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Black Hats

The building is in a frantic state of energy, and it seems as though the friction between the people that it’s holding prisoner is going to set the whole thing ablaze. People are shouting, mouths opening and closing in a last-ditch attempt to salvage themselves, but it’s hopeless. They’re already ruined, and they know it. Now, it’s just a matter of whether or not they get to keep the food in the refrigerators that will be repossessed. People are pushing and shoving their way inside and outside, and it’s all I can do to hold onto the new black hat that I bought last week.

It looks just like every other black hat that I own, except this one has a purple ribbon instead of a blue or green or red or velvet one. I only got it to match the purple dress that I wanted in a lame attempt to convince my husband that buying the dress made sense, since I already had a hat to match. But I don’t think that I’ll be getting the dress. The only things that are going to be left after this are the accessories—zirconium earrings bought to match a diamond necklace, a monogrammed tie clip to go with the new ties that Wilson will likely never wear. I have no illusions. His company had bought shares.

We’re done, finished, only last week I convinced him to invest more in the stock market, and words, wicked words that I would have never remembered otherwise are suddenly flooding back into my head and drowning me with guilt. Darling, we’re on top of the world! What have we got to lose? And of course he had replied with words that were positively clairvoyant. Lexie, if we really are on top, there’s only one way to go, you know. But I had won. He had trusted me. And now, the answer to my teasing question, What have we got to lose? became crystal clear. Everything. We had had everything.

The ticker tape keeps spitting out new figures, struggling to keep up with what’s going on in the bowels of the building. It reminds me of the glass-box fortune tellers that they had in carnivals when I was a child. Pay a penny, and it would give you your fortune on a little slip of paper. Always nice things. But the people in here have paid more than a penny, and the fortune teller isn’t telling them things that they want to hear.

God knows if we’ll ever make it out of this mess, but I don’t want to. Ignorance is bliss, and I want just another five minutes of happiness. I look up at the sky, and I picture it, in my head. A full skirt, a simple bodice. It’s the color of plums.



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