The European Short Story Network

Jacinto Lucas Pires

Boarding Pass


I WAKE UP in a plane. The flight attendant asks me if I want to eat. She has a red mouth and she looks like an out-of-focus Kate Winslet, which makes me think of my wife or “ex-wife”. What a strange title for such a serious, happy woman. In my dream I’m travelling to Brussels to ask Madam The President of the Union why is it that Europe is falling.

“Would you like anything else?” The fourth time I try it, I manage to open the transparent package, and I bite the cake. A taste of plastic orchards under long, still skies. I wake up in a plane. The flight attendant asks me if I want to eat. Her teeth are stained with lipstick and that calls to mind my girlfriend or “mistress”. If the designation is not too old-fashioned, the girl being frighteningly young. A fulminant close-up, a flash inside the night of the hotel room. The truth is that, after the divorce, the nudity of this woman fifteen years younger than me has lost all its danger.

“Thank you, thank you very much.” In my dream Lisbon is a city levelled by air bombings and I’m standing on what used to be a street or a square trying to understand to which side is the river. Inside the transparent plastic, the brown cake is a tumour. How many lives are implicated in the fact that this is here, in front of me, on a tray the colour of the sky? I wake up in a plane. The flight attendant asks me if I want to eat. I want to eat her, to grab her by the ass, to bite the red of her mouth, to suck her foreign tongue until she’s no more than a body, but I simply nod yes. Through the window, I see the european fields, the houses, roads, the rivers, everything magnificently diminishing. A sunbeam crosses the plane like a solid gold beam. I close my eyes. There’s nobody I can call, no one in the whole world, but Europe is saved and it is a Union on the way to happiness.

“May I ask for an expresso?”


Story © Jacinto Lucas Pires

This translation © Jacinto Lucas Pires

Read this story in Portuguese


European Cultural Foundation Chapter ∓ Verse Kikinda Short Nederlands Letterenfonds Manchester Literature Festival NORLA Goethe Institut Creative Scotland