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Brad Barkley

“Eliot, huh?" she says. The thin fabric of her long T-shirt brushes my arm. "Is everyone in your family named for a famous symbolist poet?"
No, I'm named for someone who was supposed to be in the Bible but isn't."
No? What happened to him?"
I glance over at her, the way the corner of her mouth turns up, half-smirk, half-smile. Her hair moves as she walks.
He was called to be a disciple, but he had, you know, stuff to do."
Stuff, like...polishing his sandals? Making lunch?"
We keep walking, over the bridge across the lake, past the swings and the playground equipment, just walking.
Exactly. And what about you, Calliope...is everyone in your family named after a...what is it? A keyboard? An organ?"
It's a steam-powered piano. It's also the name of the Greek goddess of poetry. You should read stuff other than chemistry; you'd know these things." Her smirky smile again, her sleeve touching my arm.
I feel like my skin has been removed, every nerve exposed. I open my mouth, and this comes out: "I think you are more goddess than piano." Stupid, stupid.
But she laughs. "You know, that's the nicest thing anyone's said to me today."
You don't see too many calliopes," I tell her.
I'm Cal, actually. I mean, that's what I prefer."
I meant the steam pianos...you don't see too many." She stops and looks at me, full-on, and right away I put it on the list of the best moments in my life.
Until you said that, Eliot, I wasn't fully aware of the demise of the steam piano, so thank you. Really."
I smirk at her and we both fight not to smile. "Okay, smart-ass," I say.”


Brad Barkley, Scrambled Eggs at Midnight
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Scrambled Eggs at Midnight Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley
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