Chestnut Trifold

Zarren Mykhail Kuzma

I once lifted from a man in the subway, and when he turned to look at me, I knew I’d been caught.

What would they think?! thought I. They’d always told me that everyone gets caught eventually, but I was supposed to be a legend. Never again would they put up with me when I told them that their fingers were too fat for this line of work. Never again would they listen when I said that they knew nothing of innocence, of grace and naturalness — like your hand belongs in someone else’s pocket.

I’d always believed that I could steal the shirt from a man’s back (had I a use for it), but now, in one foul stroke, the Virtuoso was finished. At once I’d been reduced from a Mozarta, Leonarda De Vincia, Michelangela, a genius, a true artist! …to a common everyday thug, grabbing after a stranger’s buttocks.

He reached above his head, and I braced myself for the inevitable pang of retribution, but instead he raised his cap from his graying hair before saying, “Excuse me for bumping into you, young lady.”

“Not a problem, sir,” said I, and I made my way from the subway-car, eighty-four dollars and two Visas richer.

And so instead my grand legend continued.

ZARREN MYKHAIL KUZMA studied literature at Duke University and currently works in children’s book publishing. He lives in Philadelphia, PA. Visit him online at

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