Suzanne Nielsen teaches writing at Metropolitan State University. Her poetry, fiction and essays appear in literary journals nationally and
internationally; including The Comstock Review, The Copperfield Review, Mid-America Poetry Review, Foliate Oak, Word Riot and 580 Split. So'ham
Books released her first collection of poetry titled "East of the River," in 2005, a collection of short fiction titled "The Moon Behind the 8-Ball &
Other Stories" in 2007, and her second collection of poetry titled "I Thought You Should Know," in March 2009. Her fourth book, "Cool Dead
People," a collection of essays, will be released the end of 2009. Nielsen holds a doctorate in Education from Hamline University. Her
website is www.suzannenielsen.com
Look Me in the Eye
More than anything, Lulu Lofgren wanted to be remembered. So much so, that on a steamy Saturday morning she randomly
entered Magnolia's CafÃ© and offered all patrons present eggs over easy on her tab. Clark Bouchard wanted his tomato juice
figured into the bill, but that's when Lulu sized up the situation, dug deep into her Isabella Fiore imposter, retrieved a ladylike
revolver, and held everyone at gunpoint.
"Get up off the floor," Lulu said as she kicked Clark in the thigh. "This isn't a bank robbery," she continued. "Look me in the eye
and repeat after me: 'You are Miss fucking Magnolia'." Lulu swung her revolver around the room at eye level. She dropped her
bag to the floor and patrons flinched. "Stand against the wall in a nice and tidy line," she said.
"Come on, it's getting warm in here," she said as she wiped her chin on her extended left arm. Clark was the last to line up,
squeezing between Bernie and Betty Bergstrom, long time customers. "No cutsies, juice man. Come on, end of the line for you,"
Lulu said waving the gun in front of his eyes.
Nona Thompson (with a p) clung to her patrons' orders with a trembling hand. She reached behind her ear for her pencil and
started to write on the back of an order:
Brunette Caucasian woman, mid-twenties entered cafe
at 9:07 a.m. wearing a tiara fastened under her chin by
yellow shoe strings. Attired in a matching yellow swimsuit,
she ordered eggs over easy for all present. Suddenly a gun
appeared. . .
"Pitch the pencil, no more orders. Shut down the grill," Lulu yelled over her shoulder while pointing her revolver at Nona's
mid-section. "I was offering generosity, but juice man over there doesn't see that as being quite enough. When is enough
enough?" Lulu asked, wiping her mouth on her bare arm. Lulu inched over to the booth where Clark had been previously sitting.
She grabbed the glass of juice with her right hand, holding the revolver steady with her left, still at eye level.
Nona mumbled under her breath, "Never trust a lefty," causing Lulu to pull the trigger and hit Nona in her right bicep. Blood
splattered against the paneled wall. Nona held tight to her arm and winced as her hand released the food orders. Lulu downed the
glass of juice, asked Nona for a refill, and watched with intensity as she poured with an unsteady left hand.
"A round for the house," said Lulu. "Waitress, pour the red juice. Miss Magnolia's generosity extends to a toast." Nona poured 13
glasses of juice, handed one to each customer in line, then took her place up against the wall. Her right arm hung limp as blood
dripped from her fingertips before making a fist.
"This is my blood, drink, and look me in the eye," Lulu said, kicking her purse across the linoleum with her left foot. She pulled the
trigger one last time.