“Traditions define us! Loyalty means something to me. Even if it is just a word to you!” I say. Let’s be honest- I’m old fashioned. Restrain. Nothing but complains tonight. Anyway.
“This isn’t what I asked for, Ira!”
I roll my eyes. Still. I can’t be angry with her. This time I cannot give her what she wants. It is impossible. Even if this is our hundredth discussion. “I’d give my head on a plate. But don’t claim that. Please! Please…” She can be as annoying as a hungry puppy, while I’m eating a steak. “I told you. I can’t get you that! I do not have the autorisation for that! And I told you.” That can’t be helped. “I’m doing more than just risk my job for you. You know, what will happen, if they catch me. Getting fired is the most pleasant thing, that they could do to me.”
“I DON’T CARE!”
What?! She really said it… “I’m sorry, Ira. I didn’t mean to…”
“You did.” It hurts. Like swallowing glass shards. I forgot. Natasha is… Natasha. I knew she chose me for a reason, and stays with me as long as I serve her purposes. And I know she’s not in love, or anything. I don’t need her to… I’ve got enough for both of us. It will be good – for a while.
Maybe I… I. No. I don’t even know her real name. She lets me call her Natasha. When we first met, in ‘Roadrunner’, a night club, she was sitting at the bar, staring into her Martini. Not looking for company, not interested at all. I was drunk and pretentious. I said, she looked like a ‘Natasha’. So she stuck with it. I don’t know, why she didn’t punch me in the face, for being such an ass.
She made it clear. The first night we spent together. She’s a stray. She doesn’t belong to anyone. Only to herself. Sweet Natasha. Her big brown eyes burning with madness, or anger, or sex. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference. Her wonderfully soft lips, speaking those words with such cold cruelty. The clicking of her teeth, her jaw muscles working under the skin of her cheeks. She fought for those words. She fought herself. I fell for her, that night.
As the weeks passed, she showed her gratitude… In different ways. And it meant more to me, than I ever could imagine. More, than I wanted them to mean to me. So here I am. Living with a stray woman, who needs things… Things I can supply her with.
“Come on, Ira. I’m sorry. I really am! You know that. Come on. Look at me, darling. Please forgive me! You know I’ve got temper. I don’t want you to get hurt. My mouth was faster than my brain. Forgive me.” She smiles sad.
I smile back at her. “I’ll just say, that it was the sockfairies…”
“I’ll be there. To pick you up,” she promises.
But I know she’ll be gone. Maybe by morning. Maybe tomorrow, or next week…
That’s me… Leaning at the bar, staring myself down, in the mirror. God, I look awful… My face. Always crumpled-up, like the artist just didn’t like it. Carelessly thrown away. Old coffe-stained drawing of me – there you go, my life in a nutshell.
On my left, a gorgeous lady, with assassins look, drinking champaign. She smells of dark chocolate, her curves carefully wrapped in satin, like a summer night, solid black, eyes like the edges of ice in my already emptied glass.
On my right, a drunk. A future me? Two years ahead, or maybe just two months, two weeks? Anyway… I imagine. Laying my hand on her tights, to get down into that black night of hers, drown in it… Those lips… “`nother!” The bartender smirks and nods.
“Sweetheart. You’re having too much,” she states. I know, but instead of an answer I nod. “Don’t you wanna have more fun, than getting hammered? Spare some energy. Do it for me, pretty please?” Her smile. I’d die for that. I’d give everything for it, if it was real. If it was not directed to my wallet. But it is. And she’s fake, fishing for clients. Getting paid hourly…
“No” Getting drunk is cheaper anyway. It is safer. For her, maybe for me too… I don’t need more blood on my hands.
“Poor baby. Having a bad day? Let me ease your pain. Oh, your shoulders, why are you so tensed up? Does it hurt? Oh, dear. You’re ravenous…”
“I need to tell you. Something.” I swallow. I really should tell her. I… “You… It’s. Simply, you’re um, ravishing.”
She laughs. A beautiful victorious giggle, narrowing her gleaming eyes. Come on, tell her. She really should leave me alone. For her own sake.
Lately, matter is clustering…
That’s news to me, since there was none before.
And I wasn’t constantly bumping my elbows or knees or heads in it. Seriously, you just turn around and pay attention to that dark energy thingy, and BAAAM! You bump your head into a galaxy. You should have seen the look on my faces.
Surprise! Someone is tossing dirty snowballs at you, just send them back flying into oblivion.
Space is expanding, which is good, now I can stretch, at least. Really! My back is killing me. Figure of speech!
It’s getting cold too. I don’t like cold. My kind loves heat. All kinds of heat and pressure. It’s just a matter of time, when it will be so freezing, that I start to hibernate. Duh, fingers already clumsy. I should start looking for a proper place to rest… Sleep comes soon enough.
Stretching is fine, ah.
I only wish I wouldn’t toss those little pebbles around. This is annoying. Look at that one. It flies right into my eyes. Stings like hell. Little mudball.
Germs be GONE!
The blades were rusted
The screeching noise sounds like a banshee cry.
“Put it back! The blades are rusted… Why do you have to be like that?! Looking means looking! With your EYES, not your hands. Why do you touch everything?” I already hear the words in my head, even before she inhales to hiss that answer.
“Because. It´s. INTERESTING!”
“Fine” I can’t hold back and grimace her words. I tell myself to let it go. It is interesting, alright. I turn my back on her and start to look at some old books and newspapers. One says eighteen-seventy-something. „Through the Looking-Glass?” Oh my god… First edition? Can’t be! Can’t be! Did we just hit jackpot?!
“Look! Look! LOOK!”
I turn round and see a… “What´s that?” A huge rusty sword. Crap, she managed to pull one out of it´s sheath. With both hands, she lifts it over her head and rumbles: “There can be only one!”
“Sssssssshhhhh! Are you crazy?! If they find us!” I try to calm her. Shish! I swing my flashlight through the room. Armors, spears, swords, paintings… What is this place, anyway? Old stuff, even older stuff. Seems to be really antique. I grab that book and shuffle it in my bag.
“Are we thieves now?!” She asks. I didn’t hear her sneak up on me.
„Mmmmhnoooo…?” Or maybe yes. I don’t know. Yet. “I don’t want the rats to read it, and then sleep in it.”
“As if! You’d never deny a rat good literature… Unless. Unless it is valuable literature. You’ve found something worth it, haven’t you?” I don’t like how easily she sees through me.
“Everything here is valuable. It´s a weird attic with everything I find interesting… It´s like we´re in my head.” I tell her and smile, hoping she´d be satisfied with that answer.
“I knew it,“ she snorts. “How much?”
Oh, god. Terrible. Ghastly. I’m going to be sea-sick. Or wine-sick, or just… sick.
“Don’t you dare! No! Don’t throw up! I caught that fish! Why did you drink so much wine, anyway?” Her pitching voice drilling itself into my head. More than annoying. Plus… I managed to get myself stuck here, on this boat. With her. In the middle of nowhere, without wind, without oars.
Fuck. That’s what I get. Serves me right, trying to screw her. Being romantic ‘n stuff. I think. I gonna…
“Son of a bitch! You owe me a lunch and a warm bed! You owe me good time! You little shit! Scumbag! Idiot! You brought us here! You prick, get us back! I won’t put up with you another week! I swear I’m gonna kill you.”
“No! No wine for you! No! Bad! Bad girl! Put that plate down. It’s the last one. It isn’t fair! My leg is in splinters. Oh, come on! I can’t even move.” But she’s right. I owe her. Much more than that…
She pulled me out of the water. I would have drowned, mangled up and unconscious. I owe her my life. She has to do all the work. And I just lay here giving instructions. It’s ok. She has every right to vent on me. Surviving that storm was a wonder, anyway. The currents though. I donno where we’ve been drifting too. Luckily we’ve got fresh water from the rain. But no more painkillers. Wine is a bliss. At least passing out from wine is better than passing out from pain. I’d wish I had some better stuff. The night is coming. It’s going to be freezing. Starlit autumn sky.
The full moon is rising above the black waters. It’s going to be nasty.
“If we survive this, I’m going to make you pay!” She yells. I hope we get rescued, before she throws me over board.
“It’s ok. I know. You’re my mad girl…”
A Chuck Wending – RANDOM SONG TITLE STORY CHALLENGE
This popped up on my dash: Grounds for Divorce, by Elbow
“Dogs bark. Money talks.” The bartender leans over, and winks at me… I nod at the shelves with the rum. He pours me a drink. And a second one too, for himself. Cocky jackass. I blow the smoke of my cigarito straight into that slick stony mug of his. Not flinching, eh? Not one muscle moving.
He’s not the only die-hard in here… The moment holds its breath ‘n turns blue.
Why are the nights brighter and less delusive, than broad daylight?
Is it because I know it’s a dream I’m observing?
Is it the lack of cause and effect?
Is it the knowledge of not being punished?
Am I innocent? Can I convince myself, that I did no harm?
Did it ever cross my mind, that I won’t stop suffering?
Will I ever give it a rest?
The only chance my heart gets to speak to me – the only truth and desires – is when I dream. And I am not listening! Not even then!
What does that tell you about me?
This could have been such a nice, sunny day to doze off, having nothing to do, but to fit my butt between the bulges on the couch and stare at the telly. Occasionally yelling at it, or giggling, or snoring- maybe…
I merit to have those days in sweet neglect of the world outside my living room! I really do.
I’m a nice guy, you see. Easy to cope with, understanding, a good friend, polite, a hard worker… But lately, all I get is a shit load of trouble I didn’t sign in for…
No, it’s not. It is freezing. Of course. That absent dreamy look I know exactly. “Shit. Why you have to do this in the middle of a fucking storm? Nice weather is… nice, you know!” I can´t keep my eyes locked on his face, after all, I have to drive. “Did you…? Mhhh. Are you? Are you high?”
“No. It is going to snow pretty hard.”
“Thank you, Captain Obvious! It’s been snowing for the last two days. Did you pack any supplies?”
“No, we don’t need…”
“What?! The cabin! You’re going to stay there for two weeks! Dammit. What are you thinking? Now, we have to turn ’round, to-”
“-NO! DON’T! We’ll be late!”
“Hey! Keep off your hands! Are you trying to kill us?! You ARE high! What the hell, did you take?”
“No-nothin’, honestly! I’m sober too. But. But I think I’m… I might be. I might be a bit crazy. No, no! Don’t be scared! I’m the good kind crazy, not that kind that kills.”
“Ooooh – Kay… Mhm. Should that – make me feel any better? I don’t see how…” He wasn’t staring into the snowstorm anymore. He pierced my skull with his eyes. Two gleaming spots. That burning sensation above my ears… I didn’t dare to look at him.
“You drive. I’ll keep the shadows away. And whatever you do… Don’t, just, don’t turn the lights off.”