Elizabeth

Elizabeth’s black pumps left depressions in the Persian rug when she walked.  She wore a black cocktail dress.  Elizabeth’s hair fell messy down her bare back.  Her young skin spread taut over her shoulder blades.  The soft light accentuated her young skin.  Her male suitor sat with anticipation in a black tuxedo.   Elizabeth thought that he looked handsome tonight.   Elizabeth moved her hips back and forth and raised her arms with a make believe difficulty, like she was under water reaching for the surface.  Her suitor was a recurring client but he still enjoyed the anticipation of the moment.  He wanted to be teased by a woman whom he already owned.  Elizabeth didn’t have a problem dancing; her hourly rate had already been established.

She grabbed onto his knees and pushed his legs apart before she slid her hands up his thighs.  Elizabeth looked into his wrinkled face.  He didn’t catch her gaze as he was pre-occupied with her supple young figure.  Elizabeth noticed every crevice that had engulfed his aging face; the crows feet, the hard horizontal lines across his forehead, the wrinkles that formed around his wry smirk.  Elizabeth turned around to sit on his lap.

“Are you ready?” Elizabeth said

He nodded without a word.  Elizabeth stood up and walked him into the bedroom slightly gripping his fragile hand.  She crawled on the bed as he stood over her.

“Give me a few moments to prepare baby.” He said

He took a seat next to her on the bed.  The sheets of the bed were Egyptian cotton.  Elizabeth didn’t know why it mattered that the sheets were Egyptian cotton or that the painting hanging over them was a Caravaggio.  She didn’t care that the Eames arm chair that faced out onto the skyline of the city was one of a kind.   Elizabeth didn’t gain a particular felicity in the opulent interior or the haute aesthetic of the penthouse.   Her client opened the drawer of the bedside table and grabbed a capsule containing a little blue pill.  One side of the small container was foil; the other side was clear plastic in a diamond shape.  Through the plastic you could see the little pressed pill with a capital V imprinted on the front of it.  Elizabeth’s client groped the small pill wrapper.  He pushed hard at the plastic part, trying to get the blue pill to breach the shiny foil.  Elizabeth sat on the bed watching him, her heels still on, puncturing the high thread count sheets.  She reached into her purse and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.  Three remained; she lit one and inhaled deep before releasing a satiable cloud of smoke.  Her client’s liver spotted hands were still trying to open the plastic container.  He changed his technique and now he was trying to peel the wrapping by sticking his long yellow fingernails into the space between the foil and the plastic.

“Do you want me to help you?” Elizabeth asked.

“No I can do this myself” He replied

Yet again his hands turned over the plastic container pleading with it to come loose.  The skin of his hands was loose like a turkey’s gobble yet you could see the bones of his hands protruding sharply as they worked over the small container.  Now he pushed with both thumbs on the plastic to get the pill to puncture the foil but to no avail.  Sweat began to collect on his brow.  The anticipation of romance began to be replaced by embarrassment.  Elizabeth put out her cigarette and reached into her clutch yet again, this time producing a small glass vial with a black lid.  It contained a white powder.  Elizabeth took the key to her apartment and used it to scoop a small amount which she lifted to her nose and sniffed with fervor. She repeated the motion to her other nostril.

“It’s ok baby just let me open it for you.” Said Elizabeth

No reply from the old man as he fumbled the plastic container and it fell to the floor.  Elizabeth watched him slowly bend over and reach his lanky arm down to pick up the pill.  The plastic of the wrapper was now mutilated with white spots but there was still no access to the medicine inside.  Elizabeth’s client breathed heavily, his thin white hair went about in all directions like he had stuck his head out the window of a speeding car.  She touched his back and his spine felt bony and abnormally curved like the wood of a bow.  He didn’t notice her touch; he just went on trying to separate the foil from the plastic.  Elizabeth reached for another cigarette, now she only had one left.


 

The problem with my stories is that they are short parts of longer stories I haven’t written yet.  I’ve never written from the point of view of a woman before.  Which is troublesome when trying to portray emotional depth in a character.  I think the deeper issue is I don’t understand women.

The Ash Tray

It sat on the table droll and beckoning them like any other empty bowl.  It was white and round with three notches spaced equidistant around it to place a still burning stogie.  There was only one small burn in the middle of it.  The ash tray was emptied out routinely without thought, a reflex, like when the doctor hits your patella with that small rubber hammer.  The way it was filled up was more enigmatic

Large deposits are made on nights when they arrived home late, and still from nightly festivities.  Other times they would sit and inebriate themselves with neat whiskey and no intention of departure from the home or the table at which they sat with the ash tray.  These nights were also similar to reflexes, just reactions from stress at work and being in their twenties.  But on certain nights there was a different kind of ash filling the little bowl.  An experience, a palpable memory of the departed.  There were times when they needed to use it, even if it was only once.

The Cigarette rested between his middle finger and index as smoke idly rose to the ceiling.  A puff, an inhale, a release, and then a flick which broke off the ash and with it sadness and longing.  Heartache followed and eventually anger and despair.  The emotions in the ash tray weren’t always spoken and were far from disingenuous.  A moment of introspection.  The ash in the tray made it heavier with no change in weight, made it deeper with no change in dimension.

It was drunken nights with others or sometimes it was the dark nights alone.  It was always filled with some sort of emotion.  If you looked in the ash tray on one of the days before they emptied the contents, you wouldn’t see them, you would see the ones who had abandoned them.

 

Notes:

The main inspiration that produced this story was actually letting my emotions and feelings get the best of me until I felt the urge to smoke.  The cigarettes were temporary but the ash tray was always there.  So i felt like rather than focusing on the cigarettes themselves I would focus on the place where I deposited them.  The funny thing is I don’t normally smoke but I do use it as a scapegoat sometimes.  Sometimes when I feel longing for a particular someone be it female or family I tend to get down and to get stressed and to think negatively.  I’m not saying that smoking is the most positive outlet for these stresses but sometimes I find myself saying “man I could use a smoke”