Her hands trembled. Trembled slightly but perceptibly. She pushed a knife through a small green apple with her left hand. The uneven weight saw the apple teeter back and forth upon its edge. With her other hand, a green vape. It glowed along its length, a thin stripe that ebbed with use. It glowed anew when she took another pull. That hand trembled too. She tried to hide it by balancing it on her knee, "It's fine. It was bound to happen after all."
Her legs pulled into the cushion of the kitchen chair, black Converse tucked underneath her. The black stockings were ripped in places, in small circles. Her pristine pale skin underneath. Her comfort was the overlarge denim jacket. Maggie.
"Who says? You?" I took a drag on my stick. Where hers was green apple, predictably, mine was a weekly change. This time it was 'chrome'. It had a steel taste on the finish, finely tuned with the tobacco. I let it drain out slowly, vape covering my face. It gave me a second's peace.
I felt crowded. I felt restless and unhappy, which did not bode well for me or for my generation. We
fight against it constantly. I fought against the urge to pull out my phone and read whatever. It was already 9:18 and I would have gone through my pattern already. As the smoke cleared, she hadn't answered my question. It turned rhetorical.
Her, "It's Saturday."
I let her declarative lay there. What it meant was, 'What are we doing today?' I had no answer. I want to get out and run. I wanted to get out in the air. I wanted to go upstate. I wanted Saratoga Springs. I wanted Yaddo. I wanted to cut a vein and let it bleed along hand hewn paper. Scream. Breathe.
"Your face is dark," She took a drag and finally got the pinion on the knife, slicing a quarter of the apple. She picked it up and her half gone lipstick enveloped it. She chewed and made it always look cool. Her sunglasses, round and dark, never budged even when crunching on fruit. If I did it, they would bounce like a f*cking kangaroo. I sincerely am not cool.
"You're wearing sunglasses, darling." She made a grunt like a 'hm' and cut another slice. The smell of the apple infused the air.
Maggie. We first met, as was planned on the app, at the Parlor Pachinko in Fontana. She intoxicated me even before we met in person. Her breathing on the phone, heavier than most, came across with dazzling answers. The breathing sounded like she unmounted a wildebeest.
Me, "What are you into?" Dumb. Why?
"What am I not?" Pause. Breath, "Opera. Arcades. F*cking. Temperance. Old movies. Walks in the rain. What kind of f*cking question is that? It's so broad as to be worthless, it's so general as to be boorish."
"Shit." It was like a punch.
"Yeah," I had to meet her that day. And she walked in, as she looks now. Dark and denim. Hose and tennies. She walked with a swagger, not like a CG character. No offense, but there was femininity here. I'll f*cking say that in public, even if I am fined for it. I embrace my masculinity, and why shouldn't I? I may not have the right as dictated by the Clorventate, but I have some rights of free will, as warranted by the fussy fashions of the Assemblage. Whatever. Her body suited me. Her breath, a mix of vape and last night's lemonicello tea had me instantly hard. Her lips were like pillows. God bless us young and our prime. We f*cked like rabbits for weeks. I lost track of time and responsibility. I only remember hydration.
"Let's go to the comics store, Maggie," I said ignoring her. She got up to expose her lack of undergarments and my remembering, throbbing member made me wake up. Not enough to grab her and have her, like she was slyly trying for, but she had me again, at least for the day.
We wandered around The Dash, but I was found it better outside. I sipped at a crisp, cool red ginseng soda (I didn't recog the label) and it woke my slogging behind. I breathed in the city. DLA was clean this time of year - not quite summer, not quite fall. It was cooler air coming off the north deserts through the buildings. It mixed with the languid humidity of the Pacific. It woke my mind (finally) to the day. The smell of udon and a dark, rich soy sauce (frying?) lofted along the street.
She surprised me by jumping into my back. Her arms around me, her cheek resting on my neck. It was then I knew. It was then she bothered me. She broke my oneness with the moment. I let her hang there but I looked at the triangle of sunlight down the edge of Factory Place as it met Alameda and mildly cursed the weight on my shoulders. Knowledge is a dull, monotone thunder.
[part 2 here]