: Mysteries :

an excerpt by Jean Ross Justice

“In Venice,” Charlotte said, “you see funeral gondolas-black and gold, and a wreath on the prow. And these big dark-suited men standing outside and some more dark-clad people inside, and they go zipping off to the cemetery island. The memorial stones are stacked in rows-from a distance it looks kind of like a big wall of drawers, a big filing cabinet for the remains.”


“Yeah?” said Fran. “Well. That's interesting,” in a tone that said but not very. She was seated on a hassock in front of Charlotte, cutting Charlotte's toenails.


“Yes, it's so beautiful. St. Mark's, that's the big church in the big center square-there're always a lot of pigeons there and a lot of people feeding them.” She was on surer footing here. It had been a while since Venice, and she occasionally had some tiny doubt about the details of her memories.


“Yeah?  But pigeons, though …”