The Nature of it

A man and woman sat at a kitchen table together drinking and smoking.

“Pass me the lighter, please,” she said. “Thank you.”

She lit a cigarette and exhaled a large cloud of smoke that swirled in the dim light hanging from the ceiling above the table. The room was painted a yellow that was more upsetting than uplifting. Boxes of cereal cluttered the top of the fridge. An ashtray sat center of the table, filled with ash and butts. To the right of the ashtray was a copy of H.G. Wells’ Time Machine.

“How many have you had tonight?” he asked.

“Drinks or smokes?”

“Both?” he questioned.

“Why don’t you tell me since you’ve been fixated on keeping count all night and I lost it a while ago.”

“You shouldn’t smoke so much,” he replied as he poured himself a glass of whiskey.

An ad for chewing gum blared on a television in the background. It was a young man sitting at a table nervously shaking his leg, presumably waiting for someone. Probably a date. He pulled out a stick of gum and put it in his mouth. A tidal wave of fresh water came out of no where and drenched him. A woman in a short skirt and high heels walked by him and lent her hand to him and the two walked out.

“And you shouldn’t drink so much,” she pressed back.

“I’m tall. It’s different.”

“You all say that.”

“Say what?” he asked.

“It’s different.”

“Well, it is. That’s just the nature of it.”

“The nature of it?”

“Yes. We’re different, men.”

 “Well, sure. You’re quite less intelligent.”

“I mean biologically, we’re different. Look, I’m just saying it’s going to take a lot of anything before it effects me, that’s all.”

 “Of course. And I’m just a little woman who shouldn’t drink too much or smoke too much because it will effect me differently.”

“You make it sound mean spirited.”

“Oh no, I get it,” she said, nodding her head up and down while rotating the wine glass clutched in her right hand in a counter-clockwise motion.

 “You’re mad,” he replied.

She finished her glass of wine in a slow tilt of hear head backwards.

“It’s like a re-sale value, right?,” she asked. “If you were a car it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been driven, in fact the more times the better for you, your value goes up. But not me. Say I was. No. Mine goes down each time I’ve been driven.”

He lit a cigarette now.

“Welcome back to The Bachelor,” the TV blared. “We are down to just two contestants, both of whom have won over the heart of our bachelor, but one will have to pack her bags at the end of tonight and head home. Stay tuned to find out who.”

“Well, when you buy a car how many drivers would you want to have driven the car before you bought it?,” he asked.

“I could care less, as long as it was taken care of and not damaged,” she replied pouring herself a glass of wine. “Besides,” she added. “What do you know about cars anyways?”

“As much as I need to.”

“You’re probably one of those guys who gets behind the wheel and floors it before letting the engine warm up. You have to take it slow first, let the oil grease the pistons.”

“I drive just fine, thank you,” he replied.

“You’re in no shape to drive now.”

“I’m fine, really I am.”

The woman got up from the table and began to walk down the hall heading towards her bedroom.

“I can smell your whiskey breath from here,” she replied.

A few hours later, the man rose from bed, dressed, and left the apartment. While she slept, he drove.


Oh, Paul

dark street

Late at night I wonder if you made it Home from your long walk

On streets littered with trash, and mud, and puddles of rain that cars drive through and splash onto you, in shoes with egg shaped holes and worn out soles, they transport you- your body, a stick figure frame swimming in ripped jeans and a patched hoody that—still has a few, small holes—from point A to point B every night. The great mystery. I lay in bed and wonder. I imagine mean dogs with sharp teeth and nasty barks chasing you. I imagine rough people with knives and guns robbing you. I imagine you lost in dark streets with no streetlights or signs to guide you.

I imagine sleek cars whizzing by, and you, unheeded, like a stray dog, wander in the night.