3WW, "Mass Transit"

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are grin, jumble and naked.

Mass Transit
They met, haphazardly, on an express 3 train, one of the older ones with the yellow-and-orange butt-cupper seats where everyone tried to leave a spot open on either side of them, so as not to have to deal with the touch another human being for the duration of the ride.

Devon Richter had entered the car from the end door, the one closest to the turnstiles, and hoped upon hope that someone leaving would vacate his favorite standing spot by the opposite door.

Kate Beecher entered the car through the middle door and was propelled forward into the crowded car by the crush of the bodies surging and had to stretch to grasp middle pole, which ran down the length of the car, except for spaces at the doors. She gripped the metal while holding her sleeve over her exposed palm, clutching mostly cloth, rather than the cool sweatiness of the steel.

They both watched as riders did their usual dance at each successive downtown station, standers sitting in slots that opened by those who were getting off and when a good spot to stand opened up – always at the doors, where you had the luxury of standing next to just one other person and you could rest your ass against the steel while the train lurched between stops.

Richter was lucky. He’d claimed his door spot – he usually didn’t take a seat during rush times, since manners drilled into him since grade school meant he’d be taking the seat of an old woman or a lady with kids or some disabled vet – and slumped into the door.

For Kate, it took three more stops before a seat opened up, and right under Devon’s armpit too, as he held onto the steel that framed the bookend of the seat row. He didn’t use his shirt to hold onto the pole like she did, secure in the knowledge (his own, of course) that it was much better to get somewhere and wash your hands thoroughly and quite vigorously to combat any and all germs that lingered on all train surfaces.

During a rather violent train surge as the 3 came into Grand Central, Devon lost grip of the steel and brushed Kate’s hair with his fingers, and got a pinky stuck where she had gathered her bunny-colored brown hair into a ponytail.

“Really sorry,” he said, face aflame.

“No worries,” she said, her white skin flush around her cheekbones. “This train driver, huh?”

“He’s making me a little motion sick,” Devon said, captivated as he watched the swell of Kate’s breasts as he stood over her scoop-necked blouse.

He grinned. She grinned back, a toothy smile that turned upward at both corners of her lips, which Devon found endearing and more than slightly erotic.

Nothing more was said between them until 14th Street, where both were to exit. Kate got up from her seat and Devon ran squarely into the back of her – his groin pressed into her butt – while adjusting his headphones. The collision then propelled her forward, squishing her solidly into a elderly and rather portly Korean woman who was having trouble getting her wheeled luggage cart they all seemed to have these days rolling forward on two wheels.

“Really sorry,” he said into her ear, as close as he was, truly invading her personal space.

“No worries,” she said. “What’s with all these luggage carts, huh?”

They stepped on the platform one after another and turned right, Devon exiting the station through the metal bar gate while Kate hit the turnstile, and both took a last look before the hit opposite stairs.

“You, ah, I know it’s a little early for a beer or something, but a coffee maybe?”

Her sheets were a jumble between them and Devon had propped himself on an elbow, uncovered and completely naked, and watched her sleep. He studied her, observed Kate’s chest rise and fall, listened to her snore, which was something of a cross between a purr and a hiccup. He wore an odd little smile on his face, and as she woke, he brushed his graying hair back out of his face.

“Hi, you,” she said.

“Hello yourself.”

They kissed, and as they parted, she looked into Devon’s face, trying to discern the grin, which she felt was a mix of sly and somewhat satisfied knowing.

“Oh, good God, you’re married, aren’t you?”

“No,” he said as he put his face into the warm nape of her neck. “But I am considering the possibilities.”

3WW, "Mrs. Delacroix In Mourning"

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are damp, incensed and skid.

Mrs. Delacroix In Mourning
Rosaria Delacroix rested her ample ass on the cracked steps that led into her building, chain-smoking his shitty filterless cigarettes. She couldn’t find her Indian Spirits and there was no way she was going back into their fourth-floor walkup, not now.

The damp had re-animated that yellow-and-white tomcat’s musky piss and she found herself taking gulps of air and smoke and holding them together for as long as she could possibly hold out.

It being spring, the clouds had rolled in, and a fine mist coated everything. Her hair had suffered the most, its inky-black richness reduced to a spring-loaded kinetic sculpture of tangled curls.

Yesterday’s mascara bled from her eyes, the present wetness of the weather having reactivated the tears that spilled it in the first place. She had a look of quiet desperation, or a punch-drunk sinister clown, depending on the reaction of her lips in certain positions.

Rosaria blew out another cloud of smoke, shook a fresh cigarette out of the crinkled pack, and lit the new with the old. She flicked the butt and watched it skid across the wet concrete, lit by a single street light, off the curb and into the gutter, where it floated off into the darkness. Her mind drifted after it.

She took to thumbing the dollop-sized, rusty stain on her faded jeans. Again. Like if she rubbed it enough, it would simply go away.

“Fat fucking chance,” she said through a stream of smoke.

Neil Delacroix was slumped next to his tan microfiber easy chair, the very one that was not yet paid for, quietly cooling, a cheap stainless kitchen blade wedged between his fifth and sixth rib. In all, there were 17 three-inch slash marks – now heavily crusted with drying blood – dotting his light-blue work shirt, the one with Neil neatly stitched above the left breast pocket.
For as much of a weak fight he put up – let’s face it, he was 6-foot, 5-inches and more than a little overweight – Rosaria had floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee. All 5-foot, 2-inches of her. He had fallen hard, and in the end, curled up like a question mark.

His face wore a mask of questions and pain, of course. Some genuine surprise in there, too.

The fight didn’t last long, but it had elevated quickly. Same old, same old. His needs for Rosaria to be get a goddamn job and help pay the bills. Her wants for him to shut the fuck up and get off her back.

She’d been hacking up a chicken for the stew pot and Neil sorta just ran into the first thrust. Rosaria kinda kept going once the bloody foam started to form across his lips, where he kept repeating “Cunt” in various tones, like he was searching for the perfect lyrical balance.

She hated the word, it incensed her, his crude use of it. She tired early of his backwater ways, the jumble of sayings she just never got. Raised in rural Louisiana, Neil came to the city after Katrina washed so many lives away. Rosaria was a child of the streets, went to public school and managed to graduate without getting pregnant and needing to wear a nursing bra under her gown.

She had plans, but the city can suck on you, suck the juiciness out, so she stayed in the neighborhood, learned how to do hair, and watched helplessly as she grew older and rounder, while those in her chair got younger, more supple.

Rosaria’s brother, Miguel, had introduced Neil to her during the Cinco de Mayo. The boys were porters at the same Upper West Side condo, where rich white folks had a way of looking right though a person until Christmas, where they made a big splash at giving out cards to the help, stuffed with cash. It was like their one big chance at being magnanimous, which pissed Rosaria off plenty.

Neil and Miguel, hell, they were just happy to have the sudden influx of income, which meant maybe a few more beers for Miguel and a day’s fishing for sunfish and perch in Harlem Meer for Neil, with a spiffy new rod and maybe a few new lures.

Rosaria seethed at the gifts, churned silently at the fakeness of it all. Even when Neil bought her something nice with the influx, like her antique-white canopy queen-sized bed, or the matching microfiber chairs, part of this year’s recession-depleted largess, which accounted for the six months, no-interest deal they’d been forced to strike with the discount furniture place.

She was now thinking of the chairs, while picking pieces of tobacco off her lips, and how she was going to pay for them, rotting her ass off in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women.

“Fuck that,” she said.

Rosaria fished her mobile out of the back pocket of her jeans, flipped it open with her thumbnail that was painted with several layers of red lacquer and sprayed with silver glitter.

She hoped he’d answer. No, Rosaria silently prayed that he still had the number operational, since Caesar Lopez had a habit of shifting cell numbers frequently. Part of his business plan. It’s best, when you’re dealing smoke to the niggers over in Harlem, to be open to new and cheap cellular devices and various plans that you can pay for by the month, or with a rechargeable card.

Caesar was Rosaria’s high school flame, the one boy she did let stuff a sticky, sweaty hand down her pants during a showing of Forrest Gump at the Loews. From those first few fingers in her, the relationship had burst into a passionate bickering that usually cooled whenever one or the other started in with fists over some minor disagreement.

Yet Caesar and Rosaria were drawn inevitably back together, now to the backseat of his Lexus or her new queen-sized bed when Neil was out bowing to the white folk, then their sparks lead to fire, then flames, then to more fists and bruises and an end of hostilities and a general retreat.

Rosaria relied on him to keep her life real. She liked his cash, too, the way he earned it. Caesar bragged that he liked having her in his hip-pocket for the easy piece of ass, but he secretly wished theirs could be a love story with lasting ability, even though she hit hard and she was really easy to piss off most times.

Rosaria dialed, chewing on her bottom lip as the rings added up past a dozen, and breathed a sigh of relief and smoke when he picked up.

“Hello lover,” she said. “I finally did something about that big, dumb nigger. Yeah, for real. I’m going to need help cleaning it up, though. Yeah, it’s a mess. Ok, I’ll see you.”

She flicked the phone shut, stuffed it back into her jeans, lit another cigarette.

“I think Neil just missed Louisiana,” she said, practicing. “I got home from work and he was gone, no note or nuthin.”

3WW, "Invitation"

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are brandish, forbid and manage.

Invitation
“You’re certainly not the man I though you were,” she cried through an expensive silk hanky. “And I forbid you to make a fool of me one more time.”

“Excuse me?”

“That’s it, I just can’t take it anymore.”

The train has lurched to a stop. She bends forward, brandishes the rounded softness of her cleavage, an extended view I cannot turn away from, then brings her manicured hand across my face. The sting of its surprise manages to bring tears welling to the corners of my eyes.

She exits the train and for the next two stops, I feel the heat of the passengers' perturbed stare all over me as I try and sink into the robin’s egg-blue plastic seat and rub the prickly sting of my red-raked cheek.

My walk to the office is consumed with nervous confusion. I get to my desk, finger the breast pocket of my dress shirt. Again and again.

I pull out the business card between two fingers, feeling the creamy ivory cardstock that’s embossed with a single telephone number in chunky black type.

On the back, written in a tight, perfect script is one word…

Dinner?

OneWord, Curious

The word of the day at OneWord is “curious.” Sixty second and it’s flash fiction.

Intros
“I’m curious,” she says, lapping at his earlobe before applying pressure to the flesh between her teeth. She’s got a finger slowly circling his left nipple.
“Uh-huh?” he says, all dreamy and relaxed.
“Your name.”
He clears his throat. Smiles.
“Ah, well, yes, we’ve not been properly introduced, have we?”

Fiction in 58, Happy Hour

I haven’t done a Fiction in 58 in forever. Feels kind of rusty.

Happy Hour
“How much ice in your drink?”
“Huh?"
“Ice. How. Much.”
He focuses on the soft features of her face, the small crinkles around her mouth, which is down turned, disapproving.
“Fuck do I care?”

Her wrist flicks ice into the highball.
“This is your last, babe.”
“Bullshit.”

Death, he thinks, mid-swallow, comes too damn slow to those who deserve it.
“Set me up.”

Photo Friday, Burlesque

 My second foray into pinup and Burlesque photography. I'm not entirely happy with the results, but I'm trying. The rest of the set is on Tumblr.

More Places of Me

I've got a Tumblr blog now. Mostly photography (sorry Blogger, you suck at it), observations and my quest for a 4-Hour lifestyle.

Check it out right here.

3WW, "Lovesick"

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are grace, jitter and thin.

Lovesick

She knows he’s much, much too thin and it pains her when they’ve not seen one another in consecutive days and there’s that initial shock that almost comes out in a gasp, which she instead stifles by sucking on her teeth and breathing heavy.

His joints are all knobby and sharp, skin stretched taut like a drumhead. He smiles gauntly and his teeth protrude where his gums have receded. He can see it in her eyes, the jitter of being here in the apartment, so close a proximity to his apparent wasting away. Good, he thinks. Very good.

He shuffles to the sofa in socks that his calves no longer can hold up and settles in, leaving nary an impression in the cushion.

“Sit,” he says, motioning with a bony hand toward a rocking chair, since he knows that doing something, even just rocking a bit, will get her to open up.

She does as he commands, kicks off her heels and with the tips of her stocking feet, pushes herself into motion.

He coughs, a long and tortured rattle and this brings tears to welling in the corners of her eyes. He composes himself by wiping away the foamy rope of saliva that’s  bubbled up on his lips with the back of a hand. He hides the hand under the other in his lap.

“So,” he says.

She plants her feet, stops all motion and leans forward, elbows on her thighs, hands together as if in prayer, her chin resting on outstretched thumbs.

“There’s no grace in this,” she says.

He laughs, which causes his wild mane of hair to quiver, accentuating the grotesqueness of his withered features.

“You were the one who said no one ever died from a broken heart,” he says. “You insisted it, in fact.”

Tears are streaming down her face and she refuses to look at him.

“Love isn’t supposed to be this hard,” she whispers. “But yes, goddammit, I’ll marry you.”

But he doesn’t hear this; his ears are filled with the crushing ta-dump, ta-dump of his heart, which is in it’s final throes toward death.