Salome Magazine
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LAce Posted Monday, August 15th, 2005
Mr. Merlot
Julie Ann Shapiro

The cork screw spun round and round on the old oak table in the Parisian apartment. A painting of a Henri Matisse woman in blue hung on the wall. So alone the woman looked on the white canvas; tears came to my eyes.

My friends pointed to the glasses of merlot perched on the table. When the cork stopped its spin the glasses emptied and the bottle and I joined. Glass to flesh, flesh to glass in the soft amber light we danced this bottle and I while the friends opened the next bottle and spun the corkscrew and sipped to the wail of a saxophone.

The vacation they’d insisted I take, Paris, the land of art and love. How could I say no?

When the corkscrew stopped its spin the bottled dance began. No one knew why exactly I’d danced to Merlot on the wine stained carpet. They didn’t hear the call of the grapes as I cradled the half empty bottle to my lips, my arms, my breasts. Drinking of this wine, these grapes squeezed to perfection I heard the ghost of Merlot. Nightly we danced.

Merlot told me to bring the bottle to my ears. He told me things that sent my whole body a quiver and with each sip I knew the grapes’ dream. They dream in purple Merlot said.

“What does that mean,” I asked.

Merlot said, “Purple is the color between day and night.”

“No that’s twilight.”

“And sunset and sunrise,” he assured me.

I said, “The sky is white or blue. So rare is it purple.”

Merlot said, “Ah, but you’re so wrong, Mademoiselle. Have another bottle you’ll see.”

I told my friends of this Merlot. They blamed him on the saxophone and said its wail can make anyone fall into a strange embrace. They emphasized the word strange and I wondered why they didn’t say stranger, but deep down I knew why as I uncorked the bottle. I pressed it to my chest and swayed around the room. We tangoed until friends with clinked glasses all a flutter said, “See it’s the saxophone.”

“No.” The saxophone sounded like it came from a tunnel, distant and faint. I held the bottle to my lips and started to sip.

Merlot said, “Sip slowly you’ll see the purple place, My Cherie.” I saw fields of lavender. He said, “This is my home in the country side.”

“Where are the grapes?”

“That is in the day. At night I go to the lavender fields and when its scent travels in the wind I find a dream to hold onto.”

“What if I didn’t hear you?”

“Then another lady would.”

“How can you so easily belittle what we have?” The tears fell down my face.

Merlot said, “I know you see it in the sky. Is not the sky pink and blue sometimes?”


He said, “This I give to you always. It is not the purple dream? Qui.”

“But how do I know it’s your sky?”

“My Cherie, you know you don’t need to ask.”

In a Parisian apartment far from home I found that love is in the sky and sometimes it is a whisper in the bottle.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Sharon Hurlbut on Tuesday, August 16th, 2005 at 1:14 AM
This is delightful and a little bit sad, Julie. I enjoyed it very much!

Posted by Katrina Denza on Tuesday, August 16th, 2005 at 8:41 AM
Wild! Very original, Julie Ann.

Posted by Carol Doe on Wednesday, August 17th, 2005 at 12:19 PM
I'm sorry, I'm usually very pleased with the contents of your magazine but this story is simply awful. It is grammatically incorrect in several places, there are words spelled wrong, and French terms butchered. Basically, Mr. Merlot (the title itself made me cringe) tries too hard to be high art and eclectic, and I would have to say it fails on all levels when you define what makes for good fiction. A story should leave a reader with a feeling of something gained and this piece left me confused and annoyed.

Posted by Donia Carey on Saturday, August 27th, 2005 at 10:58 PM
Mr. Merlot is a lovely, sensual story. It made me feel light-hearted and ready to dance.

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