The Jack-in-the-Box by The Sea

A wealthy woman becomes her opposite.

The Jack-in-the-Box by The Sea
See Vamp, Midjourney Art, Reivin Alexandria

Adalbern is fabulously wealthy. She slinks around town in a faded four-door. She lives modestly mostly, moves quietly mainly, dressing down in long-sleeved linen, denim and loafers. Evidently though, she smells like money because when we frequent art galleries, the owners emerge deeply tanned and sockless and circle her round the great white room. She lives by the sea in a simple saltbox with scratched linoleum floors. The property is lined by a sentry of thirty-foot hedges that bear silent witness. One day Adelbern decided to spend lots of money tracing the family tree, hoping to attach greater nobility to her name. She summoned a pilot and flew to the edge of the mountains to meet a noted historian. There on the edge of a cliff, it was revealed her bloodline was recorded and revered for driving the Christians to their death, one in a series of horrific plunderings that ended the Roman Empire. Upon her return, she invited me over for lunch. It then occurred to me I was dining with a bonafide barbarian. She recounted her lineage as I nibbled my way around thick heirloom Caspian Pink tomato slices—lightly salted, sandwiched between buttered sourdough bread. Meanwhile, she gnawed at the chili glazed sticky ribs. I took a sip of my Leopard’s Leap Lookout Chardonnay and imagined myself after a photo safari at Giraffe Manor. It was at that moment, I stuck my neck out.

“So that means your people killed my people???”

“I’m afraid so,” she answered. Carefully wiping her fingers on the white napkin, creating a bright red hashtag.

A year later

I caught a tangle of legs in my rearview mirror of the Alchemy and Ashes Market parking lot. It was Adalbern.

Apparently, she had reckoned with the fact that everybody knew she was rich. She ditched the worn loafers and denim for lucite heels and striped leggings and purchased a Guards Red Porsche 911 with vanity plates that read BERRN. She took screeching drives revving along the mountain roads sending up storms of dust and stone. She raced every day to the sea casting her troubled past into infinity. Only problem now was getting her long legs out of the car, which was efficiently remedied by a magic swivel cushion. She now springs happily, out of her auto like a jack-in-the-box by the sea.

Ana is an artist based out of New York. She's written a book of short stories, and is seeking publication. For more of her work, see