fiction 2019 / volume 49

Lecture—Christopher Linforth

Our father tells us the French word for peephole is judas. He bears down on us, angles his pinky toward his eye. The betrayer is the size of my pupil, he says. Sometimes smaller. We don’t reply. We let him drone on about the Bible, about respecting your father, staying out of his business. We don’t know what any of this has to do with the French language. Quelle? we say. Our father’s cheeks redden, his chest swells. He turns around and we follow him into the hallway. He rummages through the closet and brings out a roll of black tape. He snaps off a piece and sticks it over the front door’s peephole. See? he says. Now come here. We step forward and he tears off several more pieces of tape. He presses the tape over our eyes, blinding our view. We hear him walk down the hall and enter his bedroom. His muffled voice appears to be directed to someone else. He doesn’t understand our spy game; the mission our mother gave us. We peel off the tape. Our eyelids burn but the pain is worth it. We slip inside the closet and keep the door ajar. Two loud voices echo through the house. Then they quieten. Through our watery eyes, we see a stranger open the front door, and run toward his car.

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