Fast Food Fiction
Volume II, Issue 02
© Larry Michael Garmon Swain
All Rights Reserved
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Started at 1200
Leven-thirty Saturday Night
She greeted me with wide blue eyes and opened red lips. I figured her out as easily as two plus two. She sat at the bar on a backless stool wearing a backless black dress, her head turned towards me while her body leaned into the bar, a half-empty whisky glass in one hand, a nearly spent cigarette in the other, and her dark hair haloed by gray smoke.
“Maybe we ought to sit in a booth.” My first words spoken to her in person. We’d talked on the landline but not in person. We had thirty minutes before war-time curfew.
Her body turned on the bar stool, aligning with her head. “Sure.” She took a long last drag from her cigarette, blew out the smoke, smashed the butt into the ashtray, and winked at me with the right blue eye. “I’d like that.” She threw the rest of the whisky down her throat, smiled at me, and stood. She straightened the front her dress and then straightened herself, pulling herself to her full height by pushing her shoulders back. Even without the heals she was wearing, she was taller than me, but that didn’t bother me.
I raised two fingers at the bartender. He put a second whisky glass next to her empty one and then poured amber nectar into each one. He looked at me, and I said, “A little bit more there, cowboy.” Expressionless, he poured a couple more ounces in each glass. I took a hundred credit note from my shirt pocket, tossed it on the bar, grabbed the two drinks, and smiled at her. “Over there,” I said with a slight tilt of my head.
We sat at a booth as far away as possible from the TV’s constant war updates, the general groggy buzzing of the other patrons, and what little light dimly lit the bar.
“Did you bring it with you?” she said as I sat the glass with the smeared shadowy imprint of the lipstick she wore in front of her.
I raised my glass. “Slàinte.” I waited.
She smiled and picked up her glass. “Do dheagh shlàinte.”
We each drank half our glasses. A small fire raced down my throat, hit my gut, spilled into my system, and finally produced a familiar and relaxing warmth clear to my finger tips and toes. I leaned into the back of the booth’s bench and considered her face. A well-worn drunken ambiance of privileged decadence of a past long ago and far away. In the dimness of the bar’s light, she could be twenty-five or fifty-two. Maybe that’s why she had chosen to meet in such a mutely lit bar in one of the most bombed parts of what was left of the city.
“Did you bring it?”
I nodded. From my jacket pocket I pulled out a small jar of jalapeño jelly. Her blue eyes widened and lit up; her red lips formed an “O” as she breathed out a coo.
Her eyes remained fixed on the small jar, tinted green from the spicy jelly inside. “I haven’t had anything like this since the embargo when I was a little girl.”
I sat the jar on the table between our two whisky glasses. I raised my glass and waited. A few moments later, she looked at me, smiled, and lifted her glass.
She touched her glass against mine. “Gu a geagh charaid.”
I smiled. “Agus dhuitse.”
We finished our whisky. I pushed the jar towards her, and she snatched it with both hands, enfolding her palms around the prize.
We took a pedi-Uber to her apartment, just across the river and two side streets from the major highway that divided the city. The pedaler was small, probably only twelve or thirteen, and after huffing and puffing and dodging bomb craters, he deposited us in front of her war-weary dilapidated building.
Her apartment was small, sparsely furnished, but better than most, especially the smell of lavender that caressed the air. War demands, restrictions, rationing, and scarcity of raw materials the past eighteen years had taken a toll on the goods and commodities of a standard of living we all considered indelible a lifetime ago.
She turned on a lamp, the small wattage of the bulb barely pushing any light into the room. After a few moments, though, my eyes adjusted, and the shadows faded. She pointed: “There.”
The dogtooth carpet lay on the floor between a tattered puke green couch and a tired looking leather recliner.
I smiled. “It’s a trade.”
I rolled up the small area carpet, slung it over my shoulder, and opened the door. I turned to say thank-you and good-bye.
She stood in the space between the couch and the recliner, where the carpet had just lain, and in the carpet’s place on the floor lay her black backless dress. “Anything else you want to trade?” Wearing only her heels, one knee slightly bent, one hand propped on a naked hip, and the dim light creating a halo around her dark hair, she tantalized me with her wide blue eyes and opened red lips. Even with the bent knee, she was still slightly taller.
I smiled, but my eyes didn’t. I had little else to trade: Dealings to secure the jar of jalapeño jelly had left my own small apartment nearly empty. The dogtooth rug would pull what was left of the living room furniture together quiet nicely.
I had ten minutes to get home before wartime curfew. I closed the door and started down the five flights of stairs. I had just enough money left to pay the pedi-Uber to take me and my dogtooth carpet home.
Finished at 1254
Thank you to the following muses for some random words that contributed to the creation of this tale:
Tantalizing Mike Dinos
Produce Ariel Powell
Jalapeño Earlene Kochu
Decadence Jameson Payne Fellhauer
Indelible Amber Morris
Drunken Random Word Generator
Lavender Random Word Generator
Embargo Random Word Generator
Warmth Random Word Generator
Dogtooth Random Word Generator