Issue 35, Final Fringe

Modern Powers

by Ethan Chatagnier Issue 25 01.17.2011


Amy excuses herself from the brunch table to use the ladies’, and no one volunteers to go with her, so she goes alone. She has gotten paler, they say. They are not sure whether to say since Scoundrel died or, since Scoundrel was murdered or, since Amy invited us to Scoundrel’s funeral and nobody went.

“Since that cat thing happened,” they settle on, “Amy’s near translucent.”

“You can see blue veins through her skin.”

“Do you think we should have gone to her little cat funeral?”


“Not my idea of a Saturday.”

“Was it open casket, do you think?”

Mary!” That practiced scandalized expression.

“What, is she coming?”

“That’s not funny, Mary.”

“It’s a little funny.”

Amy walks into the bathroom and looks at her skin in the mirror. She too has noticed how pale it’s gotten—and just two weeks ago she was tan as tree bark. But what has she done, this last week, but cry about Scoundrel? It leeches the color out of you, she supposes. She pees in the stall and can’t see herself in the mirror when she comes out. All that’s there is her nail polish, otherwise she’s disappeared. As she watches, all the nails blink out at once, like a miniature row of antique TVs.

Her brunch group is alarmed when her chair scoots out and back in seemingly on its own. “Don’t be startled, it’s just me,” Amy says.


“Something happened in the bathroom. I can’t see myself anymore.”


“But I can still talk and hear you.”

They haven’t talked about anything but Amy’s dead cat since she left for the bathroom, so they have to go back to what they were talking about before. Sheila’s husband doesn’t want yellow tile in the bathroom. Donna’s kids are trying to quit lacrosse. Ashleigh has had a string of rotten days at work.

“That’s what I loved about Scoundrel,” Amy says. “He’d ignore me all the time, but after a bad day he’d always come out and snuggle me.”

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Ethan Chatagnier

Ethan Chatagnier

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Ethan Chatagnier has a BA from California State University, Fresno and an MA in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College. He currently lives in Fresno, pines for Boston, and steals time to write when he isn’t teaching high school students how to break the rules of English. He would like to thank his loving wife for the support and editorial eye that are the pillars keeping his passion for writing viable.