Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cat food

Say something clever, Marjorie. Say something clever and maybe the nice man with the clean fingernails and the suit that looks like it might have been pressed this morning will buy you a drink.

Marjorie shifted on her barstool and opened her mouth, then closed it.

You're never clever when you need to be, are you? In three hours the perfect line will come to you, it'll wake you up when you're sleeping - alone - when you're fast asleep it'll wake you up, and it'll be too late then. This guy's already looking at his watch, could be a nice watch, hard to tell from over here, he's going to finish his drink and leave, and you'll go home alone tonight and every other night for the rest of your miserable life, you'll be wearing brown skirts and orthopedic shoes in just a few years, opening cans of food for your million and two cats, one of Those, old women in cardigans with hand-crocheted TV cozies and giant doilies for the kitchen table, house smelling of cat pee and Whiskas.

No, there's something else out there, and it's not this little man, there's something else, maybe if I just put down my drink and get up, it's right on the other side of the door. Just once, Marjorie, put down the drink, and step outside.

Marjorie set the drink carefully on the bar. More than half of it was left, and it was good gin. She spread her hand on the padded edge of the bar, red nails shining wet, chipped on the second finger, she couldn't remember when she'd done that. She lifted herself from the stool, slowly, like the floor might shift under her, stood, smoothing the front of her dress before walking for the door.

The man in the suit looked up as she passed, wondering if she said something, sure he'd missed something important, what did she say? but she was already at the door, already pulling it open.

Here it is, Marjorie, you're doing it, there's something different already, it isn't daytime, is it? but daylight is pushing out from behind the door, she could almost feel it, leaning on the door, it's Day out there, not the evening of the day she left, but Day somewhere else, the light like a nuclear blast, like the face of God, step out into the day, Marjorie, you were right, this is it, she could feel the heat all the way in to her bones, and she stepped outside.


anne said...

Oh dear. That sounds almost familiar.

Anonymous said...


Maqroll likes this very much. Misses cb. Maqroll in City recently but too busy. You know: $$$$$ + blah blah blah = Maqroll sad.

But better now. Sandy beach loud.


jason evans said...


Very impressed with this piece also. Do you carry these characters forward?

Bones said...

Wow, excellent. Thanks. As I read this I could picture the guy selling steaks from beneath his coat.

Ah, San Diego!

Chemical Billy said...

anne, there's a cat lady in many of us.

maqroll, so sorry to have missed you. Next time. You can sit with us and talk of money not at all.

jason, hadn't planned on it, but maybe. hm.

bones, close - but it was bacon he was selling.

Bones said...


Daniel Heath said...

yeah, but see, I'm still concerned about the gin.

it was good gin!

did someone finish it, or did the bartender just whisk it away to ginny oblivion?

oh, tender fruit of noble juniper! to come so far, to such an end...