November 2010

Jesse Waters


Jesse Waters Jesse Waters, runner-up for the Iowa Review Prize, finalist in the Glimmer Train 2003 Poetry Open and The Davoren Hanna International Poetry Contest, and a winner of the 2001 River Styx International Poetry Contest, has published fiction, poetry and non-fiction in such journals as 88: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry, The Adirondack Review, Coal Hill Review, The Cortland Review, Cimarron Review, Concrete Wolf, Iowa Review, Plainsongs, Magma, River Styx, Slide, Southeast Review, Story Quarterly, Sycamore Review and others.

It Could Be Said

the salesman almost had her sold, but she wanted to be sure about certain things. On the televisions around them, the weatherman called for snow in the north. It was almost winter, 1963. They wouldn't be seeing the snow.

"Now you're sure this is a step up?"

"Absolutely. A full step up."

"And he'll notice the difference?"

"All the differences, yes. Take a look at this." The salesman pointed to a picture in the instruction booklet: SLOWMOTION—Capture the Excitement of Baby's First Steps!

"We don't have any children, any babies, I mean."

"It's not the children. It's the slow motion. See? You can push this button and things slow down." She looked at the booklet herself. It was true. Frame by frame, a small baby with a cowlick swirl was slowly rising from its crawl to walk.

"But it's a step up. You're positive about that, right?" She needed to be sure. "It is a lot of money."

"It is a lot of money, yes, but it's definitely a step up." He almost had her sold, but he smiled anyway, with his teeth. "You couldn't really step up any higher than this."

"I'm sorry—I don't mean to seem suspicious, but I don't want to go home with something that's already there."

"No one wants that. This is one that'll take him to the next level, though. It's the next step up, that's for sure. Family picnics, weddings, Christmas—none of those will ever be the same again."

"We're Jewish."

He blinked. He almost had her sold. "The high holidays, then. Imagine the Seder over and over again, anytime you want it."

"Well—it's just a lot of money, is all. And I want my husband to have the best possible model. I'm willing to spend if it does what you say it will."

"It is a step up. Super zoom, it's light weight, solid body, and don't forget the slow motion. It's the very latest we have in stock, the best we can offer." He almost had her sold.

She thought of her wedding album, and that one shelf in the den with their picture albums, all motionless. Nowadays the world moves, she agreed with herself. "I'll take it."

And as she reached for the wallet he knew would be in her purse, he asked "Would you like me to gift wrap it for you?"

"May I see the paper?" He reached below the counter and brought out a long tube of simple silver paper. "That'll be fine, thank you."

"And the name on the card?"

"Zapruder. Make it out to Abraham Zapruder." A car cruised past the store and honked twice: Hello. Goodbye. She turned a few pages in the booklet, not really looking—the small baby rising to walk reminded her a bit of her own family, the ones before her and the ones that would come from her children, and the ones she had never seen or would ever see.



Jesse Waters: Fiction
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