Tim never met the world’s gaze, his look always askance. Here, again, someone who’d rather not see. Well, I’d see about that.
“A problem, Tim?”
“That’s a load of crap,” he said. He avoided me, his classmates, choosing the black of the board. I waited and slowly, uncomfortably, he swiveled to face me.
I winked at him and said, “Yeah, Tim. Figures you’d say that. I’ve seen your mother.”
But even more than music and making art, Sara thrived on sex. For Sara sex was sustenance. There was simply no other word for it. She insisted on getting off once a day, and preferably not at her own hand. It was no accident, then, that she’d shown up at Aislinn’s wearing a plain Hane’s tank top.
On the sixth day I tried to forget about you completely and think only of survival while my eyes attempted to focus on the unending blue horizon. But I remembered the things we said we would do if you were here. I told you once I would open a vein for you and watch in erotic delight as you placed your lips around the open wound and transferred my blood to your body.
I care for small animals.
Once a week, I smuggle mice out of work. I stuff my jacket pockets with three sometimes four mice and deliver them from their overpopulated cages to freedom. It is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious, even-the-smallest-animals-count campaign that I started three weeks ago. It is a fact that mice can swim up to a mile and a half before they exhaust their energy and drown. With a highly acute sense of smell, they can also find their way home from up to five miles away.
Your uncle Paulie told you never carry a knife unless you know how to use it, right? That advice kept you alive for years. Even if it didn’t stop that kid from shooting you tonight, goddamnit. You’re flat on your back trying to hold your own blood in with your bare hands, wondering why it doesn’t hurt like hell.
The middle of the Brooklyn Bridge is not quiet, peaceful, or romantic, but sometimes when we were there together it seemed that way. We would meet there on summer Fridays, late afternoon; he would bike in from Manhattan and I would ride in from Brooklyn. We would meet somewhere in the middle, whoever got there first parking the bike and staking our claim.
As Carl Crowley eased his pickup over the rock-studded dirt road, a white dog slid from wheel-well to wheel-well, too weak to lift her head, too weak to whimper, her one good eye rubbing in the sandy, cold steel track bed. The dog was nothing more than loose bones and filth, and when Carl pulled up at the end of the road, she came to rest at the front of his track like a half-filled sack of grain.
Once in a blue moon, Mark turns to Leigh and grins, revealing the coin-slot space between his even front teeth.
“Maybe I should break it off,” he tells her. Usually it’s after the last ripples have subsided, while she lies wrapped in one of his brown sheets and he’s sliding away, showing his well-muscled back as he goes for the bottle of Black Bush he keeps under the nightstand. They meet in the apartment above his restaurant, two rooms expensively furnished in hypothermic chrome.
My mother was already convinced she was the mother in two previous novels (women to whom she bears no resemblance, both of whom I’d killed off in violent ways). How could I tell her that I planned to showcase her in the new book?
The thought was absurd, I know, misplaced, but it was pure. Like her. Maybe that’s what took hold of me. Her eyes were open, and kind, and seemed to be smiling at me, which was also absurd – why would she be smiling? Yet, that was my first thought when I found her.