Jan/Feb 2021 • Vol. XLIII No. 1 January 4, 2021 |

Cactus Eater

2020 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Runner-up They told the old man to smile, so he did. The makeup girl said, Stay like that, and she looked at me to translate into Spanish. His face froze like a mask. I clipped a lapel microphone onto his shirt collar, making sure not to poke myself on the little potted cactus he held on his lap. His shirt pocket had an embroidery of a man riding horseback, playing polo. My mom used to love dressing me up in Ralph Lauren as a kid. She also kept a fruit bowl in our house filled with apples, even though we never ate them. When I asked why she kept buying them, she said that when she was a little girl back home, apples used to cost one colón—which would be like paying eight US dollars for an apple. She asked me if I understood what she meant. I said yes. And she kept filling up the bowl, and they spoiled every time. Very handsome, I said to the old man. And he looked at me like I offended him. I finished rigging the lights. The old man co

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Stanley Delgado’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Glimmer Train, Puerto del Sol, Mud Season Review, and elsewhere. He is finishing his bachelor’s in Los Angeles and will be pursuing his MFA at NYU as a Writers in Public Schools Fellow. He is working on a collection of stories and a novel. He can be reached at stanleydelgado.com.

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