Mary Byrne


Yoyo y Balero by Oscar Bernal

I hauled out the battery-driven fish I’d bought for the kid in an airport shop. It looked tame and
unnatural, wiggling its nose and tail on the kitchen table, far too slowly. The kid barely looked at it.

You drank two huge glasses of wine, quickly, then you fell asleep on the sofa as if you’d been
thrown there, your lips a purple color. The kid stared at his iPad, as if you and me didn’t exist. Out
on the street, the noise of a car chase alternated with cries of “Silence! Camera! Action!”

“What’s that about?’”I asked.

The kid shrugged.

I looked out: a young man wearing too much face makeup was running down the street behind a
camera mounted on a small van. In doorways, heavily made-up women stood in various states of

You woke after an hour or two.

“When a girl is born in Normandy,” you said, stretching, “the first thing her father does is go out
and chop down a tree, to build her a wardrobe.”

“Is the kid sulking?” I asked.

“Nah,” you said, “he’s cool.”

The noise on the street moved away. The light settled to the quiet before sunset. In an hour you’d
be on the wine again, smiling and talking about going out for dinner.

And out we’d go, your lips still purple from earlier, the kid towing along behind. As we walked by
the bar on the corner a drunk would raise his glass to us and shout, “Silence! Camera! Action!”


About the writer:
Mary Byrne was born in Ireland, but now lives in France. Her short fiction has been published, broadcast, anthologized or is forthcoming in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Byrne has been recognized by awards from Kore Press, Fiction International, and Hennessy. She is currently working on short fiction collections set in Morocco and Ireland. Her debut collection (set in France) is forthcoming in 2019. Byrne loves philosophy, art, and anything baroque. Tweets @BrigitteLOignon

Image: Yoyo y Balero by Oscar Bernal (1945-2016). Oil on canvas. 60 x 50 inches. No completion date specified. Public domain.