Oh hey! It’s the Beginning of a Short Story

Outside the Actor’s Studio

Rome may be the Eternal City, but in American terms, this shithole might as well be. Cow paths trace its periphery and vital organs, the meat and stench of which have been trodden by preachers and populists, Pilgrims and paragons of high academe and, nowadays, high finance. Aeryn leaned back against the smooth cool stone and inhaled deeply. Tar-laden plumes sucking in and drifting languorously out twice-pierced nostrils to mingle with a dew-rich early spring air late, always late, in coming. A stiff breeze kicked suddenly, flicking bits of snow ash from the tip of her half-smoked American Spirit (the yellow pack, always the yellow, though if asked why or what the difference was between the yellow and, say, the aquamarine, she really couldn’t say — classifying smokes by the color of the packaging a habit she had acquired during a semester in France, when the Gauloises were either “bleu” or “rouge,” lacking the linguistic equipment to elaborate further). The Spirits were an affectation — she was conscious of that, but she figured it’s better to affect something than to have nothing to affect.

The sun was a wan zinc disc filtering down through new leaves still shivering in the pale April light. It could well snow again.

Aeryn stretched out long thin limbs — not so long ago, limbs that belonged to a lithe runner with ambitions of marathons and medals, but priorities shift and undulate like tendrils of lazy smoke. Classes were done for the day. There was a CVS stop and a liquor store stop and a Dunkin’ stop ahead of her on the long slow Red line return trip. Maybe, rubbing her flat — too flat she thought — belly, a Chipotle stop if she only bought Harry’s carton and a re-up on Spirits. But Harry’s Kools and the Jack were a sine qua non, she knew that much. The thought of a fat burrito oozing decadent gobs of guacamole and sour cream did set her mouth to watering though, and that was before she had even sparked the J tucked rakishly between the industrial and the flesh blown red from the wind beneath.

She pulled out her phone — still no texts from Vel — to check the time. Harry sans pills, cigarettes and whiskey, though not necessarily in that order, could be an unpleasant wreck of a bitch to spend an evening with, and, assuming she didn’t hear from Vel, Aeryn would be spending the evening with Harry. There were lines to memorize and scenes to map and a response paper to write and fuck. She made a few feeble attempts at blowing smoke rings — Vel had tried to teach her on more than one occasion — but just wound up making faces at the skeins of people tangling between Tremont and Boylston. She’d be headed up to Tremont before too long, but not quite yet.


~ by Benji on 31 October 2014.

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