Post Mortem

When did I know that today would be unlike any other day? Certainly not during the neuron withering argument over something stupid I am said to have said or done or not said or done, according to Annabelle who knows all my faults and logs all my failings in her hermetically sealed vault for times such as these and all times to come.

I don’t want to argue. After fifteen years of the guerilla warfare known as marriage, I seldom feel up to it anymore. Even when I’m the offended party. Satisfaction for this tongue-tied poet comes not in spontaneous frontal assault but in surgical postscripts. So as soon as she paused in mid-sentence and spun off to the bathroom to relieve herself, I wasted no time reciprocating the gesture and broke from the house in a sweat-inducing trot, the sun just beginning to dip behind our little brick rowhome as I stole across the ice and snow-slicked avenue for the River Drive running path.

Was it then that the premonition, no more than a tiny prickle down the nape of my neck, insinuated what if, what if, this was absolutely the last time? Since these thoughts came so often—what with the separation with Annabelle so imminent and so long in coming I paid it little heed as my lower half accelerated like a fine sportscar, second, third, winding quickly up to fourth gear, pulse pushing blood to fingertips at 90% of cardiac output and any apprehension of singularity fading as I closed in on a bouncing brunette ponytail. Before passing, I slowed just enough to appraise her waxed, glowing shop-tanned legs and the baroque flourish of butt she’s no doubt out here to tame. I blew past the pretty jogger, replaying the argument with Annabelle. I crafted a withering rebuttal I wished had occurred to me ten minutes earlier and filed it away to end our very next battle in my favor, even while acknowledging how pathetic and sad that is. But I wasn’t sad at that particular moment.

Not at all. The adrenaline lust philosophical endorphin cocktail swirled in my veins as Lou Reed wailed Sah-weeeet Jane through my brand-new Skullcandy noise-cancelling earbuds and I assured myself that if the Angel Gabriel played an axe, it would indeed sound just like this solo when an oncoming Nissan Sentra, candy-apple red, does the funniest little shimmy left then right, then leaves terra firma entirely, like one of those George Jetson-mobiles.

Jane, stop this crazy thing!

In a strobelight pop and a flash of red, Lou punched out and I was twirling like a wayward kernel in a hot air popper, the acceleration and disorientation like the rickety Loop the Loop coaster at the Kennywood Park of my Pittsburgh youth. I never stopped but landed and I can’t even say that because there was no downward motion or interruption of motion. I simply was on the roof of the Vesper Boat Club House surveying the grim scene below with what can only be described as serene detachment.

I saw what I saw – there was no mistaking it for anything or anyone else, but I’d … I don’t know, I’d just always imagined my end as being, well … more conclusive. But here I am, shrugged from my skin in a gesture as peremptory as flipping an egg and as my monologue rattles on unabated (as it always has) it forces me to accept that I do too. Body and soul, not only independent and but now independent and separate. I’ve been a lapsed Catholic most of my life, but in these latter years a tenuous agnosticism had taken hold and I’d pretty much rejected more or less in sequence:

Original Sin, Redemption, Hell, Devil, Heaven, God, Soul and Afterlife

There I was and here I still am … sum of the cogito. So what else, who else is out there? Hello? What’s to become of me? I tell myself I’ve been a good man, better than most really—but no saint. Judge or be judged. That’s what they say on the other side of the fence, but do I have any say in this? Here’s the first test.

Isn’t my life supposed to flash in front of my eyes?

Quick as asking, it did. Every moment from the tight bloody slide of my head from my mother’s crotch, my childhood, every student I’d taught, every woman I’d fucked (and loved), every poem I’d ever written, all I’d achieved, and all and all and all I’ve left undone. All rewound and re-lived with the fierce, gorgeous, breathtaking, heartstopping clarity of a spike of heroin. Not that I’d ever … Let’s just say it’s a good thing this experience is reserved for the end of days. Who’d ever want to do that again?

I would.

I would! I’ve made some god-awful choices, mostly with women and having just relived them all, I feel the full weight of disappointment loading up, heavy, clanking and clamorous as Marley’s chains. I feel sick. I despise myself. Judge or be judged? I judge myself a failure. But hold on. Hold the fort! It isn’t just the fanciful speculation of poets and philosophers, but the mathematical models of cosmologists and Hilbert space theorists that speak to alternate universes, infinite self-similar bubbles where all choices are better made, unmade or remade. Before the modal realists we just assumed there’s no rewriting history. Now who’s to say? What better time to find out?

I turn to the steel and glass city I’ve called home my entire adult life. It’s gone all aflame, its crystal blues, obsidians and slab grays, doused with buckets of gold—living, luminous gold that pours down ochre, umber and rust into its canyon streets. Staggered by its loveliness, like a woman undressing by the river’s bend at sunset, I raise my ghost voice.

I will not leave yet
Regrets, love debts
You know what I mean?
What we ask for
What we receive
The closed door
The open heart
What passes for
What passes through
And what remains behind
I will not leave yet
So many regrets

I am at her door. My finger on her bell.
Her name is Carrie Anne. Like the Hollies song.
Hey Carrie Anne!

I wasn’t sure about you, she said. Not until I got this. She bounced excitedly on her toes, en pointe, waving the poem I’d written after a sleepless night’s jerking off five times in a row wasn’t enough to drive the image of her, naked, twirling on a balance beam and landing in my arms. Over and over I’d replayed this fantasy until it became obsession and obsession became fetish and the lines rewrote themselves so many damned nights that I lost count.

Never had the balls to send it. Inexplicable, really. The question tormented me for the rest of my days. My first love poem, unseen by any other eyes but mine, lies moldering away in a green folder in a cardboard box in my basement. Why?

No, here it is, so fresh it crinkles in her dark little hands. And here she is, my Carrie Anne, my first, unrequited, unclaimed, lost love. Seeing her again, all those twisted sixteen year-old anxieties land thump on my chest. I barely suppress a giggle. In light of what else landed there today—it certainly puts things in perspective.

She throws her arms about my neck, mashing her tight little breasts up against me, French kissing with all the clumsy ardor that makes teenagers so beautiful.

I didn’t think you were interested in me.

Oh but I was.
I fell hard the very first time I saw her.
That and I’d always wanted to know if what the guys said about gymnasts’ asses was true.

She graduated a year ahead of me and enrolled in one of those Midwestern monoliths where her gymnastic prowess secured her a berth on the US Olympics team. Sadly, it was the squad that boycotted the Moscow Olympics after the Ruskies invaded Afghanistan. I made plans to look her up and offer congratulations, condolences, myself. By the time I’d passed through her town, I’d lost my nerve yet again and never ever got any further than her name and a phone number scrawled under the 36-year old version of “her poem,” the one crumbling in the cardboard box by the water heater.

I’ll only let you in if you read it. She waves the poem in my face. God, the paper even smells new.

Oh hell no! I never read my old work.

What are you talking about silly? She kisses me again and thrusts out the paper. Read!

It’s only six lines:

How beautiful you in motion are.
How like an angel,
Expressed, like a train bound to my heart
If you would but be my lover
Such beauty, such motion
Would have no apprehension but in my arms.

I hang my head and hold my breath. I pray she won’t take me to task for the cribbed words and florid syntax. She’d sat two rows away from me in AP English, all straight glossy chestnut hair and shiny brown eyes and paid attention to everything. Even me sometimes. I’m sure of it. But except for some stares held overly long, how could she ever know how hopeless I’d been over her? Seeing her again, I realize for the first time that she is Latina; some caramelita confection of the Spaniard and the dark races they bumped aside in the New World. It always amazed me how many details we miss in the people and situations we assume we know very well. However closely we look, I think we always miss more than we see.

My parents aren’t home, she offers with sly dark eyes. Come in. Wanna see my bedroom?

Yeah, I do.

My greedy eyes absorb everything as I mount the stairs behind her. It is all I can do not to touch the clockwork orbs I know swing under her tartan miniskirt, just out of reach and barely out of sight as she ascends. More evidence of divinity? Her tiny bare feet make no impression on carpeted surface. The muffled quiet of the house is broken by the mournful chime of a grandfather clock in the livingroom. I stop dead at the upstairs hallway mirror. Staring back is the shockingly familiar reflection of the lanky 18 year old lad who’d worshipped this teen siren in abject misery and not the 52 year old man for whom the wound of wanting but not having had not so much healed as scabbed over. She turns at her bedroom window; her palms smooth the man’s loose cotton tee and outline her sorbet cup tits with their bee-stung nipples.

Stand back.


I have a routine to show you.

A routine?

Yeah, me in motion. Just like you wrote.

I meant every word. It …

Get ready to be inspired, mister poet.

With a delicate curtsy, her hands slip under the plaid skirt and slide her panties down about her ankles. A step and a playful kick send them sailing in my direction.

Then she launches herself into the air and for the second time this day, time and space seem to cartwheel about me; her shoulder length hair twirling like the dance of the galaxies, her loose cotton shirt collapsing about her wrists and the tartan skirt billowing inside-out to reveal the trajectory of her downy brown snatch with its tight dark whorls sailing straight for me. With a grunt and a last second extension of her arms, her naked legs land on my shoulders.

If I extend my tongue I can just about touch the cleft vee not an inch from my nose. When I do she scissors my neck and I lift her by her arms and spin her shrieking to the bed where she bounces pleasingly atop the flowery bedspread, her tight form and its better purchase drawing me as magnets close together with a desperate metallic click, her neck atilt, eyes aflutter as I prize open her molasses thighs to place the tip of my cock at the tiny base of the delicate morsel between them.

When is the union of genitals a union of souls?
Her squeaks, squeals and whimpers.
My sighs and moans.
My fingertips press to her throat.
Her fingers jammed in her mouth. Where does the free hand go during such moments? It’s a riddle—one of many I’ve contemplated during various acts of love.
Her childhood bed protests noisily under us.
Her staccato breathing, my hoarse grunts, quicken in concordance.
On the brink of coming, I withdraw, fighting, panting down the overwhelming urge to finish the act and pin her legs all the way back to take her from behind.

You know, with ass-fucking, how at first your lover’s hole presents a tight parsimonious ring, one you never expect a dick to fit in, then with a little slick, steady pressure and mutual inspiration, it relents just enough to offer entry and with it the extreme pleasure religious folks claim God did not intend us to have. (Assuming I see my Maker soon, I’ll be sure to ask.) With a little patience, the ring, the tube, the walls relent, offering a fluttering muscle-gloved embrace as smooth and accepting as any pussy. Well hers never does relent. It may be that she is young or exceptionally well-trained, but she holds me down there like the fist of God, throttling and squeezing and fighting and though her voice says yes, yes and her silky hips say yes bucking up against me, and her legs thrown high over my shoulders say, yes oh yes, take it—her back passage relents not one millimeter until a spasm stiffens her like the rigors of mortis and a seismic explosion rocks her core where she holds me so tightly I can endure no more and screaming I shoot up and into her, pumping waves after waves like a man bleeding out into the vacuum of space.

Happy now? Lying on the bed, she turns to me; the angle of the sun in this light-flooded little girl-cum-woman bedroom bisects her—the tilt of her face, her breasts, her thighs, her peaks and valleys, half ablaze, half in gnomonic shadow. Are you happy? I know you’re not really here. But I hope you’re happy. Wherever you are … happy, her whisper trails into the darkness lengthening between us, we should’ve done this so long ago, when there was all the time in the world. I always wanted to.

And damn, before I can even respond, I am back on the Vesper Club roofdeck and the sun says no time at all has passed, but far more incredible than that, an entire antediluvian layer of regrets has—blown off like so much prairie dust sweeping away years of crudded failure with all women since her. It’s like warm matter annihilates cold antimatter in the universe’s own version of orgasm or whatever it is in a ghost that compares to the glow in a living man’s bowels, that tight just-fucked dick-ache confirmation that yes, surprisingly yes, everything that high school boys say about gymnasts’ asses, is in fact true.

I am in bed with Annabelle. I recognize her unencumbered profile, as familiar in the dark as her unperfumed scent. I also recognize the forms of her ample bra and the black cashmere sweater she wore on our first date tossed hastily over my desk chair. I’d knelt behind her on that bed and static electricity crackled between us as I peeled the fuzzy, clingy garment off her solid chest. I’d unhooked her bra and admired her generous breasts with gentle strokes and kisses. She’d then requested lights out and we’d gone to bed together on our first date.

Much later in our relationship, she’d joked that I’d married her because of the way she looked that night in her cashmere sweater. There’s a bit more too it than that. She was ripe, blushing and mysterious. I’d reached around in the dark to cradle her heavy breasts. I toyed attentively with the nipple within easiest reach, admiring how its silky smoothness knobbed and elevated under my thumb. She sighed heavily and wriggled her apple bottom against my raging cock which I interpreted as a signal to proceed, but she suddenly became resistant. So I stopped and waited for an explanation. She’d offered that she was on the pill, but hadn’t done this before, which I’d taken to mean she was a virgin. I hid my shock well I thought. So that night, at her insistence, we kept our knickers on and only slept together.

The heady prospect of taking her virginity instantly became my new obsession. Already well-practiced in the art of delayed gratification, I was suddenly presented with a huge and totally unexpected payoff. All that night, I stroked her gently and remained an absolute gentleman. Rising and dressing in the semi-darkness, she left me that morning with a kiss. Her spot in the bed was still warm when she bent to kiss me, boldly passing her hand under the sheet and squeezing my cock, whispering next time. Next time. I promise. Everything you want.


Freely and completely yours!

I spent the next hour with myself. I’d lost count of how many times.

She stood me up that night. She didn’t return my calls and I never got an explanation that made sense. Something about having to keep a date with a downtown lawyer she’d made before she’d met me. I got totally shit-faced and swore I’d never call her again. I didn’t have to. She showed up uninvited the third night, a bottle of wine, candles and flowers in hand. She’d put the flowers in a vase, lit the candles in my dining room and made up as I made dinner. On her knees, by the sink, she unzipped me and timidly took my cock into her mouth as I rinsed the salad. A mixed bouquet, fresh green angry makeup sex which was good, wonderful actually, with just a sprinkling of bitters.

See, I’d worked myself into a total state, anticipating how I’d take her maidenhead, lingering on every detail of deflowering my first and only virgin. How delicately I’d position her body for the assault. How gentle but firm I’d be as I entered her. What it would feel like to be held inside her, knowing I was her first. How I’d fold her in my arms and comfort her after the deed was done. The blow job, tepid and uncertain as it was, should have been the first clue. Nothing in longterm relationships is ever free and complete.

So I go back again to the first night in my bed, when I didn’t have all these subsequent memories, when Annabelle was more unknown than known and everything between us was breathless and exciting. My hand soothes the curves of her breasts, her breathing gets heavy and her bottom wriggles invitingly against my tentpoled BVDs. I go back knowing everything it had taken a lifetime to learn.

I turn her face toward mine and kiss her insistently while my other hand sneaks under her panties, lifting the virgin cotton from the coarse mat of hair and her juice-slicked labia. Two fingers slide in, right up to the second knuckle, nestled to the furry, sticky base of her pubis. The only resistance comes from the rear guard, the too-tight elastic waistband that pinches protestingly against the back of my hand. Not a virgin. I hook my fingers inside her, asserting this truth, as if the lie would have ever made me want her more. Who knows what drives the minds and hearts of women? I never did. Her lies, my lies, leapfrogged across the years, layering the crust of our courtship and marriage. Until the end, I never took her to task for any of her lies, any more than she had mine.

She moans in my mouth and half-heartedly tries to extract my hand, but her protest wavers as my buried fingers find a rhythm that distracts her. Her hand flutters and falls limply to her thigh then takes to stroking my arm, her lips offering one token complaint, ‘not your fingers,’ so I yank off my underwear and help her with hers, scrabbling, before she can change her mind, to replace my cock in the spot that my juice-soaked fingers have bookmarked, staking it like a miner lowers himself into a tight, bottomless cave, the delicious resistance almost virginal, though I never had nor ever will have any basis for comparison.

I love you, she whispers as she moves her hips to offer herself, I love you, she repeats more insistently as she spreads her legs wider to give herself completely to me as I plunge my cock so deep inside her, again and again.

This dilemma originally presented in the throes of our third night and how absurd it was, good guy that I’d always considered myself to be, how could I respond in any other way than that which consummated the relationship that never quite jelled, more coagulated, over those fifteen years? How can you pump away in a woman, take her most intimate gifts and not provide her the assurance she seeks? Even if you have to lie to do so?

I don’t love you, I respond.

There’s no unkindness in my voice, but her body stiffens as if slapped. I thrust harder and deeper and it’s as if something splits inside her, eyes welling, face twisted to one side, contorted in pain and pleasure, tears flowing but hips pumping mechanically under me, accepting, offering herself at last, freely and completely, as a virgin offers her throat to the sacrifice blade.

You can’t love me. We’ve just met. It’s too much, I add as our hips gnash in the finality of the deed that can’t be broken. Too soon.

This duality of arousal and turmoil in her body thrills me and the stifled ‘It’s not!’ sob in her throat gave voice to my cock as I squeeze my eyes and explode into her, all rockets and stars and tumbling ass over teakettle into blackness knowing at once in any alternate storyline my truth had corrected, that there is only this single night of sex, no protestations of love, no marriage, no desperate attempts and grim failures at compatibility, no children, no “making love last,” just me, eyes reopened and staring at a bleak, sad, middle-aged face in a bathroom mirror, April morning light, the sound of water running under me, love’s cosmic slate scoured clean by the most caustic of all erasers.

I turn off the faucet, the feel of water on my hands only a dim memory. A desperate sob chokes my throat because I know exactly where I am, the staff john at the university, the one place I am not prepared to be. I will attempt to leave, but an unseen hand will shoot from the last stall and drag me in and she will throw me against the wall, tear at my crotch with claw-like fingernails, devour my lips with sharp teeth that mash and press, shove a thrusting, desperate tongue down my throat while her insistent hand wrestles mine between her legs to stanch the gush I remember made me feel as small and helpless as the Little Dutch Boy before the Zuider Zee.

Nearly four years ago, I’d rebuffed her; frankly her wantonness terrified me. I’d pushed her away and not gently. Annabelle and I had just restarted couples therapy and after a particularly bad session I might have inadvertently led Lucy Kournosova on a little—a momentary flirtation, a lapse of judgment. Nothing more. I thoroughly enjoyed Lucy when she was talking shop, (linguistics), and not going on about her other specialty—herself. Her in-your-face intellectualism was fearless and sexy, but she’d misread me. Too greedy, too desperate. No seduction. No come hither stares or coy words. Just pull you in a bathroom stall and fuck your brains out? Where’s the romance in that? Well, no thank you. There wasn’t enough of me to go around as it was. Speedy, crazy Russian bitch.

Two years of marital misery ground under the wheel, during which time I revisited the bathroom episode many times over and finally came to realize what Lucy had known all along.

That we were the same.
That we belonged together.
My hindsight, her foresight.
Her aggression now understood for its urgency.

But she had her pride too, oh she had her pride, and I’d sorely wounded it. Another year unraveled and an extended, teased-out foreplay ensues—each week new poems are written, some of my best work, entire cycles some, wooing missives invariable returned unopened, crumpled, torn and judging by the wetness on some of them—spat upon or worse.

When I, (bright boy), decided to “go green” and started emailing my apologias, she diligently printed them out, as her point really couldn’t be adequately demonstrated without something to crush. Weeks of rejection accreted into months. Yet I clung to one flickering hope, call it poet’s hubris, that she couldn’t help but see what I’d written before invariably depositing another little paper carcass on my desk. Unwilling to admit defeat, I sent one last desperate email the Monday before the winter break.

Just three short lines – as follows:

Friday, December 14, 6:00 pm
Room 214, (the staff john)
No more words.

I was quite certain that a little wad of paper would appear on my desk at some point that week, but when it hadn’t by 5:30 on Friday, I rose from my desk, locked up and sporting a dog-eared paperback Lorca, I proceeded to the last stall in the second floor bathroom. Finding myself with a growling nervous stomach and time to kill, I did what one should in a stall to the muttered refrain of Romance Sonambulo:

Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shade around her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
Green, how I want you green …

By 6:30 my legs had gone numb from sitting way too long and I lurched painfully to my leaden feet, pounding my flanks, praying the God I didn’t believe in to relieve the pins and needles stabbing my lower extremities. Convinced I was wasting my time and that the window I’d fought so hard to reopen was closed forever; I heard a click. The bathroom door? Then a series of clicks—heels on tile. Then water in the sink. Then another click turned the light out and I smelled perfume. Her voice tested the darkness, just outside my stall:

This is a song of the final meeting.
I glanced at the house’s dark frame.

I knew the work. I smacked the circulation back into my thighs and responded:

Only bedroom candles burning
With an indifferent yellow flame.

I unlatched the door and pulled her in.

Mistress. She told me afterwards that she likes the word, for in the precarious equilibrium of infidelitous love, it perfectly captures her role and the balance of power between us. Mistress Lucy, lingual linguist, lust—the tight, parched bud—denied, delayed, released, finally blazes into hothouse orchid love. The tongue-tied poet’s mistress love.

I square my shoulders and grab hers. Bottle-green April daylight floods under and over the partition. She thrashes and struggles against me, grappling with my hands even as I pin her with a kiss. I flip her around. I am not gentle. Her eyes flutter as her cheek collides with the cold green metal pilaster. I wrestle up her tight skirt, tearing desperately at her stockings. The sound of ripping nylon ignites me. The gash widens as my hand cups her cunt.

I’m pushing my skinny little Russian butt out for you. You called it a boy’s butt.
She pushes back against my strumming fingers. Feel it? Put your fingers in it. Is this a boy’s butt?

No, it’s not.

Lucy, I have the mother of all boners and I want to stake it in you until I spray your dripping womb in celebration of all the children we’ll never have. Let’s waste their seed in all your hungry holes, spill it down your chin and thighs, splatter your breasts and encrust our bedsheets. For a thousand days more I’ll press my face to your lips and drink your health and you’ll drink mine.

The stall shakes and rattles as we pound away at each other. Bolts groan and loosen in their grommets. We come in unison, to the sound of water running in the sink, to the birds of April chirping, to the howl that tears from her throat as she pulls from my desperate embrace and flings herself into the corner, legs splayed, stockings tattered, her skirt still hitched above her hips, her cold-echoed wail rising and falling like a siren.

I stare helplessly. Can barely frame the question. Why?

Because you are dead!

No, no! Don’t you get it? I’ve obliterated the past. I am all yours now.

It’s a grand, sweet gesture. You were a sweet man. I saw your romantic side. From the very first. Ah but it’s just a gesture!

How can you say that my darling? I reach out, but she whirls away furiously and begins to whine and rock compulsively. She won’t be touched.

How? How? Because I love only you and you are dead. And I want to join you. I want to join you. I want to join you!

You can’t.

I will!, she screams.

No. No. You can’t.

The dam bursts and her grief pours out so hard that I think, some small part of me hopes, that this is over now, that she’ll recede into darkness like the others, but she doesn’t, I don’t, I just stand there with my useless ghost arms extended, lapping up all her pain. I’ll take every last drop of it. It is all I have left. It is all I want and all I’ve ever wanted. I realize now there are no alternate realities where it works out better, where we are married with a Rambler wagon and 2.2 apple-cheeked kids playing behind the white picket fence. There’s just the blazing singularity of our love, flawed and tragically late to the gate, flaring then receding to a brilliant pinpoint, heartache, like gravity, a constant between all worlds, for all times to come.

I’m back on the boathouse roof. The sun still hangs in the same spot above the horizon. The city caught in dying light still sings its own praises. But something has definitely passed; there is a new lightness in the air, a sense less of burden than of grace. There’s no point to going back; but perhaps there are other stops to make before my final destination. I need to think on this. There’s no hurry. I have all the time in all the worlds.

The ambulance plods along in rush hour traffic. They aren’t running their siren. No need to. Their call radio is on, but low, so the driver can enjoy her tunes over the chatter. A compact, hard-bitten woman of 40-some years, she rubs her bottle-brush haircut and daydreams about the leather corset she’ll strap into after dinner. She methodically steps through the nightly ritual of bathing and drying and how on special nights, her shower-warmed, soap-scented breasts fit so snugly into the stiff hide cups. How each heavy tit lifts and separates and how her nipples compress against the animal skin when the belt under her shoulder blades is tightened. How the smells of sweat-stale leather and clean skin combine at just that moment. She lingers on the groin piece, her personal customization to this garment, two stiff, barely pliant strips that press into and slightly part her pussy lips, then flare to provide access to her ass. This handworked device, her own work thank you, has eyes and snaps in the front and back. It can be tightened or loosened or even removed, but it was designed to allow probing fingers to be surprised by, to savor the contrast of two spots so wet and yielding between two ass-warmed, cunt-warmed, but unforgiving strips of leather. She likes how anything that penetrates her also has to endure the stern friction of her accessory.

She reaches forward and changes the station. Any more of this and she’ll leave a wet trail on the driver’s seat. Not that her partner here is in any shape to notice. She hums to the music.

God, what a messy piece of work, the probie moans. The probie, a green, freckle-faced kid, no more than 21, 22, squirms in the passenger seat, breathing hard and shallow from the emetic wave that tore through his gut moments ago. Fucking probie left his damned lunch at the damned scene in front of all those damned bystanders. It wouldn’t do.

I’ve seen worse, the driver replies with a tilt of her head. She’s not unsympathetic, but he’d have to tighten his shit if he expects to get through his evaluation period. No pussies on this bus. You will not throw up in here, she snaps. The kid slumps and shakes his head in shame. He deflates with a big shuddering sigh, making such a show of trying to relax.

Funny thing, he says. That big goofy smile on his face? How often ya see that?

Not very, the driver concedes, drumming her wheel to the music.

What would this cookies and milk kid do if he saw what she saw in her head? Maybe, if he sticks it out and earns his pin—she’ll make it her business to find out. Everybody needs something to look forward to.

What a way to go, the kid sighs.
Yeah. What a way to go.

© 2010 Riccardo Berra/Apostrophe. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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