She rolled a 5×5 matrix around on her tongue, and it was harder than watching her with a lollipop.
Is your boyfriend picking you up? It was unnecessary, so he didn’t say it.
Instead, “You’re drunk,” he pointed out, not un-humorously.
She leaned back into the couch, and stretched her arms upward with a wince, with evident satisfaction. The matrix glimmered on her tongue as she laughed. Her eyes were sleepy and contented, like a cat’s.
He imagined that she was imagining the arc of a satellite launched up and out into orbit.
“Not really!” she retorted. But she had water rather than beer now, and while she looked faraway in that sleepy, contented way, her expressions also made the two of them closer than they appeared. There was a half-cushion’s worth of couch between them. Rows and columns rattled against the edge of her glass as she drank, the sound like an ice cube.
“You can always stay here, if you want. We have room.” The couch. His bedroom.
The party had died down too much for anything they said to be confidential. A gamine smile hid the numbers in her mouth, and her utter comfort in the curves of the couch was evident even as she put her glass down on the coffee table, and stood up.
With you, she hung her armor
In the cabinet
There were suns in your eyes and that
But fire doesn’t keep and she can’t stand
Not to shine
She loves nothing so much
As sunlight on armor
Ksarveel, splayed fingers,
and breath arrested, staring
through the void both near and far,
in alien lights yet glistening
she recalls the warmth of a star
But there Earth’s detritus spinning
about a whorl of Lethe’s conception
rocks and silky gravel hissing
without sound upon the Sun’s extinction
all about its inky heart and rim
She, naught but ambient life
in food plucked and flesh contrived
knows death by nanoseconds of non-light
bursting lungs through photons sinking
from star to maw, from day to night
He audits life with his mother
And plays cards with his father
He leaned in for a kiss
On the cheek, a crossette
To seal her answer
He never imagined they would become
Like his father and his mother
Mrs. DeWhitt was a bit too unerring in her instincts for her own good. Somehow, whether by the curling of her toes or a pinch in her right shoulder, she knew when Mr. DeWhitt was inappropriately occupied with the nth chamber maid, the girl-who-came-only-on-Wednesdays, the innkeep’s daughter, or any other bit of female miscellany under the age of thirty.
During these times (which constituted most of the time) Mr. DeWhitt would often be puzzled to find his dinner late, cold, or absent; his gloves, or cuff links, or rifle missing; his galoshes continually, inexplicably muddied; and his best scotch disappearing faster than he could rightly account for.
Unfortunately for the marriage, Mrs. DeWhitt exercised her powers in so natural and unconscious a manner, and Mr. DeWhitt was so far from thinking these mishaps anything but coincidence, that the gentleman never realized that he was receiving his just desserts, and the lady was never content.
It felt like an age had passed while I was in the restroom. Yet it hadn’t been long enough. The older I get the less these conditional holidays seem like holidays at all, and more like work in disguise.
Reluctantly, I turned towards the voice and the mountains. Either it was my imagination or the twilight on that side of the plaza was deepening; shadows darkening the flowers among the scrub, and far above them, the pines and the crags. Someone had seen fit to leave a stone table on the grass not far from me, and its weathered scrollwork, and cracked surface, managed to convey forlornness amid the rest of this zytocoke1-fueled fantasy.
Mavind was sitting there, waiting for me with her cream self perched upon the faded grey, feet off the ground and legs swaying slightly. The table might as well have been placed for her. A creeper was growing up one leg. Continue reading “CONDITIONAL HOLIDAYS ARE ALWAYS LESS THAN WHAT THEY SEEM (4/4)”
I forged a path toward the washroom through the thinner bits of the crowd, conscious that my newfound powers in clearing away knots of people were 100% due to the Junoesque figure following me. And this, I realized, was one of the most exciting things that had happened on any of our CLPFC days; the expressions around us were awash with curiosity, shock, and delight. Everyone here would know that Ibrander’s date had jumped ship to Lalantree before lunch was served.
Trying to scan as many faces as possible without making eye contact (now this is a true art) I almost bumped into Loddi’s mum. This in spite of her neon floral mumu. “Oh, hello Lalantree. Loddi isn’t with you?”
“No…” Mavind had come up close behind me, and Loddi’s mum did a double take. Continue reading “CONDITIONAL HOLIDAYS ARE ALWAYS LESS THAN WHAT THEY SEEM (3/4)”
Nonchalant and all that, I waited until the last moment to look up at the welcome interlopers.
“Ibrander,” said a poised, throaty, laughing voice, “won’t you introduce me?”
They stopped in front of the bench, my third cousin Ibrander1 (who detests Loddi, making me instantly suspicious of his coming over) and a tall, glossy person who was all rich brown hair and expressive mouth and hand gestures. One hand was on Ibrander’s arm but she still managed to be gesturing with it. Her clothes were nothing less than dashing – a wide hat and a one-piece dress suit in cream, its tailored A-line skirt skewing physics by ending in a sway. This was one case where I didn’t have to worry about the polite game that people played of trying to guess-without-guessing whether someone was visiting in-holo only. She was most definitely in person. Continue reading “Conditional Holidays are Always Less Than What They Seem (2/4)”
Loddi Frisket is a black hole of neuroses. His very existence centres on an unstable singularity, which sucks in anxieties, crises, and the most outlandishly negative possibilities. From prior experience I can attest that his event horizon fluctuates around a diameter of approximately 15 metres. Sometimes the emotional debris which gathers on his accretion disk is an accurate enough warning that I can reverse course, and get away before his attention fixes on me. Sometimes it is not enough.
To give you a sense of just what I am dealing with, Loddi once asked me if I would rather lose my heart (and dignity) to a psychopathic baker, or flee the civilized world, giving up everything from clean pillow shams to NutriPills, only to waste away in boondocks replete with SABs1 and smugglers.
In my humble opinion, the baker of Loddi’s bipolar love was not psychopathic (I still buy rolls there), but merely possessed of poor judgement, seeing as she countenanced his Gothic style of flirting in the first place. Furthermore, it is well known that the Carwallian smugglers (the only smugglers within 50 lightyears to whom Loddi could have possibly been referring) live very well in their off-planet colonies, though the latter are admittedly remote places. Politics may be laissez-faire over in the Esten Economic Zone but they still don’t want blatant crime polluting the fine views and real estate values of the elite.