Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blackbirds 1 - Chuck Wendig

"The bathroom door opens, and Del Amico steps out, wreathed in ghosts of steam. He might have been attractive once. Still is, maybe, in this light. He’s middle-aged, lean as a drinking straw. Ropy arms, hard calves. Cheap, generic boxer-briefs pulled tight on bony hips. He’s got a good jaw, a nice chin, she thinks, and the stubble doesn’t hurt. He smiles big and broad at her and licks his teeth – bright pearly whites, the tongue snaking over them with a squeak. She smells mint. “Mouthwash,” he says, smacking his lips and breathing hot fresh breath in her direction. He rubs a scummy towel up over his head. “Found some under the sink.” “Super,” she says. “Hey, I have a new idea for a crayon color: cockroach brown.” Del peers out from the hood formed from his towel. “What? Crayon? The hell you going on about?” “Crayola makes all kinds of crazy colors. You know. Burnt umber. Burnt sienna. Blanched almond. Baby shit yellow. And so on, and so forth. I’m just saying, cockroaches have their own color. It’s distinct. Crayola should get on that. The kids’ll love it.” Del laughs, but he’s obviously a little confused. He continues toweling off, and then stops. He squints at her, like he’s trying to see the dolphin in one of those Magic Eye paintings.He looks her up and down. “I thought you said you were gonna be out here… getting comfortable,” he says. She shrugs. “Ooh. No. Truth be told, I’m never really that comfortable. Sorry.” “But…” His voice trails off. He wants to say it. His mouth forms the words before he speaks them, but finally: “You’re not naked.” “Very observant,” she says, giving him a thumbs-up and a wink. “I got bad news, Del. I am not actually a truck stop prostitute, and therefore we shall not be fucking on this good eve. Or morning. I guess it’s morning? Either way, no fucking. No ticky, no laundry.” That jaws of his tightens. “But you offered. You owe me.” “Considering you haven’t actually paid me yet, and further considering that prostitution is not exactly legal in this state – though, far be it for me to legislate morality; frankly, I think what people do is their business – I don’t think I owe you dick, Del.” “Goddamn,” he says. “You love to hear yourself talk, don’t you?” “I do.” She does. “You’re a liar. A liar with a foul little mouth.” “My mother always said I had a mouth like a sailor. Not in an arr, matey way, but in a fuck this and shit that way. And yes, I am a big fat liar. My dirty, torn-up jeans on fire.” It’s like he doesn’t know what to do. She sees it; she’s really steaming his bun. His nostrils are flaring like he’s a bull about to charge. “A lady should be respectful,” is all he manages through gritted teeth. He pitches the towel in the corner. Miriam snorts. “That’s me. My fair fuckin’ lady.”" 4.5 out of 5