, there could be hidden possibility.  There could be more to it than a ninety degree angle.  There could be more to it than pink.  Maybe it was a box being shipped off to Timbuktu, Tanzania, Toledo, or some other exciting destination.  He would be delivered to an eccentric rich man who kept wild animals, like lions and monkeys and chihuauas, in cages and then he himself would be locked up in his own cage, people walking by, looking at him, examining, taking in his every move, freckle, expression.  They might say things like “oh yes, aren’t you a pretty thing.  Yes you are.  Yes you are.  Oogieboogieoogiewoo…” and so on.

Suddenly he was worried.  He didn’t want to be locked in a cage.  And what if it was worse?  What if this pink was satin, the lining of a coffin?  What if he was about to be buried alive?  The air would grow thick around him, so hard to breathe, so that, gasping and scratching the walls of his corner in frustration, he would tear the pretty pink satin, ripping his fingernails against the hard layer underneath, bleeding and crying and suffocating.  Yes, that would be so much worse. 

It could be that the little pink corner on which he stood was in a boxing ring.  And he was going to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to be on national television and swing his fists.  Sure, he might get knocked down by some professional.  But what if he, in fact, was a professional?

It was then that he realized that he was a professional.  He aimed the rifle, with scope attached, out from his corner.  He suddenly knew he had an angle, he had a target, that pink was just a cover.  Good.  He realized that he did, indeed, hate pink.  It was an awful color reserved for young girls and homosexuals, of which he was neither.  He grew angry, that he had to be covered in pink, that he had to stand on this pink corner with his gun pointed down, ready, waiting, full of potential.  He didn’t know what he was waiting for, not exactly.  But he figured he’d know it when he saw it. 

A woman, carrying a baby, turned the pink corner.  He shook his head.  No, not that one.  Then an old woman with a dirty brown bag slung over her shoulder.  A limo.  A young man with a briefcase.  Another woman carrying groceries.  No.  None of these.

Then he knew.  He watched as a man walked, violin case in hand, towards the pink corner.  He thought how familiar the man looked.  The slope of his nose, the scar on his right cheek, the wrinkles in his hands.  Even the way his tie set just a little bit crooked underneath the blazer.  He noticed the all too familiar patch of thinning blonde hair.  He looked to his own right, in the pink corner, and noticed, for the first time, a violin case, open to reveal a hollow space, sized for a small rifle with a scope attachment.  He looked back to the man.  The man looked to his left, then to his right, then scanned the road, violin case still in hand. 

As he watched through the scope, everything about the man seemed familiar, though he could not place it.  Nothing surprised him, not even when the man sat down on the curb, the pink curb, and laid his violin case in his lap and flipped the clasps, opening the case. 

Every muscle in his back tense, his fingers tense, he understood that no matter the consequences, the man must not open that violin case.  He pulled the trigger.  The man on the pink corner fell forward onto his violin case.

He ran down the stairs, to the man.  He pushed the man so he lay on his back and as soon as he saw the man’s face, up close, he gasped and stepped back.  He wasn’t quite sure what he had done.  What did it mean?  And he knew he had to look inside.  So he reached over to the violin case, slid it to the sidewalk that now filled with blood.  He grabbed each of the two clasps between thumb and forefinger, and with his eyes squeezed shut, slowly lifted the lid.  He held himself that way, eyelashes clasped together.  He held until his muscles ached.  Until he knew he couldn’t hold out any longer even though what was in that case would change everything.  He opened his eyes, and in the case, found nothing.



AMELIA MARKSON lives and writes in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Her work has appeared in Refrigerant, Follicle A, and others.