Saturday, September 10, 2011

Can a Kiss Change Everything?


They didn't mean it. The opportunity just happened. Good friends, close friends, not lovers, just a meeting with hot coffee and a momentary explosion of idiocy.  Two souls in a city less angelic than they had perceived. Disappointment in their hearts.

They order coffee and cherry pie whilst accumulating small change, their last. Rock bottom. The pits. The plump waitress smiles at what she perceives as new romance and retreats remembering what it was like. New love, first love. Warms her heart as quickly as the microwave warms the pie.

"I have a gun."

"What? Here? Now?"

"Yep"

He opens the flap of his jacket. Not only a gun but holstered on a shoulder strap. This is LA after all, but she's still shocked. It's not his style.

"Why the Hell are you wearing that?" her lean towards him mistaken by the waitress as intimacy, quiet whispers about love unrequited or perhaps engaged.

He's leaning into her and the waitress draws a wry smile and spills the coffee she's pouring. There's something lovely about lovers moving close to talk. She notices he's well dressed but she's oblivious to the fact that he's just been rejected from his umpteenth interview, broke, feeling small. The girl's petite and fragile. Again, the waitress unaware that her 23rd audition has seen her walk through the wrong door. The girl's eyebrows raised, concern on her face. The waitress hopes they're not breaking up. Breaking up in a public place is so sad. The knife slices a little too hard into a piece of fresh baked pie.

"It'll be easy. Just scare the shit out of everyone, you grab the money, and the keys. I'll keep everyone down. We grab what we can, lock the door from the outside and we go . . ."

"Jay! Go where?"

"I have a place . . "

The thought is ridiculous, stupid, reckless. But they're at the bottom of the proverbial barrel. He hasn't worked in months, their checks are bouncing, her feet are hurting. She thinks back to the Colombian bitch that slept with one of the judges and knows that's why she wasn't selected. She thinks back to the guy on the door cutting armbands. He was cute, Eurasian with soft black hair and a melt-in-your-mouth smile. She flirted with him for a while but it was harmless. She's been friends with Jay forever. As long as she can remember.  He's her 'girlfriend' her confidant, the one who understands when she's jilted, rejected, lost. It wasn't supposed to be this way. She was supposed to be a dancer, a flight of fancy, the envy of many, fulfilling a passion she's held since the first time she put on a pair of satin blochs, rolled on her hose, sprayed  her hair, glossed her lips. LA is a big town with big talent. Hungry hopefuls and lost souls. The competition is vicious.

He missed out on college, a working class man with a working class ethic and a family to support back home, but hungry to make it in a town where people fail more than succeed. If only he'd known, done his research. He fell for the dream, the hype. He had a job. Bouncer at "Little Cave" but an altercation with an aggressive and inebriated celebrity turned nasty and a law suit threatened. Management were pissed, he was let go for being over aggressive although it was Brazillian Jiu Jitsu and a life-lust against the threat of a knife that caused the damage, not the way of the gun. Guns are for thugs. Gangsters. He's a gentle man in a violent city. Angels be damned, it's vipers and demons dwelling here.

"What place?" She leans back into the booth chair as the waitress brings them coffee and pie.

"You kids enjoy now," the waitress beams, memories of young love gnawing at her heart and ignorant of the faux smiles and pre-conditioned 'thank you's.' She smiles, "You darlin's have a nice day. Be good to each other. "

She's barely turned her pink clad back...

"What place?"

"I have a cabin. My grandfather built it years ago and nobody's been up there since he died. Perfect hide-out in the short term. We can do this. Rip this joint off. Shit, rip a few joints off. Head up there. Leave everything until it blows over and head back in the winter and pick it up. Of course we have to lay low for a couple of months . . separate.  Can you do that?"

She's unsure. He's her rock. Her man of the hour. The man who's lap she falls asleep in after she cries. Her chick flick partner. The man who picks her up when the sex goes wrong. The man who understands her poor choice of lovers, her foibles, her idiosyncrasies. The thought of not seeing him, calling him, playing with his hair, thumping his shoulder when she's mad and him being a dick. . .could she? Could she separate for months?
Cogs turn, he can see the mechanics of thought whirring behind brown eyes as she plays with, but doesn't eat, the pie. He's agitated and burns the roof of his mouth on the coffee he doesn't want.

"We . . . can . . . .do . . . this . . ." his words convincing, slow and deliberate.

"Ok . ." her voice so low,  he lip reads.

His hand reaches for the gun and he leaps onto the booth table. "Shut the fuck up, hands where I can see them. You in the kitchen . . get out front."

She's amazed at his bravado and calm despite the aggression in his voice and the diner scene from Pulp Fiction comes to mind. But his face convinces her, he's no 'hunny bunny'. She races to the cash register and has a terrified 15 year old hand over the money. She's unprepared, no bag, no pockets.

"In here . . ." she screams as she proffers the rip-off Gucci it's opening like a basking shark exposing the minutia of her life. "Gimme the door keys . . " the girl acquiesces, lifts the change tray and hands over a bunch of four keys on one ring; nervously jangling due to hands afflicted with uncontrollable tremors.

"Which one! . . Which fucking one?" Panic in her voice testament to inexperience of the heist.  She belts the kid with her bag and a nose begins to stream red.

"That one . . the one that says front door . . " The kid holds her hands to her ears as violent and uncontrollable sobs take hold and urine streams effortlessly down young thighs into a yellow staining pool on a polished floor.

Patrons drop like naughty school children. Arms crossed, heads down. Food-stained kitchen hands file through. Hands on their heads they line up like wooden soldiers mirroring the soda glasses stacked neatly on transparent shelves behind them.

"Don't move. Nobody move!" The power of the gun arousing something within him that he's never felt before. Control. Total and exhilarating.

"Hey!" she yells, "We're done . . . "

She walks forwards, he walks backwards. . . exit, lock, retreat.


***

The cabin's musty, airless. Hasn't been used in years. Air-tight and warm, he opens windows, moves and lights a fire. She stands statuesque and shaking in the centre of the room. Wood piled for a decade is dry and easily inflamed. Within minutes their rustic lair warms into a cosy sunset lit hearth. Her eyes are wide and fearful - he holds her but not like before. "It's OK, it'll all be OK. Not like we're criminals, we just did this 'cos we had to."

She looks into his beautiful eyes, she'd never noticed his eyes before. He folds around her and kisses her. That kiss. The longest, profoundest, most meaningful, 'never want to break away' kiss that surprises, comforts and confronts. She's disarmed, charmed, surprised.   But that's all. The loot is hidden, the night late and they curl together in front of the fire.

He dreams about how he'll spend the money. She dreams about the kiss.

Either way . . tomorrow's a new day . . .time to disappear.



May be continued . . . maybe not . . .and you know I hate that.

NB: An attempt at the Jeffscape theory that playing repetitive music can muse, and more than once.  This time a more literal interpretation.

4 comments:

  1. Good story. I really like the set up.
    Couple of points - "a frey" - did you mean "an affray" or something else? I got a little lost on the whole life-lust thread of the knife bit too.
    Nearer the start when the waitress is unaware of what they're really discussing - there was maybe one "unaware" too many - " Again, the waitress unaware that her 53rd audition has seen her walk through the wrong door." No need to repeat it, we get it by now.
    Like it a lot.
    Just in case you don't see the reply to your comment over at www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com - you mentioned Glimmertrain - have you been in it?

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  2. Not very gratuitous... I thought you were aiming for gratuity.

    Lots of typos... some pronoun antecedent issues.

    Pretty good, though, if a bit hopelessly romantic.

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  3. I was thinking he was gay. Then came the kiss. There goes another great friendship.

    And she should watch out for that guy at the stage door. I hear tell he lets the good ones get away.

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  4. continue, please do. but i'm sure there won't be a happy ending

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