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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

4. An Elegant Ending (Le Bon on Rittenhouse)

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I knew where to find him, as I swiped my way up onto the El stop at Spring Garden. A train jangled its way into the stop. I got in the train. A kid sat next to me. “Where you going, baby?” I dropped a stare into his chest and he added, “You like what you see?”
I said, “Do I like dirt?”
“You saying I’m dirty?”
“We’re all dirty.”
“Then we should get this dirt together. Mix it up.”
“My dirt is not on my shirt though. Go wash.”
The whole car laughed. He looked hard at me but walked into the next car. I felt bad for any women between the ages of three and dead in there.
I came out from the dank subway at Walnut and walked toward Rittenhouse. I passed an enormous lady, her flesh folder over itself mid-forearm. She was playing a recorder, the song, “Forever Night.” Out in front of her was a hat which some people had thrown pennies in. She was playing terribly. I had a flash of how she would taste, there was some love of beauty in her, a delightful taste but enough hopelessness for the rancid to be in there too. She’d make an interesting cocktail.  
Past her the shops windows were dressed with care, mannequins among the plastic boughs, their styles culled from the pages of Vogue. The dogs walked carefully on braided leather leashes, their hair groomed so well it looked natural. The park grass was brown, the trees leaveless. I looked in the windows and I saw the old one in Le Bon. He was at the bar, his black clad knife of a body slung upon the bar and framed by the glowing chestnut of the shelving, backlit by the light shining through the amber hued whiskey bottles.
I sit on a bench across 18th. There are lots of lights in the park. No crime down here. Plenty of police walking, driving. They try to keep the riff raff out. Too bad they let the old one in.
He leaned back and ordered, one word, laconic as a crocodile. I saw as one by one each eye in the place turned and take him in, the luscious dark hair, the cock of his hips, the half laugh in his eyes.
You’d think, they were older here, professionals, suits and tailored jeans, architects, doctors, businessmen, lawyers, they would have blood cool enough to resist his charms.
A silver haired gentleman in a navy jacket and leather dockers, his eyes blue and piercing walked to the bar. Talks with the old one who reaches out, his hand a charged current, a zap of connection. Touches his forearm. A half laugh as they talk.
Two minutes later, he’s pulling Silver Hair out into the alley. They disappear behind a green dumpster. A minute later, he slides out of the alley alone. He walks across the street, and sits next to me.
“I don’t want to talk to you,” I said. Across the street a middle aged man was looking around in the bar, and then heading into the street. He pulls out his phone and starts texting. The boyfriend. His night will not go well. It will feature running home. Calling anyone and everyone finally working around to the exes, afraid. Whenever this ends for him, it will end back here. Under the yellow tape, the form of his lover, sapped of love and life, behind the green dumpster, nibbled by rats, eaten by death.
The old one licks his lips, “When you follow people you should allow them to talk to you. It only seems fair.”
“You’re not people.”
“True. I have escaped that misfortune.”
I didn’t say anything. He liked talking and I didn’t want to encourage him.
“The thing is, they all want it. We just give them the thing they are seeking.”
I still didn’t say anything.
“You aren’t doing them any favors, stomping around, staking us, and refusing to follow your instincts. They want the teeth.”
“You are telling me that you ask them, ‘You want to die from me drinking all your blood?’ ‘Cause you and I know you don’t.”
“Didn’t their mommas warn them about strange men? They warned them, ‘You go with a strange man, anything can happen. He could be a serial killer. Rapist.” They don’t usually say they’ll drink you. But there are so many ways to be consumed. People want to know. The knowledge beyond the mystery. The revelation of truth. Strange men, strange man, death under the hood. They want it. They want those that have known death and still live. The second life. My teeth. Your teeth. Don’t you remember how you wanted it?”
I wanted to punch his thin nose. I actually swung at him but he was up and my fist went into the concrete bench. Dull thud. Bit of concrete chipped off. Ouch. He was standing up a pace away.
“I thought you learned your lesson, little girl.” Damn he was fast.
“When you were drinking, how many did you have a night? I want to get the quotas right.”
I shrugged.
“Five? No, you look more like a ten a night kind of drinker.”
Somehow he could read my thoughts.

“More? Impressive girl! I’ll make it twenty just to be sure.” And his lean butt walked back across the street, returning to Le Bon. This time he grabs a bleached blond waitress who he took up a fire escape.
I watch through the bare branches of the sycamore, as he walks her up the skeletal structures, and drops his teeth into the flesh above her collarbone, and she drivels. When he tossed her, and bloodless she listed through the air like a plastic bag he turned to me where I sat absorbing the cold. He held up his long fingers. Three. This was going to be a long night.

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