By Epiphany Ferrell -
It's a little known fact that eels are often lost in translation. The hippie girl who told me this lived her whole life in Montana. I didn't want to insult her intelligence — she was a very, very in-tune young woman — so I didn't ask how eels were ever involved in translation.
I asked her name, and she said, “Aloha.” I told her it was a lovely name. She told me the word means both “hello” and “goodbye” and she danced away from me without a backward glance, so that I never knew if she was telling me “hello” as in “follow me” or “goodbye” as in “get lost creep.” Maybe it really was her name.
I was in London last year, it was raining. I was looking for eel pie and wondering if it was really made from eels and if so, were they translated? I saw a woman who looked like my hippie girl, aged appropriately. I ran to catch up with her, fell into step with her on the street. She carried a burlap re-usable grocery bag stuffed with all kinds of exotic teas — ginseng and ginger, green chai and red oolong. I looked at her sideways and asked her if she'd been to Montana.
“Aloha,” she said, crossing the street against traffic. A bus — one of those double-deckers with tourists on top — went between us, splashing me with the habitat of a million eels. At least, I think that’s what she said. Of course when the bus finished passing me, the hippie girl was gone.
Epiphany Ferrell lives perilously close to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail in Southern Illinois. Her stories appear in more than 50 journals and anthologies, including New Flash Fiction Review, Bending Genres, Ghost Parachute, Best Microfiction, and other places. She is a two-time Pushcart nominee, and won the 2020 Prime Number Magazine Flash Fiction Prize. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter, or learn more at epiphanyferrell.com