Spring 2002 • Vol. XXIV No. 2 Fiction |

The Ham Theory

"Tell me what this is," Tori says, lifting her fork to Elliott's mouth. Her fingers graze his new beard. Their tour guide recommended this restaurant, at the top of a steep staircase and dark corridor; its damp stone walls, lit only by candles, are a remnant of Barcelona's Roman wall. The soft hum of conversation is mostly Spanish. Tori has ordered grilled vegetables for her appetizer and cod with lima beans for her dinner. The vegetables (eggplant, mushrooms, black-eyed peas) are mixed with wafer-thin slices that she first takes to be cheese. The texture of the cheese, however, arouses her suspicion. With its Catalan menu and the absence of even a small hand-lettered sign on the street, Casa Miguel lends the impression that it is for those "in the know." But when she looks at Elliott sitting across from her, Tori thinks that they don't belong there—and that she barely even knows him. On the back of her chair Tori has draped the shawl Elliott bought her that afternoon in the P

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Nancy Ludmerer's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Kenyon Review, North American Review, Cimarron Review, Sou'wester, Vogue, Green Mountains Review, and elsewhere. Recently her essay "Kritios Boy" was a prizewinner in Literal Latte's essay contest and her work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in New York City with her husband Malcolm and cat Sandy, a brave refugee from the storm of the same name.

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