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Owen will tell you by Francine Witte

that his name begins with a zero and not the letter O. He will insist that you need to know this. It explains me, he will say.

People are always correcting him. Go ask your mother, they will laugh. He will breathe deep and tell them he is motherless. Found on a doorstep, like he was. I began with a zero, and the name just followed. This is where most people walk away.

Right now, Owen with a zero is at a job interview. The thirtieth this month. Everything will go fine until Owen brings up the story of his name.

But this time is different. The interviewer’s name is Sally, whose name is spelled with a dollar sign and not the letter S. Her mother was a prostitute, her father a ten-dollar trick. She says that people assume she’s a gold-digger, and how it has nearly ruined her life.

When Owen hears this, he goes instantly squishy with love. Sally hires him on the spot, both for the job and as her husband.

Years from now, their children will have no name issues. And if Owen has anything to say about it, they won’t even have any names.


Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, and Passages North. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books.) Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) will be published by ELJ September, 2021. She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. She lives in NYC.


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