The Shell and the Daiquiri This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Dimly lit by white tapers,the bar remained a faux-onyx surface, so shiny it reproduced the underside of anyobject placed upon it. In the mirrored niches, polished white acrylic pots housedlong-stemmed silk orchids. Yet even in their elegance, they added nothing to tinttheir environment. The walls were jet black, and nothing hung on them to breakthe color of night. The two-toned counterpoint of color exuded a moral characterof right and wrong, of good and bad. Anything pure or natural was surrounded byelements as devilish and black as a heart of sin.

And there it was, anyeye drawn to it. An elegant crystal, fan-shaped martini glass perched upon thelacquered bar. Radiant with a vibrant crimson frost, the strawberry daiquiri,which threatened to spill, held onto its snow-coned silhouette. Its glacialscarlet beauty outdid the somberness of the bar. Nobody claimed it immediately;it stood posing, left pristine and untouched by its buyer. Perhaps he left,intimidated by its arctic splendor and distance. He ordered it hoping to consumeit, to inhale it and experience its inebriating venom, but even in the attempt todull the pain of rejection, he discovered that she lived in the drink. That evenan escape to the dusky bar could not erase the critical tone of her voice. Herremoteness was too well captured by the wintry sting he assumed accompanied thedaiquiri. So he left it, untouched, but tainted by a drop of saltywater.

Adjacent to the chalice, and not nearly as slick and stunning, layan enormous conch shell on its back like a helpless tortoise. It offered anassortment of salted crackers shaped like goldfish, lions and tigers. The vesselitself seemed angry to have been moved from its sea home deep in the Pacific. Itsquawked and rebelled by wrinkling its exterior like a sensitive nose respondingto a foul odor. Coarse and jagged, its hide still housed the remains of clusteredbarnacles. On this shell the image of morality seemed to blur; even its exteriorseemed to fuse the polarities of black and white into mottled and dappled grays.A more striking contrast was quite unimaginable, yet the shell's masculine,craggy surface seemed a fantastic match for the feminine elegance of the sleekglass.

The salted treats were disappearing, probably devoured quickly bynervous energy and looming depression. As the crackers vanished, the shell becamenoticeably empty, exposing its tender, pink underbelly as though its defenses haddisappeared. It was the most beautiful sunset: iridescent pink, purple andorange. It was almost visible, but not really. From within the shell's stubbledexterior grew a ray of mother of pearl, a mesmerizing, buttery surface. The touchof silk. Peachy and pearled.

And so little by little the truth wasrevealed, untrained but refined, crude but elegant. Like many, the incongruity ofthe shell's imperfect exterior hid the natural beauty of its inner soul.Unfamiliar with this resident duality, the shell was never aware that it could becomplete and harmonious. Edibly dressed, the shell didn't understand happiness.He wasn't familiar with his urbane interior, for it was hidden under anuncultured and vulgar covering. But it lived inside him, and when all thecrackers were consumed, his happiness was visible, and it was as entrancing as aglowing sunset.

A scarlet dampness hovered over the bar. A crystaldisfigured bow tie rested upon the table. A ruby naked woman lay sprawled acrossthe midnight bar, straddling the blackened surface and the grizzled conch. Oncesolid, now liquid. Altered in consistency and color alike. Once an uneven pool ofarctic masses, now a smooth, watery blanket. A rum-red tide crested and brokeagainst the nodular carapace; suddenly, the shell felt at home, only there was nosand, just shiny blackness, and the ocean contained an alcoholic sweetness thatfelt ironically bitter and sad.

They merged together in a mystical blend:aesthete and barbarian, dullness and color, masculinity and femininity.Boundaries uncertain and left undiscovered.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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