Thursday, February 18, 2016

I'm In a Different City



I’m in a different city, sitting in a hotel room. There are six women in the room. They are talking and laughing and drinking wine. The TV is on and music fills the space around us. I sit at a small table, staring at blank pages. The women are purposely ignoring me. They respect my privacy. I need to fill the pages with something. I hold a blue pen.
     Suzette is doing an awkward, fractured dance. Justine takes a plum from a bowl of fruit by the window and takes a bite, causing an arc of juice to spurt into a shaft of sunlight. She laughs, chewing, talking to Rosaline.
     I write something about the Holocaust. It’s one sentence about bulldozers and bodies.
     “Hey, let’s see if we can get some adult entertainment on the TV,” says Taffy. “Where’s the remote?”
     “It’s on the bed,” says Maureen.
     I write something about a time vortex that takes a man back to Auschwitz when it was in its prime. He wants to see for himself.
     Justine keeps eating the plum. Juice dribbles down her chin and she wipes it away with her sleeve. Taffy begins changing channels on the TV, finally landing on a naked sex scene. The women all cheer and clap except for Suzette who says, “Nooo, go back to the music, I wanna dance.”
     The man from the future stands at the edge of a mass grave. He looks at the tangled bodies for a while, and then jumps into the decaying mass, diving headfirst into death.
     The film on the screen is all skin and no genitals. Intercourse is implied. Violet opens another bottle of wine and the other women hold out their glasses.
     I fill a page with blue words and then set it aside. I start writing again. My man from the future is burrowing into the bodies. He wants to be at the bottom of the pile. He wants to suffocate under all that death, choking on fumes of rot.
     Suzette takes the remote from Taffy and turns back to the music. She starts dancing again – strange angular movements. Beside the bowl of fruit is a cheese plate: Gouda, Roquefort, Brie and water crackers. Justine makes a little sandwich with crackers and Brie. “Why am I so hungry?” she says before taking a bite.
     The man from the future has burrowed his way under the pile of bodies. The gaseous corpses fill his struggling lungs with putrescence. He vomits and chokes on his bile.
     “I was kind of enjoying the porn,” says Violet, putting down the empty wine bottle next to three other empties.
     “Dance with me,” Suzette says, moving toward her. Her dance has become sexy and smooth as a snake. Violet laughs and then joins her. The other women cheer them on, clapping.
     I look over the two pages I’ve done and crumple them up and throw them away. I was never any good at science fiction. I place a fresh sheet of paper before me and lift the blue pen.
     Meanwhile the women have gathered into a circle to watch Violet and Suzette dance. Another bottle of wine is opened. Justine places a piece of Brie on a cracker. “I swear this is my last one,” she says.

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