Two Stories by Robert Lopez

Image by Sara Fleenor /


Ready For To Fade

Manny was bleeding and would probably be dead in an hour or two. Still, I couldn’t get Ana off me. I said to Ana, listen, Manny is bleeding and will probably be dead in an hour or two. Ana said, doesn’t that get you going?  I said, please. I said, my wife and I have decided to renew hostilities anyway. I said, we probably shouldn’t do this anymore. Then Ana said, I’ll have your baby. I know your wife won’t do that. I said, no one thinks this is a good idea, not even you. Meanwhile, Manny was bleeding and would probably be dead in an hour or two. I said to Ana, maybe one of us should go for help. Ana said, I’ll never see you again. She said, how can you do this. She said, you don’t even like Manny. It was true, I didn’t like Manny, never did. But, I said, this is right and wrong. This is when Ana started taking off her clothes. First it was the top, which was sheer or see-through, and then the skirt, which I always thought she looked great in. It was long and pleated and she would make it twirl whenever she danced. I always loved watching her dance. So did Manny, that’s what was funny to me and why I started laughing and kept on laughing until Ana was naked. By this time, it was almost four in the morning and a new day was starting outside the kitchen window. I looked at Ana and Ana looked at me. She said, so now what and I said, you tell me, Ana. I said, you tell me.  



The Future Home Of The Wymans

I’m sorry I joked about hanging your grandmother is what the young woman next to me said to the young woman next to her. I don’t know where it is they were going but I was on the way to see my new doctor after the old one betrayed me. Another problem I have is sleeping if I’m not in my own bed. I don’t know why but I can never fall asleep or stay asleep when I try to in some other bed.  Also, it’s my kidneys, that they don’t work anymore. My old doctor wanted to put me on dialysis, but I don’t want to walk around with anything sticking into me or running out of me. He also wanted to repair my hernia and give me a prostate exam, but I never let him down there. But I’m more concerned with getting a good night’s sleep than my kidneys when it comes right down to it. It’s always been this way, from the time I lived with my own grandmother right next door to the future home of the Wymans. We never met the Wymans, but they were building a home next door that had a sign out front saying The Future Home of the Wymans. My grandmother sent me over there every night to see if the construction workers left anything good behind. This is the woman who raised me and taught me right from left and the difference between scotch and bourbon. She also taught me how to fall asleep at night if you didn’t have enough scotch or bourbon on hand. It had to do with relaxing each part of your body in a particular order. This technique never worked for me and I think about telling this to the young woman sitting next to me but decide against it. She doesn’t need to know how I can’t fall asleep at night or how the Wymans never seemed to move into the future with everyone else. My grandmother and I used to joke about it at dinner. We’d leave a place out for the Wymans and then dump the trash out in their future backyard. It’s possible that these two young women are sisters or lifelong friends and never even heard of the Wymans. They probably grew up together in pigtails, playing ring around the rosey or whatever it is little girls do. This is how they can joke about each other’s grandmothers like that. My own grandmother didn’t let me associate with little girls because she said they were the devil’s playthings. So I don’t know what little girls do now or what they did back then. I also don’t know whatever happened to my grandmother, but I don’t think she ever hanged herself or would even joke about such a thing. By now we are close to my stop so I decide to tell the young woman next to me that my own grandmother is dead now but she doesn’t respond. Instead she makes a face to her friend and then they both laugh like everyone is in on the same grandmother joke. This is when I lift my shirt up to show her the scar from my last surgery, when they switched out my own liver for a better one. I tell them this is one part I can never get to relax which is why I can’t sleep at night and they both answer by telling me to keep my pants on. This is when I start laughing because I never intended to lower my pants in the first place, until at least the doctor’s office and probably not even then.   



Robert Lopez is the author of five books, of which the most recent are All Back Full and Good People. He teaches at The New School, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, and the Solstice Low-Res MFA Program of Pine Manor College. Find him at