Sunday, October 19, 2014

Twenty One

Too much has happened, and my year slid by without a breather. I'd try to explain it all, but it would only seem like I was making excuses for seemingly disappearing. So, what I'll try to do, is catch you all up on my year, with photos.

And yes, the drawings/doodles are coming. The anticipation is unbearable, I know.

For this post, I'll be focusing on the Philadelphia Flower Show. If you're not aware, I'm a big fan of the green stuff. Like, huge. To the point where if I had the opportunity to go to college, I wanted to study Botany. (Or teaching...a job with weekends, holidays and summer vacations is pretty badass, right?) I try to grow what I can in the meager flowerboxes and 4" pots I have throughout the apartment, but, I secretly long to have a beautiful, outstretched lawn dotted with a variety of colorful, manicured flora. It seems odd, I know. I honestly don't have an explanation for it myself.

So, to help bring a little of my fantasy life into reality, I make it a point to go to these shows every year. (Though, to be honest, these and Calabrese shows are the only things I ever go to lately. Being broke all the time sucks.) Of the 200+ photos I took, these were some of my favorites.








The theme this year was "ARTiculture". I tried my best to take decent shots of all of the displays, sans the enormous crowd that liked to stand in front of me at every possible turn. Being tall, I'm used to getting knocked around or getting ignored, but sometimes, you just really want to throat punch said people.







More fun displays. The lighting at these shows are always rigged to make even this puke-shaded yellow pretty. I have more of the exhibits on my phone, but they didn't come out as well as these did.








My phone was also doing some interesting things that day, depending on how I took the shot. I could get a neat little effect where it either looked water-colored, or like the arrangement was made entirely out of plastic. Probably just over pixelization from the zoom function, but, eh.

 Samsung should really start advertising that for weirdoes like me.






"In the name of the moon, I shall....eh, sell you orchids?" 









Hyacinths. Oh, hyacinths. How you perfume the air, how your colors seem so merry! 
Also, watching little kids try to say your name or even identify you is pretty amusing, too.








More plastic action. Trying to get some of these shots sucked, because my shadow kept getting in the way, especially if they were lower to the ground.





 



The last of the group. It's amazing how many folks were bypassing simple colored leaves like these just because they didn't have a big blossom on top.






The city outside, while we were eating lunch. Yes, it really does look this depressing and gray, especially when the season is anything other than summer.



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Look! Proof that I exist! That I was there!
...And, that I dragged my husband to the whole shebang. He hates it, I know, but he goes because he knows I don't like to go by myself.


There you have it. Next post will have something fun, for sure. Or at the very least, something not completely dull. What that is, I have no idea. Unless you're all interested in my daughter's birthday party or Calabrese squees. Then boy, have I got a post for you!

Until then.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Twenty

New date, new post!

Oh, and...happy New Year! *confetti*

Or, if you're like my sister and mom, my condolences on your calendar turnover. May it pass as quickly as it came. Here's a tissue.

I've...been thinking about things lately. Mostly, that I shouldn't be afraid to post some of the stuff I've written over the years. For some reason, I had it in my head that if I posted anything, people would just go around plagiarizing it willy-nilly. But, they have checks and balances for these things, right? Not to mention, I can't exactly change the date for a post. Sure, I can rearrange how it appears, but, I cant actually make Blogger lie about stuff. Unless there's a hack for that. Can you water board a website these days...?

So, this is a story I wrote 3.5 - 4 years ago.  I consider it to be one of the best fleshed out ideas I've ever had. It took just about a week to do, and those who have seen it tend to like it. I'm not saying it's fantastic by any means, but, I'm guessing it won't feel like a waste of time afterward.

Even though, it was rejected by Glimmer Train...

Ah, rejection. My new-found skill.

Judge for yourself, though. Enjoy, even.

Leningrad


"The pale moonlight silhouetted her slim figure, midnight light curving to every movement of her body...." he began, his voice strong and convincing, "...Robert had but one option when she approached. Do I embrace her, loving her and yielding to her every whim, or do I kill her where she stands and rid myself of this overbearing curse? The voice in his head talked faster than he could comprehend as she seemingly glided across the floor--"


"Freebird!" Someone shouted, the beer-logged gurgle in his throat accenting the last syllable.


"Ah, yes...." he said, fixing his glasses, "...I'll get to that in a sec.--"


"Moon River!" A woman yelled, giggling over the sound of her own voice.


"God Save the Queen! Do that!"


"Something Beyonce!"


"As I said, I'll get to the music in a moment, I just--"


"Danny Boy!" Someone said, his Irish accent too thick and goofy to be real. The bar moaned at the idea of it.


"Alright...." the man on stage said, folding his papers and sticking them in his back pocket, "...the new issue of Amazing Tales goes on sale this Tuesday, with the rest of that story in it. Be sure to pick up a copy. And now..."


In a few bars, everyone knew it was an Roy Orbison song, and a few people let out a 'woo!' in victory. Sean filled out the song with his best imitation of the late singer, his face twisting in some places trying to hit just the right notes. People clapped and even sang along, the place lit anew with enthusiasm. In minutes, it was over. He waved and smiled a thank you, and crawled back down and ordered a drink.


"Y'know, if it wasn't for the fact you can sing, Sean, I'd be hard-pressed to let you up there again. Why don't you just quit writing and find a band er something, and make a living offa that?"


"I know, Hess. You're not the first to say that to me, either. I just..."


As he trailed off, the lights dimmed down again, and a woman dressed in something like an over-sized sequined tank top took the stage. She pointed one crookedly painted blue nail outward and began, her sways in perfect time with the song. A group of men clamored to the front of the stage, some just happy to see a good-looking woman, some, hoping that her dress would hike up enough to show something a little more.


"Here's your 'manly' drink...the 'Fuzzy Navel'."  She winked, her brown hair falling over as she leaned forward.


"Yeah, thanks. Sorry I don't have any Rubles this time. I guess just some American money will have to do, eh?"


He slid a 10 toward her as she mouthed 'smartass' at him. Grinning, he turned his attention to the stage, sipping his drink through the giant swirly straw Hess put in there on purpose. The woman on stage was just finishing out 'Lady Picture Show', a light mist of sweat making her already unkempt yellow hair flop about on her face with every bob, swivel and turn. Sean watched, slightly transfixed at her gypsy-esque magic that she seemed to spin on everyone with unabashed flair.


"Hess.....who is that? I don't think I've seen her here before."


"That?..." she asked, head jerking stageward," ....Dunno. She was here a week or two ago, but before that I've never seen her. Why, not thinking about cheating on your boyfriend now, are we?"


"Right, my boyfriend. The guy on Green street, right?" muted sarcasm accented every word.


"One in the same!"


"Look, just because I gave him some money and let him stay in my apartment for the night--"


"Ooh, sounds real romantical! When do we get to the bubble bath scene?"


"There was snow on the ground, and it was supposed to drop to below freezing! How was I--"


"Evening, comrades...." a voice said, cutting off the playful argument, "...How 'bout a drink?"


Sean felt a nudge on his right, and saw the same sequined woman smiling up at him though her dark painted eyes. She was intensely thin like a model, and just as languid to match. He looked at her for a moment, caught off guard by the enigmatic essence that still hovered in and out of her like a cloying perfume.


"Sure, honey." Hester said, bailing Sean out of the awkward moment, "What'll it be?"


"Whatever he's having." she said, looking at the half-drunk peach colored concoction in his hand.


With a nod and a smirk, Hess went about mixing. Lights flickered from blues and yellows to pinks and reds as another person climbed up on the stage and began singing something that should have been 'Lady in Red'.


"So..." she said, playfully chewing the corner of her mouth, "...My name's Allison. You?"


"Oh, sorry...." he said, putting his drink down and wiping off the condensation on his Dickies, "...My name is Sean. It's uh, nice to meet you, Allison." he extended his hand as he cleared his throat.


"Cute." she said, looking at the hanging limb.


Two men nearby came over and moved in on her right.


"Hey, honey. What's your name?" the older one asked, his graying mustache twitching as he spoke.


"Allison. You live around here?"


"Sure do. Would you....like a cup of coffee? At my place?" he asked, the thick, tinted words barely hidden.


Sean put his hand down as he heard semi-intimate giggling coming from the conversation. Chewing on the umbrella toothpick that was left from his drink, he stood and watched, as the glitter in her eyes and on her skin aimed at another target.


"There you go, sweetie. Anything else I can get ya?" Hess asked, her round face just was warm as her smile.


"No, I'm good..." Allison said, grabbing her glass and walking away with her new-found friends, " ...He'll get my tab, wont you, Sean?" she called over her shoulder, nearly seductive and inviting.


She never waited for a response and just as quickly disappeared into the night, confident and cat-like. For a moment he had hoped she'd forgot something and would come cascading back though the door and maybe he might have a second chance to make some sort of impression on her. Even though he had just met her, something stuck in his head, buzzing about, annoyed and perplexed. And he knew he would see her again.


"$14, please."


"Huh?"


"Her tab. Said you would get it. So pony up." Hester stuck out a thick hand and wiggled her calloused fingers.


"Wait....$14?! Why is it--"


"Well, $7 for the drink, $5 for the glass she took off with."


"But what about--"


"And the $2 is for trying to help you out. Tch, when was the last time you went out with a girl, anyhow?" she withdrew her hand and placed her fists firmly on her wide hips and cocked her head to the side.


"Erica. " he said, quietly remembering the time they had together and the time they've been apart.


"Ah, her. The 'I-just-want-a-friend-with-benefits' girl."


"Right." he said, twisting his mouth this way and that, "I wonder what she's doing now...?"


"Well, she 'aint with you, so, I figure she's out there, somewhere, 'benefiting' friends all over the place."


"Hess!"


"Just sayin'."


---


Sometime after midnight, Sean began his walk home. The air was cool, and the city slept soundly, with only the occasional train whistle and hum of some nightlife far from where he was, peppering the cricket chirps and steam hisses coming from the vents. He took the long way home, despite feeling a little more buzzed than usual, hoping the beat and thrum of the rustling trees and breezes would help him clear his head enough so maybe this time he could wake up without the usual fruit-scented hangover. He kept his head down and walked briskly, stopping once or twice to wipe the fog off of his glasses. As he got to the front door of his apartment building, he began to fumble around for both his keys and his notepad.


"Every time..." he mumbled, somewhat amused as to how he must look with one hand down his right front pocket and another in his left back pocket.


He found the notepad first and sat down on the steps and began.


"Robert awoke the next morning, breathing heavily. Something wasn't right, he thought, something heavy and unchangeable. Did he yield to the whims of his temptress the night before? Or was it....something else? He felt weak, and looked a little pale...but there it was, his pulse, fast and hammering. It was then he noticed a pair of crimson lips..."


Sean looked up, feeling a sneeze working its way to his nose and squinted. As allergic as he was to certain alcohols, it still never stopped him from his ritual. Grabbing a semi-used tissue he had in his pocket, he tilted his head back, squeezing, and waited. From the corner of his eye, he saw a figure at the end of the block wiping furiously at the corners of its mouth. A car passed, and from it's tinted lights he could see a cobalt dress twinkle and shimmer before fading back into the darkness.


---


"You...! What do you want from me?!" he shouted, "I cant bring him back, Sophia! Nobody can! Why cant you see that?!"


"Because..." she began, nearly gliding across the floor to where he stood, "Your powers--"


"Suck!" someone shouted, gaining a few belly laughs around the bar.


"C'mon, Sean!" A woman called, "Sing, already!"

  

"Alright, if I could just--"


"It's my biiiiiirthdaaaaaay!" a man with a slight lisp crooned, "Sing meeeeee a soooooong!"


"Uh, I......if I could just--"


As he started to speak, a glimmer of blue caught his eye. She was alone again, her swagger and swing just as captivating as before. Already, someone had noticed her, and began to chat her up. 


With a sigh, Sean punched in a few numbers and 'Say it Ain't So' came on loud and clear. He grabbed the microphone with a yank, and sang, every pitch and note just as perfect as a radio, if not better. A table in front drunkenly sang along, and a girl or two in the back provided back up vocals when it was needed. When it was over, everyone cheered for an encore.


"No, no..." he said, blushing slightly, "...Just remember to pick up Fantastic Tales at the newsstand this Tuesday. 'Robert's Tale: Part 4' ...don't forget!"


As he hopped off the stage, he looked for where Allison was standing. If he was lucky, maybe she would forget who he was and he'd have a second chance at a first impression. Maybe he could even get her number this time, if he was smooth.


"What's buggin' ya, buddy?" Hess called out, a few feet away.


Sean walked over and sat down, brows bent, almost comically. "I thought I saw Allison."


"Allison who?"


"That girl..." he said, making small, obscure hand gestures as if to further explain the point.


"Raccoon girl in the blue dress?" she asked, half jokingly.


"Yeah." He said, face lighting up for a second, "She was here, right?"


" 'Course. Some guy tried talking to her earlier, when you were on stage. He called her Michelle though, and kept asking about some coat..." Hess shook her head. "Must of been fall-down drunk with some sort of mistaken identity. She looked kinda mad about it too."


"Did she leave?"


"Nah, she's in the bathroom..." she said, waving. "...And, for you, your highness. One 'butch' Pina Colada."


"Do you find it strange I like mixed drinks like this?" He asked, half accusingly.


"Strange, no. Gay, yes."


"Do I really seem that--"


"Uh, Sean, no offense.....but, between the fem-drinks, the 'no 1-nighter' policy, the singing and the fact that you even care about what you wear...." she said, trailing off, shrugging, "...seems kinda gay to me. I mean, if I didn't know you and all."


He sat back and sipped his milky white concoction through another ridiculously over-elaborate straw, fiddling with the yellow plastic sword lancing the 2 cherries and pineapple wedge. "I guess...." he said, thinking it over.


The lights washed over the bar as another song started up, the first lines of 'Days of the Week' coming out bold and clear. A few of the men who were sitting nearby all got up and walked toward the stage, grinning from ear to ear. Sean turned to see Allison on stage, swirling hypnotic prisms of blue capturing the attentions of anyone who dared to look. Through her sways and near tantric hold on the microphone, she spun her craft, and its hold was strong as any golden noose. Aimlessly, he picked up his drink and followed, his legs taking him before he could think about what he was doing. 


Sean held his breath, utterly and completely captivated. Allison smiled, and hooked her bony finger at him, dark eyes smouldering.

He blinked, slightly dumb. And the song ended before he could even move.


She hopped down from the stage, and her admirers flocked to her side. Sean felt his moment slip away from him again, and sighed. From where he stood, he could see her laughing, her ruby red lips pursing, puckering, glowing. All aimed at someone else.


He walked back over to the bar and sat, more chewing than sipping at what he had. Defeated, he put his head in his hand and spit the cherry stem on the bartop. 


"Buddy....buddy..." Hester said, wiping a rag over where the dessicated stem was, "....you gotta pounce when you get the chance. And you gotta stop messing up my counter here."


"I know."


"Well, if you did, then why didn't you?"


"I....Well, I.....I don't know. I had lead in my shoes the second she...the second she..."


Sean could feel the words, but couldn't say them. What he saw, and what almost everyone saw, was a force beyond recognition. In a  way, he nearly felt embarrassed and stilted at the totality at which she could ensnare her victims, effortlessly, with even just the mere flick of her wrist. But yet, here he was, as was a handful of other men, longing to chat her up, and even a little confused as to why.


"Evening comrades..." came a voice from behind him, ".....how 'bout a drink?"


Sean nearly spun off his stool when he turned.


"Allison...uh...h-hi." he said, nervously, his mouth suddenly turning dry.


She grinned, her eyes half lidded. "You remembered."


He smiled, the blood rushing around his head making him a little high from being this close to her again.


"What'll it be, sweetie?" Hess said, cheerfully breaking up another awkward moment again.


"Whatever he's having." she said, nodding slightly to her left at Sean.


"Sure thing." the barkeep said, flicking the now mute boy in the arm with her thick rough fingers.


"I saw you the other night..." he said, the words falling out slightly ungraciously, "...on the corner across from the pawn shop."


"Really..." she said, not really looking at him, "....what was I doing?"


"You were....uh.....walking. And you stopped. It looked like you were trying to fix something." he could feel his confidence trickle back in with the proof of knowledge.


"Wasn't me."


"A-Are you sure?" he said, feeling slightly red, "I mean, it looked just like you. It looked--"


"How?" she asked, slightly interrupting, "How did I look?"


Temptation hung in her words as she looked him dead in the eye. He could feel her pulling him in closer without ever touching him.


"You looked...." he trailed off, as another man came up behind her, and put her arm around her.


"Ready?" the guy with the red hat asked.


"Sure." she said, grabbing the drink that Hess made before she could even put it down or say anything. "You got this for me, right Sean?" she asked, smirking as she walked.


"You remembered..." was all he could reply before she floated off, never turning for his reply.


---


He had a little more than he did the time before, so by the end of the night, putting on a jacket somehow seemed a little funny.


"You gonna be okay walking?" Hess asked, handing him his scarf.


"Yeah, I'm fine. I can still walk. I'm not that drunk yet."


"I can call you a cab...." she asked, concern peppering her usual blunt way of talking.


"Nah..." he said, shaking his head, "....it's only a few blocks away. I'll be fine, trust me."


He said his goodbyes and pushed the thick, heavy door that lead outside, the latch clicking closed before he started to feel the cold from the city start to work its way into the fuzzy heat coming off his body. The still of the night and the scent of impeding rain helped motivate him on his way home, the fog of sneezes hanging just minutes away. Despite all this, he took a different way home, avoiding the direct route and main streets as much as he could. Tomorrow, he would wake up, go to work, and work on another chapter. And then...


Sean stopped to wipe his glasses off, pressing his tongue to the roof of his mouth to stop the tickle that wormed about his sinuses. As he looked down, a still-lit cigarette butt bounced in front of him, the ruby kiss at the end of it making it somehow more playful. As he put his glasses back on, he looked in the direction of where it came from. In the streetlight, he could see a silhouette against the wall, yellow hair flopped in front of her face, cerulean sparkles calling to him.


"Allison...?" he asked, not sure, if he really did drink too much that night.


She lifted her head, smoke billowing out of her nose like a great dragon from ages past. Her arms wrapped around themselves in an attempt to cover her bare arms.


"Hey..." she said, slightly slurred.


"Are you....okay?" he asked, not sure as to why he was asking it.


" M'fine." she said, eyes locking on him.


"Do you need help getting home?" he said, nose starting to run, sniffling.


"I live far away...." she said, head drifting off in another direction, "...You live around here?"


"Yeah..." he said, feeling his head begin to flush, "....Just a few blocks from here."


"Well, lets go, then." she said, smiling, moving, it seemed on the air itself.


"T-to...I mean, with me?" he asked, taking a few moments too long to register the inflection.


"Well...." she said, promise hanging in her voice, ".....I -am- cold. Unless you have any other ideas."


Sean grabbed the tissues out of his jacket and took it off, smoothing it out slightly before handing it over to Allison. "Until we get there." he said, smiling.


---


Sooner than he had realized, the two were at the front door to his apartment. He clumsily searched his front pockets for the keys, nose running,  and grinning against the pre-rain mist. In his mind, he could spend as much time as he wanted talking to her, getting to know her, and then maybe even stealing a kiss by the end if things went well. If not, then he could always try in the morning, over breakfast, when both of them were sober. His waffles could dazzle anyone.


The door opened, and with it, the first few patters of a storm followed. Both of them hopped inside and closed the door, creeping up  the hallway that connected with the stairs that led to every floor. The lights were out, as they usually were, and with the growing drizzle outside they climbed up nearly blind. Sean held Allison's hand and wrapped the other around her shoulders, and tried as hard as he could not to let his seemingly huge jacket trip her any more than it did.


By now the sniffles were full-blown sneezes. Holding a wad of napkins in front of his nose, he let a few fly before finding the key to his front door. Through the darkness, he could feel her smile as he opened it.


"Well..." he said, flicking the lights on, "....it's not much. But I'm working on it."


"Did you just move?" she asked, noticing the lack of furniture.


"Yeah, kinda." he lied.


"From where?"


"The suburbs..." he said, thinking of his parents' house, "...around where that big church fire was last year."


"I see." she said slurring nearly gone.


He looked around his living room and realized just how basic it was. A sofa, a coffee table, a small T.V. on a wide stand, and a pair of cheap curtains. He inwardly kicked himself.


"Ah, well, I'm getting some paint next weekend...." he said, trailing off.


"Cute." she said, taking a seat.


A minute passed before he could think of anything to say. 


"Oh, um, I-I'm sorry...." he said, suppressing the urge to curl up in a sneezing ball and hit the reset button, "...can I get you anything?"


"Whatever you're having..." she said, playing with the scarf tucked into the neck of the jacket, "...no coffee though."


Inside his tiny kitchen, Sean poked his way in and out of the cabinets. Cereals, sugary mixes, chips, cookies and other assorted things were pushed around before he came across a tin of chocolate macadamia nuts. It was one of the only things he had that wasn't packed with artificial everything, and seemed sophisticated enough for company. He thought for a moment about making her some tea, but ceded that it might be the same as coffee at the moment. Instead, he grabbed a pair of cherry wine coolers and walked out into the living room, blowing his nose as much as he could before turning the kitchen light off.


He deftly opened one of the drinks and handed it to her before opening the other one and the tin. As he set both of them on the coffee table, he saw her taking big thirst-quenching gulps as she drained her entire bottle.


"Oh...um...would you like another?" he asked, slightly amazed.


"Sure...." she said, slyly, taking his bottle from the table. She popped two nuts in her mouth as if to accent her actions.


"Heh....well, do you wanna watch something?" he asked, charmed.


"No."


"Okay. Well....what about 20 questions?" he said, half jokingly.


She stood up, shedding his coat as she moved. She flicked her hair up and out and reached for the straps on her dress, sliding them down her shoulders, slowly, letting gravity take the last third of it. 


"How about this?" she purred, stepping out of her clothes and her heels at the same time.


Sean sat muted, his jaw hanging slightly slack. A sniffle caught his attention as he swallowed deeply.


"A-Allison....I...." he said, shaking his head slightly, his focus being pulled in five directions, "....I can't....."


"Why not?" she playfully asked, her dark, dark eyes locking his gaze.


"Because I...don't know you yet..."


"So ask me." she said, climbing on top of him, leaning in so her bare chest was just inches away from his. She pecked his cheek with a slow, soft kiss.


"Oh....uh....." he stammered, holding his breath slightly, trying to concentrate, "...Where are you from?"


"I told you..." she said, moving her hands under his shirt,"...far from here."


"A-Are you Russian?"


"Nope." without much effort, she had his shirt off.


Sean could feel his body betray him as she swayed a trail of light kisses down his neck.


"Please....I don't...." he said, his pulse quickening.


"Ask me." she said, sliding over him, back and forth, teasing, taunting.


"Do you have.....a boyfriend?" he could barely get the words out.


"Right now I do."


---


He remembered waking up the next day in a heavy cloud of chocolate and cherry fog and post sex bliss. He wanted to hold on to the feeling as long as he could, burying his head in the over-stuffed pillows that cluttered up the first half of his bed, inhaling deeply. Despite the sour taste in his mouth, and the slow churning in his stomach, he felt good, better than he had in a while. The night before, he felt powerful, intense and strong, like a warrior coming home. And the morning after he felt a little unfocused, wrapped in clean sheets and completely drained. He knew he wouldn't write that day, and even considered not going to work.


Sitting up, he looked for his bed-mate. She was gone, and had probably left hours before, the warmth from where her body would of been long gone. Through everything, he never got a chance to ask what she does for a living. A question he would have to ask later.


He walked over to the bathroom and turned the lights on, missing the first two times. Looking in the mirror, he saw himself behind a cherry smudge kissing the glass. A little bit of the haze from that night wafted in, as he touched the spot, inwardly smiling. He hoped she'd left her number somewhere. If not, he knew where to find her.


After a shower and a shave, he made his way into his kitchen. The bottles were still sitting on the counter, next to the near-empty tin of chocolate macadamias. He grabbed the closest box of cereal and ate, without the bowl or milk, hoping the pure sugar spike might make him feel a little more grounded. There were no dishes in the sink, so she didn't eat anything before she left. He wondered what she would of done if he had made her something before she went. He imagined that she would of liked it.


Minutes before he had to make his way to work, he scrambled about the living room for his pants. He picked them up, whipped the belt off and put it on, then dove into the pockets for his keys and wallet. He stuffed the keys in his right front pocket and opened his wallet, hoping he would have some extra cash for a nice lunch today.


And it was empty.


The various cards and his one credit were all still there, and even the soda tab he kept in there for good luck was where it should of been, but all the bills were gone. He thought back and tried to remember just how much he had spent, knowing that whatever he did, he usually kept enough for the rest of the week. Maybe he really was that bad that night. Maybe he should curb himself more.


He thought about calling up the Leningrad and talking to Hess, hoping she could help him sort out what he did. But it would be hours before they opened, and if he was going to catch the bus, he had to leave now. He took his notepad and wedged it in his back left pocket, just in case, and picked up his coat. It was still pooled on the floor where she had left it, and her scent still faintly misted the inside. It would have to be enough for today. When he came home, he would feast on popcorn and gummies, and look for wherever the night took his scarf.


---


As he finished out the last half of 'Blue Velvet', Sean thought about doing another song. Even though his diet recently was nothing short of unhealthy, between the gobs of sucrose and fat, he still was pitch-perfect and flawless.


"Sing another!" a woman cried out, face ruddy from drink.


"Myyyyyyy biiiiirthdaaaaay is toooooodaaaayyyy!" the man with the lisp said, "Siiiiing tooo meeeee!"


The tables around him groaned, and his buddies giggled, sloshing foam on the table as they clinked glasses.


"Go, Sean!" another man with a thick accent shouted, a thumbs-up in approval encouraging.


"Heh.....thanks guys...." Sean said, feeling a little sheepish now that the attention was on him directly, "...Maybe later tonight. But for now, don't forget to get the latest issue of Amazing Tales on Tuesday. Look for 'Robert's Tale: Part 5'...it's the best yet!"


Hopping off the stage, he felt confident. Since the last time they were together, he had practiced a few things in his head that he would say to Allison, aiming for polite, yet, easy talk. He didn't know whether or not what they had did would of been okay for any roundabout conversation, so he thought if anything, she would be the one to bring it up if it was significant. Now, all he had to do, was sit and wait.


"You seem happy tonight. What gives?" Hess asked, smiling.


"I dunno. I just...feel good, I guess." he said, smirking.


"Well, since you feel so good,  I made you an extra-pretty strawberry daiquiri." she said, lancing the last of the three sugar-coated berries, topping it all off with a big umbrella and crazy straw.


"You're so good to me." he said, half-joking.


"Don't you know it!" she said, putting a paper doilie under the pink mess, "My widdle Seannie!"


As he sat and slurped, he caught a familiar sparkle out of the corner of his eye. She was talking to someone at the end of the bar, animatedly. Her smile faded as the man stood, and the two seemed to argue. Sean crept closer, concern dashing his thoughts, and a little fearful of having the possibility of fighting someone who looked much stronger than himself.


"Just give it back!"


"I don't know what you're talking about! I've never seen you before in my life!"


"Bullshit, Tracy! You and I walked out of here a few nights ago, and next thing I know, my watch and my money are all gone!"

"It's not my fault you lose your crap! Go blame someone else!"


Allison stood and marched over to the ladies room before the man could get another word out. Sean watched as the guy made a move to go after her, but stopped and slugged the rest of his beer instead. He spit a line of curses in her direction and slammed the mug down as he left. As he passed, Sean noticed he stumbled as he opened the door.


 Sean sat down just as Hester came over to collect the mug.


"What was that all about?" she asked, a little confused.


"Dunno. He was arguing with Allison over some stuff. And he called her Tracy. Must be drunk, I guess. He nearly tripped over the threshold when he left."


"Huh..." she said, rolling her tongue in her cheek,"...seems to happen a lot to her, dont'cha think?"


"Nah. People just need to keep track of what they do, that's all..." he said, sighing, "Speaking of, Hess, can you stop me when I'm about to spend my last dollar?"


"Since when have you ever done that?" she asked, amazed.


"The last time I was here. The next day my wallet was empty. I remember having a lot that night, and since then I've been eating nothing but what I had in my apartment."


"Sweetie..." Hess said, slowly, with caution, "....the last thing you did before you got your coat was have me break the large bills in your wallet. Even your last drink was on me. You definitely had money when you went home. What else happened that night?" she asked, reaching out for his arm.


"Well, I was here, then I left, then, I..." he said, not finishing his sentence.


Before either one of them could say anything, the lights flashed as another song was starting. He heard the first few lines of 'Wicked Garden' and turned to see Allison on stage, swirling, mystical and blue. Her lips were curled and red, sensual sinuous slithers of glitter dancing and spinning, hypnotic and inviting. Men followed aimlessly to the stage, cheering, cat-calling, wanting more. And there, on her otherwise bare neck, was his scarf, waving.


Sean held his breath, and smiled.


There! You made it to the end! Was it as bad as you thought it would be? Terrible? Perhaps, even...dare I say it, mediocre? (And let's not get into the grammar and numerous typos, I'm sure...)

I await all comments.

Until then.