about the author

Will Kelly’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review and Puerto Del Sol. He received his MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He tweets @OtherWillKelly.

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Dinner in the Sky 

Will Kelly

And after we’d been given the first of our two allotted glasses of wine and strapped into the tall rubber seats, the crane lifted our table one hundred and fifty feet in the air and it was time for the first course. The city lights were beautiful, but the wind made it impossible to hear. A woman across from us, afraid of heights, hyperventilated while the chef worked away on a platform in the center of the table, not strapped into anything but protected on all sides by us, the guests. I thought of childhood sleepovers, rows of sleeping bags, wanting desperately to be in the middle instead of an end. I tried telling you this, but you couldn’t hear me.

The food wasn’t bad but you pay for the view.

She was weeping now while her companions tried to quiet her, embarrassed of making a scene in front of the chef. The man next to us looked up and complained to heaven over the wind and the sobs. You looked around, then at me, and said “How is this even a thing?” And I thought of that essay by some libertarian from the point of view of a pencil: detailed descriptions of the materials contained therein, and the work required to harvest them, and the entrepreneurial ambition needed to turn them all into a product. No one knows how to make me, the pencil bragged, even though a pencil is less complicated than a crane, or meal preparation in less than optimal conditions, or a marketing campaign potent enough to override our initial misgivings.

The wind was loud, so I replied simply, “Capitalism.” Then dessert, and when they lowered us down after the designated hour we went back to your place and the next weekend stayed in bed with cold pizza.

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