Kiss


The door of the camo van slid open. A pale man with a slithering walk and drooping posture climbed out. He wore a monocle; he had the vacant look of a man in shackles, ashamed, unarmed, nearly naked. Behind him came a second man, a big gorilla of a man with a grin that said ignorance, villainy, an angry ape shit monkey balls testosterone case kind of man. The kind of man you wouldn’t want to meet on speed-dating night. The kind of man whose inside is bound to be different than his outside; at least that’s what his mama always hoped.

There is a smell to the two of them, the way they move as they leave the van: compact, tightly wound, a conviction of violence even in the automatic whistling of the big man.

It’s odd, giving birth to these two brutes, one in an Italian suit and narrow expensive shoes, the other we assume with heavy brows and a flat broad voice. And yet there they are together, luring us into an underworld darkness, emerging from this panel van with bad intent, flagrant villains. No need for delicate psychic sensibilities to pick up on the reeking desperation of the pale man. He is sweating slightly, dabs at his thin mustache, thinking circular process thoughts: decisioning, coming to a compromise we can all agree upon, agreeing on a way to deny destiny, to bypass the interrogatory moment – here, can’t we all just be friends?

But the truth of the matter is that, no, we can’t all be friends. We can all have this vague feeling at times, so much commonality: we all have furniture, we all have cubicles, we all have moments of twinning with the office mate, the colleague, the incidental intimacies of work pulling us together. As these two had been pulled together. To steal diamonds, to sell guns, to sing the grateful song of the triumphant earthworm, unarmed yet ecstatic static cling bringing them together for crime, for punishment, for watching as their time together draws irresistibly closer to its unnecessary, violent end.

William thinks about butterflies, cranes, loose bright squares of origami paper, striped cotton sheets on a clothesline in his mother’s house when he was 12. Running through the sheets as the wind blows on a warm August day. The only shade in the ratty little yard. Something pushes him, pushes against his back. His future pressing down, so far from Tulsa, where this brute is not friendly, they’ve played cards and killed people, at least on paper, together.

Toby thinks William is German, but he is not; he’s just a skinny blonde guy from someplace Toby’s never been. There’s a lot Toby doesn’t know. Nothing important though. Need to know a few things. How to read a map. How to drive as if invisible. How to deliver the right severance package to the right corporate fuckup. Toby likes peaches, apple pie, remembers his own mother as if she’ll always be 35. She smacked him once in awhile, took the bus to work at the A&P, liked to bake when she had a little extra time. He and William used to talk about their moms, when they were out on the road together, killing time.

William’s achieving a form of buddahood, detaching from this moment, floating weightless away from Toby, from criminal intent, from judgment. He feels light, almost good. Toby takes him to breakfast, nice place, chilled grapefruit, quiet courtyard in a garden café. He eats his omelette, then William’s french toast and spoons the egg from a porcelain cup. They are best of friends at this last meal. Toby picks up the check, “I’ll get it, that’s ok, least I can do,” and they leave. Back into the windowless van and uptown where a final meeting will be held, lists will be made, consensus will be reached. By everyone but William, who will be attending this meeting at least in spirit, but will already have received his last, passionate kiss.

Advertisements

5 Responses to “Kiss”


  1. 1 ybonesy May 4, 2007 at 8:56 am

    Wonderful piece, Teresa. I love the first paragraph–all of it really–but that first paragraph hooked me in. Toby’s insides being different than his outside, at least his mama hoping so.

  2. 2 Teresa May 5, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Thanks ybonesy. Such a pulpy little piece. I liked that it went from that broad kinda cliched opening scene to some very specific details — egg cup, striped sheet.

  3. 3 QuoinMonkey May 10, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    The details really shine in this piece. I wanted to keep reading to see where the story led me. I especially liked:

    “William thinks about butterflies, cranes, loose bright squares of origami paper, striped cotton sheets on a clothesline in his mother’s house when he was 12. Running through the sheets as the wind blows on a warm August day.”

    And:

    “big gorilla of a man with a grin that said ignorance, villainy, an angry ape shit monkey balls testosterone case kind of man. The kind of man you wouldn’t want to meet on speed-dating night.”

    Last line is brilliant. Great writing.

  4. 4 Teresa May 11, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks QM, for comments on this and Unmeasurable as well. I’ve been losing steam the last few weeks; the feedback really helps me pick up again, to get back to my daily practice.

  5. 5 QuoinMonkey May 14, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Yes, it can be hard sometimes to keep going, can’t it. Practice really helps. And feedback of some kind, too, even if it’s only recall. That’s the thing about the web, it can seem like our writing is going into a big black hole sometimes if we never hear from anyone. It’s so good to get comments. Keep writing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 50 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 165,149 hits

Archives

Categories

May 2007
M T W T F S S
« Apr   Jun »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

%d bloggers like this: