Travel notesIssue 09 | May 2010

The Mayor Meets an American Princess

by T Stores

Where are we from? Vermont. Our capital? Montpelier—French but not French. Susan pronounces it both as a French word and in the American way. He shrugs and says what I interpret to be, Those cloutish Americans. He says something about the redskins, apparently confusing our state with one in the wild west. He comments on the day’s news: Obama has been given the Nobel Prize. He establishes his credentials: Je suis socialiste,  anarchist, y anti-religieux. Even I can understand that. He asks if we like our new President. Or are we for Bush? Non! Non! We protest, laughing. Of course not.

Papers are exchanged. Who is the mother? Susan doesn’t miss a beat. We both are their mothers, officiallement. He blinks, then says, Pas de probleme.

Madame Flavian, he shouts. Vous venez! (You will come!) There is the sound of heels, then a young woman appears from behind the curtain. He asks her questions. She answers, explaining to Susan the procedures for schooling. Izzy tips her crown up out of her eyes to observe. Madame Flavian takes our passports to the copy machine, Xeroxes them, and returns the passports to the mayor. He chooses an official rubber stamp from his collection—Wham! Wham! Wham!— and signs them with a flourish. He drags on his cigarette, the air now blue with smoke, and squints. Finally, he hands us some papers to fill out and sign: permission for our children to attend school in the nearby village, permission for bus transport, a request form for lunch in the school cantine, student handbook and list of school supplies, a document stating that we agree to the school rules. Bon. We are done.

Izzy tips her crown back up, and the mayor stops to smile at her. He asks a question about the princesse, and laughs, charmed. Izzy frowns. The mayor extends his hand to her and she takes it. He bows. We strangers have arrived.

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About the author

On sabbatical from her faculty position at the University of Hartford, T (Teresa) Stores currently lives in southern France with her partner and children and chronicles their life in a blog.  Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, and has been supported by grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the Barbara Deming Fund. Stores won the 2009 Kore Press Short Fiction Award for her novel, Frost Heaves.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok