Shell

April 16, 2009
By
A fishy smell drifted away from the oven and small dining table in the sloppy condominium, inhabited by one. It would only be an hour until his taxi arrived, and he would finish many oysters by that time and have still cleaned up, despite hating the odd seafood direly- their taste and textured nagged at his nerves the most.

With his predicted goal met in time, he took a good twenty minutes to dress the appropriate part of a decent gentleman.

After his taxi took him to the town center, they met up easily from previously discussed identifiers.

“Wow,” she said. “You really tried.” He was quiet in response, absently licking his lips and extending his elbow to her.

Soon they were at the formal dance, linked in arms. They danced as an enigma of the people around them, blending in. Surrounded by collegiate law students, he refrained from socializing. He was just there to look pretty.

At one point, the couple became highlighted, emphasized by the ceiling lights being aimed. They were framed by hats and flowers, becoming a painting of perfection.

In his progressive thought during the dance, he could only relate it to The Treachery of Images. Oh, perception was a cruel lady, but a painting is only a painting.

It was becoming too big of a deal, to him. He was squirming slightly, though unnoticeable by anyone, and he distorted his face in gentle discontent. This one dance drew attention to them as an item, something he preferred to avoid for the sake of his client, and it made him wary, so he pulled on the shoulder of her silky dress.

She was lost in an illusion, though. “Kiss me,” she said to him, her tony hungry for passion. Hesitantly, he pecked her cheek, but in her bout of fervor she adjusted to kiss him properly, intercepting the previously sweet and pitiful gesture. He hated it, that taste and the texture. His shaky gestures went by unnoticed. The transition was smooth. Onlookers had mixed reactions- some people were amused, others inspired, and a few bitter.

They did not speak until they arrived at her door, where he merely escorted her in wait for payment. She offered him a single large bill underneath the lamp of the dorm building.

“I know I said just for the dance,” she started, a surreal quality to her tone.

“The kiss was an accident,” he responded quickly, attempting to reassure her despite being nonchalant and cold. She winced, and the night began to deteriorate in her mind. She departed without saying anything else.

The bill would cover part of the boyfriend-for-hire’s ride home. Alone, he thought about oysters.





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