Taxidermy

November 4, 2010
She was a taxidermist. That was the first thing I knew about her. She came to my pub one summer, in the darkest hours of morning. The moist heat had coaxed the aroma of old vomit from the floor, and the cigarettes had bled down to the fags, but even through the putrid haze, I could smell her. Embalming fluids, unmistakable and devastatingly sweet.

She took a seat at the bar. I found myself standing before her, entranced by her outlandish beauty, infatuated with the scent of death. She whispered to me her drink. Blood flooded my cheeks, and I hastened to prepare it for her—I fumbled with the gin and tonic, then slid the icy highball across the bar at her. She accepted the glass with stemware hands and raised it to merlot lips… my every synapse exploded. Heart, mind and tongue stumbled across each other in their race to connect feeling into sound. Say something. Say anything. Good evening—you look lovely tonight. What is it you do? Let me guess—taxidermy? How fascinating. The passion was there, but a backbone I lacked, and I was across the room before she’d placed the highball on the coaster again.


I snatched a mug that already glistened, and rubbed it fervently with a dirty dishcloth. I dared a glance over my shoulder—what was it she was doing now? Scrawling across a napkin with a flower-tipped pen. Her lips fluttered furiously in a mumbled conversation to no one, and her hands trembled as she grasped the highball again—everything about her made me ache.

Say something. Say anything.

I ducked my head. With a suavity certainly meant to mock me, the mug in my hands winked.

The night was torn in half by the sound of a stool screaming against the concrete floor. At the ugly sound, I turned my head so fast I got a crick in my neck.

She stumbled away from the bar, and I watched her cross the pub to the doors. Say something.

She let the door slam behind her.

For several heartbeats, I didn’t move. Then slowly, I regained the feeling in my limbs, and drifted over to where she had been sitting. I stared with frigid apathy—all she’d left of herself was a poem on a napkin, a half-empty highball, and the unmistakable, devastatingly sweet smell of embalming fluids.





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AaronLawrence said...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 6:56 pm
Brilliant.  I can't believe there's no comments for this.  Your imagery was unmistakably proffesional, no excessive adjactives or super fast plot unfolding or major grammer errors that are so common on this sight.  It seemed a little open ended at the end.  The poem also didn't seem to work, too random.  Amazing work though. 
 
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