Monday, November 28, 2011

Swish

      "What happens to love when it disguises itself as a foggy window?" Edgar asked as he squatted near the side of the pool table to gain a better view of his balls. He had a difficult shot on the 11 which would leave him nicely lined up against the far rail for a great follow-up shot, but the 15 was just sitting there, perfectly aligned with the corner, begging to be kissed in. "Inquiring eyes want to see what's on the other side, then a hand moves in to wipe away the window sweat," he lined up on the 11, took his shot, and missed before continuing, "and with a quick swipe, love becomes transparent, obvious, stares you right in the face again."
       Edgar stepped away from the table and placed his cue stick in the nook where the wall met the back of his chair. He picked up his beer, took a long sip, and turned to look out across the bar just in time to see a girl with pink hair standing on a bar stool. Several people were gathered around in excited fashion, and after a few moments of discussion she pointed at two guys, nodded, and they quickly reached in and yanked the stool out from under her. Edgar lost sight of her as she crashed to the floor, her body disappearing within the gathered group of onlookers.
     "What was that all about?" Em asked as she made short work of her next two shots.
      Edgar turned back toward the game at hand. "I'm guessing she thought she could levitate," he replied, "I'm also guessing she's fairly drunk."
      Em continued her Sherman-esque march across the pool table, sinking one billiard ball after another. Edgar seated himself at the waist high wall table and watched while she did her damage. Next to his elbow lay a small stack of books, scattered sheets of papers, two cell phones, two beers, an electronic dictionary, two pens, and a VOX bag. He looked down at the top sheet of paper and smiled at the myriad scribbles she had made within the margins. Notes, ideas, reminders to check/change lines later. "This girl sure knows how to write," Edgar thought to himself as he looked back at the game. She had just made her fourth shot in a row and was lining up on the 8 ball. "And she sure knows how to kick ass at billiards too," he thought again.
      "Hey, Em, you really suck at this game, you know that?" Edgar chuckled at her teasingly.
      She paused mid-stroke, turned her head back, shot him a trumped up smile and continued. There was a sharp cracking sound followed by the 8 ball disappearing into the side pocket. Em stood up and placed her cue stick against the table, turned back toward Edgar and said, "That's game, my snigger!"
      He watched her sit in the chair next to him, confidence replaced with cockiness. She was still smiling as she grabbed her beer and finished it in one swallow. She reached for the electronic dictionary and turned it on, and a moment later slid it in front of Edgar. He looked down and it read: snigger (n.) an utterance of laughter made in jest.
      Edgar smiled, finished his beer, and said, "Did you know there are 437 movies with the word love in their title?"
      "Why are you so interested in love today, Edgar?" Em asked.
      "Because it's February," he replied.
      "Um, no. It's still December, silly" she added curiously.
      Edgar looked back across the bar, carefully scanning the room for any abnormal activity as he spoke, "Did you know pigeons mate for life? And that the reason a homing pigeon hurries home so quickly is because it yearns to be reunited with its lover?"
      He turned his gaze back toward Em and caught her smiling in such a way that her cheeks pushed her thin-rimmed glasses up. She didn't catch him looking, she was too busy fingering the corner of a sheet of paper that lay between them. Her long black hair fell across her shoulders, slightly brushing the table top. Ali Baba couldn't have asked for a prettier thief. Edgar recalled the first time he saw her, sitting at a bar called The Patch on the other side of town. She was alone then, but carried with her a warmth that illuminated the entire room. It was a brief encounter that will forever be etched in his memory, and since that night, they've been practically inseparable.

      "I'm scared of stones. And birds. And multitasking. I would love to spend a night with you. Just once," Em suddenly said aloud.
      And without hesitation Edgar replied, "Once a night, in the land of multitasking bird stones, a mother hen crushed her fragile eggshell competition."
      At this point Em had straightened herself in her chair, her eyes locked onto Edgar's as she continued, "The knowing crows hissed and clawed purposeful crosses in the softness of the hen's pastry sensibilities. But once a day, she crushed everything."
      Edgar quickly followed, "She crushed everything, and left a noble forgotten god burning like pepper in a frying pan. And the hen said: love me not, for I am inside out, breast to scar, a momentary act of feathered reason."
      "And with flashes of bright orange and neon yolk yellow, she acknowledged her stones sitting warm in a pot. No soup can come if I leave it alone," Em added.
      "Over you, my mind dribbles, over you, all things come. I stir my drink and nothing nibbles, I start to think and leave it alone," he said.
      "So with everything brewing but nothing much cooking, mother hen shuts her window again. The crows will all know if I make soup from these stones, it's best just to leave it alone," she finished.

      They sat in their chairs for a moment staring at one another, smiling uncontrollably. Then Em hopped over into Edgar's lap and kissed him.
      "You need a girlfriend, can I go find you one?" she asked. "I'm pretty sure it'll be easy to pick up Miss Pink, ya know, since she's having trouble standing on her own two feet tonight."
      Edgar laughed and squeezed her tightly. "That was pretty cool what we just did there. You are remarkable, Em, I'm so glad I met you. Now if you'll excuse me, I do need one more beer." Edgar stood up and walked over to the corner and smashed a nearby spider with his fist. He brought the dead thing back, grabbed his empty pint glass, and excused himself to the men's room. Em asked what the hell he wanted with a dead spider, to which he answered, "I'm going to place it in the bottom of this cup, pee into it, and give it back to the bartender. Upon seeing the spider floating in what he can only assume is beer, I will surely be granted a fresh one, compliments of this fine establishment."
      And at that, Edgar turned with a nod and a grin and headed off to the bathroom.
      Watching him walk away, Em muttered, "I love that man."

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