Getting to Know You

Tatiana Ryckman

“Do you have a mask?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said, getting up to pull a wolf mask out of a small closet partially obstructed by a bookshelf.

She waited on the itchy yellow couch.

The sickly green-white mask sagged in his hand. “I got it for a halloween party my friend had a few years ago, but I ended up going as a cowboy instead.” He moved to hand it to her.

“Put it on,” she said looking up at him.

The movie they’d set up on his laptop was looping on the opening screen. The same song plucked away and the male lead was already going grey—so early in his career—except for a pair of dark brown eyebrows. The word Play was outlined in yellow.

He pulled the elastic strand behind his head, flipped off the overhead light, and sat next to her in the DVD illumination. The fangs glowed in the half-dark. He put his hand on her knee and laughed through a hole the size of a tic tac.

She smiled and leaned back into the couch. He started to pull the wolf’s drooling mouth away from his own, to take off the mask. “No—” she said, pressing the face back down, “it’s easier this way.”

Tatiana Ryckman was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

*Tin House is now accepting flash fiction (under 1,000 words) for FLASH FRIDAYS. Please send to with FLASH FRIDAY as your subject line.