Handsome

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The cardboard box in Marie’s front seat jingled as the car came to a halt. It had recently been filled with her personal items from a cramped desk after she was emailed a layoff notice. She sighed as she yanked her purse from beneath it and left the car.

Woody’s was her normal haunt on the weekends, a means of celebrating her often short-lived weekends with her friends. During the week, like this particular Wednesday, the place resembled a ghost town.
“Whiskey, please. Make it a double,” she said, perching on one of the lesser worn stools at the end of the bar. The bartender, one of the weekday workers, poured the drink swiftly and slid it in front of her. Marie downed the drink in one gulp.
“Another one, please.”
“Looks like you had the same kind of day I had,” said the man several seats away.

She hadn’t noticed him, at first. She’d been too preoccupied with her drink choice before deciding it didn’t matter; it wasn’t as if she had to work in the morning. Now, looking at him, he was far more attractive than his surroundings. “Well, I just lost a really cushy job. Of course, they wanted me to finish the day first,” she said, taking a sip from the fresh glass in front of her.
“I guess we both learned how little we matter today,” he said. His words stung a little deeper than she expected.
“I’m sorry. My girlfriend…she left me today,” he said, shaking his head before sipping the clear drink in front of him.
“Her loss,” Marie said, raising her glass and taking a sip as well. The man wiped his hand on his jeans before extending it to Marie, leaning across the seats between them.
“Jefferson,” he said with a grin.
“Marie.” Continue reading

Photograph

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“I wanna meet this girl who’s been occupying all my baby’s time,” Ricky’s mother, Phyllis, said. Before her son could reply, the waiter returned and deposited their brunch in front of them.

“Things are still new. I don’t wanna chase her away,” Ricky laughed before scooping potatoes into his mouth.

“Tell me all about her.”

“She’s wonderful, really. Smart, funny, gorgeous. She keeps me in check.”

“I love her already.” Time with his mother was precious to Ricky, since he’d so nearly lost her at the beginning of the year. The one thing she wanted was to know her son would be taken care of. He hadn’t told his mother, but he’d already begun falling in love with Alex.

“You should bring her to the barbecue this weekend. I promise, no grilling,” Phyllis said, mimicking the Boy Scouts pledge.

“I’m going to see her tonight so I’ll bring it up. No promises,” Ricky said. He was excited that his mother was excited about his new relationship, especially since she had been so negative about the girls he liked.

“Just promise me you’ll try and make this work. Treat her with all the respect and dignity you show me,” Phyllis said, taking her son’s hand. Ricky smiled and nodded, giving his mother a squeeze back.

“I promise.” Continue reading

DSW

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It was inevitable that I’d sell my body for money. Most of the girls I graduated high school with went on to procure dance cards to gyrate under hot lights the day after our matriculation. It was just the environment we’d become products of: most of our mothers were slaves to their vices, leaving us defenseless in homes throughout the county. One way or another, a man would make us victims, by force or voice. Continue reading

More of the Same

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The stove’s clock changed to 10:52 silently. The flat was dark, except for the dim light that shined in from outside. Sonia sat at the dining room table, spinning her 3rd glass of cognac between her fingers. The last 6 years had been the same: her husband would walk out the door for work and manage to find his way between the legs of a young co-ed. Marcus was beautiful and charming in the beginning. He’d lavished her with gifts and trips, promising that she was the only woman he’d ever loved. They consummated their relationship in the balmy waters of Santorini & they were inseparable from then on. The first year they were married was everything she’d hoped. He spoiled her, prompting to her to quit the measly desk work she’d believed was her career. He helped her mother & sister move to a better home in a better community and doted on his wife, loving her as largely as he could. Continue reading

Siren

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All it took was one deep breath and the room was ablaze.

The women were captivated. The men were enthralled. Cascading through the room, all of the eyes were on him and his instrument. He told a story to the crowd; one of seduction, one of love, one of the raw passion that lie deep within them all. Every chest rose and fell to the melody of his march. He was the hypnotist and they were hypnotized. This was a tale to be told over and over, one that he could never complete, one that consumes his life. It was his work, his lover, his religion, his consolation. It made him smile, made him cry, pissed him off but still clung to his skin like the sweat on his back.

So they danced again. The hot stage lights burned him, beads of sweat rolling from his hairline, down the crease in his forehead and down his face. It was a small price to pay for the love and he paid it every single time. He put his all into the music, even though his shoes were too tight and his back had begun to cramp. Small price to pay. The music radiated from him like a pheromone, ensnaring the unattached women in the joint, the women who had shimmied into tight dresses and tall heels for him; women who burnt their ears and applied and reapplied rouges and powders to impress him. He was a simple man. His woman was not a vain nor jealous lover; she was always patient with him when his attention was diverted because it would only be for a moment. She knew that soon, his rough and warm fingers would careen around her and it would only be a moment before his lips were wrapped around her and when they were, what a glorious sound! She was his siren, his muse, his Aphrodite. She owned every part of him and he gave himself to her willingly.

So they entwined, their tangled webs drifting through the air and surrounded those in earshot. The world fell away and littered at his feet, nothing but rags of stress and dissatisfaction. Nothing gave him the feeling of the humming in his feet, the sway in his hips, the tap of his shoe. Nothing mimicked the moment of escape, no one could guide him from the darkness, away from the flame. The room was ablaze and he would burn for it.