May 17, 2010
In front of her on the boardroom table, she spread out an array of small personal items as a cat might do with urine to mark its territory. Sunglasses. Phone. Lozenges. Water bottle. 3 pens. 2 notebooks. He half-expected her to produce a framed photo of her kids from her purse.
Once the meeting commenced, she gingerly approached topics but would then silently draw back—like a cat smelling danger on a new sofa. He kept his eyes down and silently chewed his pencil. Occasionally he’d raise hackles by lifting his head to bark his opinions at the room.
When they left the meeting, his muzzle was covered in scratches but he possessed the bone she had turned-up her proud, finicky nose at.
April 23, 2010
1: Massaging the side of her forehead isn’t making her hangover go away. Much like her seven martinis hadn’t made his churlishness go away.
2: As the chocolate melted he heard her say, “You can’t expect life to be a bowl of cherries.” He nodded in agreement. But it didn’t stop him.
3: As a willowy sapling the teak tree never dreamed it would be the boardroom table over which a ban on exotic hardwood imports was debated.
April 9, 2010
Not an extended story this week, just five snapshots.
#1 : Having discovered he’d forgotten his wallet on the kitchen table, he felt eerily naked and unconsciously rubbed his wristwatch for comfort.
#2 : He flipped his collar up and, remembering that time with the puppies, steeled himself for the damp embrace of the cottony white fog.
#3 : The hands were frozen at 12 minutes to 4:00. But, Leon wondered, had it been 3:48 AM or 3:48 PM? And why would one be so cloyingly poignant?
#4 : At times she’d catch a hint of her first girlfriend’s perfume. No, not girlfriend. Crush. As melancholy and doomed as a deer’s musk gland.
#5 : Some days he felt sure he’d die alone, ravaged by dementia, weeping on a bare mattress long after everyone he knew or loved was dead.
March 12, 2010
She saw it as an oily lavender smoke, the scent which crept up into her nostrils like the damp stench of an open wound.
She cracked her eyes momentarily hoping to discern who on the elevator was attempting to disguise their own stench with a floral surrogate.
The old lady with sunken cheeks? Her look suggested a flowery grave. The bicycle courier? Had he mistakenly used his wife’s deodorant spray?
By the fourteenth floor, she could no longer stand the noxious, enveloping cloud. When the doors slid open, she fled as if for her life. After climbing six flights of stairs to her office, she sat down with the ghastly truth—
The offending scent was her new laundry detergent.
March 5, 2010
He could feel the germs collecting inside the hollows of his skull. They were multiplying like the gaggle of teenaged girls to his right. An old man now, he was rueful about the lack of a cure for the common cold. And a cure for teenagers too. Fuck science, he thought.
Fuck religion while you’re at it, he added. Jesus nor Mohamed nor Ganesh had prevented his cold. Not that he’d asked them to. Deadbeats.
It was then he felt the heavy pain he knew must be a heart attack. The girls stopped giggling. One of them called 9-1-1 on her cell phone.
As they waited for the paramedics he asked, weakly, “Why?”
She replied with a blunt, tender sincerity, “It’s what God would want me to do.”
Mr. Dapper’s Tweets of Wisdom
February 26, 2010
Though he was a high-ranking member of a white supremacist gang, he wasn’t convinced in the supremacy of his fair-skinned race. A nigress in his science class was smarter than any of them; the strongest kid in PE was Asian. The weakest, dumbest person he knew was himself.
One of his gang’s pamphlets taught him about genetics and diluting racial bloodlines. This lead him to a conclusion which startled him.
If his offspring were to have any hope of success in life, he’d need to bolster his frail genetic code with a set of superior chromosomes. So he asked the intelligent black girl to the prom.
After an incident in the parking lot, witnessed by no one, he never awoke from the coma.
Character studies, 140 characters at a time, Monday-Friday at Mr. Dapper’s Twitter.
February 19, 2010
Asleep, buffeted by the twin silver waves of the subway tracks, her head bobs on her uniform’s blue shoulders like a buoy on the dark sea. It’s almost seven bells and evening, judging by the sky’s hue whenever the train breaches the surface.
She’s slept through her watch again.
It’s not a cause for panic. She’s set herself a drift in a landlocked city in order to sleep. This is her third day sleeping on the subway. Twice a day she’s watched human tides roll in and out of the car, swirling like frothing eddies around a beached whale. Around her.
A thought washes upon her: When the whole world is an ocean, there’s no going AWOL from yourself.