Monday, October 25, 2010

Free-Writing III

10/25/10, 9:39 pm-

She was a frightening girl. She had eyes like icicles, if you looked too long they'd shake and fall and penetrate your head, bleed you out. It was as if fire had no troubling her, heat had no stance, as if the ends of the earth were too brittle to hold the weight of her being there in her fine shoes and tight pants. I watched her every day like that, talking on the street with the winos, breaking the quiet morning with her easy laughs and taunting screams. Men in suits looked at her like a nightmare version of their wives, the worst parts of them distilled and pasteurized into something so pure you could only snort a little or you'd drop. She bled men out. She was the end to their boyish dreams. If she spoke to you, if you were lucky enough to catch her attention, you'd find yourself ten minutes later waking in a daze with no money, no will to live, lipstick on your teeth. She was what the boys called a blood diamond. Sure, she'd solve all your problems, but at what cost.

The day I broke into the convenience store for a pack of smokes I learned her name. Something with an E, I think. I did the smartest thing I could think of and went about forgetting who the hell she was. The way she screamed at me, I knew it would end in love, and that would end in crime scenes, and that would end in my mother coming down from the mountain house and crying in a chair. I couldn't have that. She couldn't see me now, not when I was so close to dying completely in her eyes. It was the second nicest thing I could do for her.

When the train shook me awake that morning I could smell the diesel in my hair, the rattle of bones and veins, the old men coughing up vodka phlegm. It was a way of life for them, a job, and they'd tease me about my clear complexion saying it was a liability of the highest order. I knew one's name was Lem and the other King but I always mixed them up. I'm not sure they knew the difference themselves so I left it alone, let them eat their ketchup and cereal, towel their armpits with paper bags they threw to the ground and let blow into the fence in yellow shame. I remember something about a dream, and in the middle of it Lem or King asking me what her name was, and me saying something with an E before I could catch myself and they laughed themselves hacking.

When I hopped down, I could see her eyes already. Something with an E. She'd be the death of me and you could tell she knew it the way she watched me across the street. It was an inkstain. A bleedout. She was the reason I'd hopped down, I was sure of it, felt it in my toe-bones, felt it in the hot gum of the morning blacktop, the shuffling, the magnet that took me into the backroom of that store where they kept boxes, and when I turned around she'd followed me in before I could tell her not to, not that I could, and she held her hand out smiling, not smiling though, maybe mock-winking, I can't remember her face only the brush against my hand as I put the carton in hers and she ran and I ran, and she pushed the clerk and he grunted and went down and I laughed, I think I laughed, I can't remember, just the wind and the whooping of Lem and King thinking they'd get their share but they never would, I gave them nothing and they gave me nothing, not the usual rules of the streets but fuck them, they'd watched those bar kids fuck with me, kicked my stuff, so fuck them, I don't owe them anything.

I remember when we stopped. There were shopping carts and it smelled like chinese food from last night's drunkeries, and we were breathing lungfuls of acid and she was looking at me knowing she'd be the end of me. I was looking forward to finishing the cigarettes. They felt expensive the way they weighed. I was sure it started with an E.

-9:58 pm, 19 mins, approx. 740 words

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