wart

Wart
by Robert Swartwood

She’s had it for a couple of years, she says, at least ten when she first noticed it as a freshman in college. Or no—it was her roommate who noticed it when they were having a girl’s night and painting each other’s nails. She had done everything she could to get rid of it—Compound W, Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away, Curad Mediplast. She had seen countless dermatologists, and each had attempted to treat it—freezing, burning, whatever—but to no avail. It was like the thing refused to die.

Or maybe this isn’t something to bring up on a first date, she says, her cheeks growing red in the candlelight. Especially a blind date.

Before you can respond, the waitress approaches your table, her smile bright, blowing a strand of hair from her face as she pulls her pad from her apron.

Sorry for the wait, she says. What can I get you two to drink?

Robert Swartwood is the USA Today bestselling author of The Serial Killer’s Wife, The Calling, Man of Wax, and several other novels. His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, The Daily Beast, Wigleaf, Necessary Fiction, Storyglossia, and PANK. He created the term “hint fiction” and is the editor of Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer. He lives with his wife in Pennsylvania. Visit him at www.robertswartwood.com.

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