She slid on her leopard print thong. In the mirror her reversed reflection tilted its head. That morning she thought herself a gazelle. Elegant and sleek and shaved.
That day she would work at the bank, the place where millions of dollars passed through her hands. That's why she wore her fingernails clean and clear.
She knotted some hair behind her head in a fist. There was blood on the sheets. Unusual save monthly. Perhaps if her hair was in a bun she'd have better odds in an armed robbery or aggressive assault. Less to pull on. She took a hair tie to her dome and once again her shoulders were bare.
This woman gazed at her reflection in the mirror and he at it.
Hmm? She turned her waist to the man in her bed.
I said let your hair down.
It was long and ornate with black curls the color of a warm summer river that wound betwixt a utopian city collecting somehow neither the taste nor residue nor trash of young lovers. It looked like God oh it was beautiful.
She stepped into the bathroom and commenced the daily ritual with her hair straightener burning.
In that absence the man stirred and sought in her bedside cabinet something as yet unknown. He found a piece of paper with a number written on it. The paper was small and faded were thin blue lines. It was folded by a crease in its center and unfolded no larger than a cell phone that the man had known and used inconsistently in the 1980s of that Great American City.
She emerged from the bathroom holding a toothbrush in her mouth. She already had eyeshadow and blush painted on. She surveyed the man undressed, covered lightly by the sheets to his waist.
It's a piece of paper, she said, then she returned to the bathroom and spat.
I know this number, he said aloud, knowing she didn't hear anything. Certainly not over the noise of the water filling and then draining the bathroom sink. Down it went to the sewers where she did not have the time to imagine the man-eating alligator myths nor the gun to carry in case of them nor any present care at all. She'd have twenty minutes for breakfast. Without him. She had yet another busy day. Finally she went to the bedroom and his pants' belt was buckled.
He was still shirtless but sitting on the bed with his feet on the floor. He was staring at the paper with one hand and holding his mind in the other or he was staring at his mind and with the other hand holding a piece of paper.
She kicked his shoes across the room. As she put on her earrings she picked up the paper from his hand and read it silently and remembered and smiled.
She said, You should go.
He thought about breakfast for a second then he said, Of course.
They each breathed.
You have man-tits.
He gazed downward.
I didn't notice those disgusting things last night.
Nor did you mind them.
This time just he breathed.
"We can't talk about his. Ever."
He said nothing.
She bent to bite his lip.
He was mesmerized to stone by her beauty. Specifically the arcs of her upper back when she turned to put on her bra in the mirror. They twisted golden brown. Her soft face in the mirror looking elsewhere. Her smooth blue bar snapped.
Stop staring, she said with her back to him. Were there once grown out that flesh the angelic wings of Lucifer? The girl had no tattoos.
He got dressed and nodded at the bedside table. I know that number, he said.
He was a nice boy.
She glared her large lovely eyes. At him, of course.
Not like this?
Not like this.
She gave him a look of immense confidence and superiority and then labored putting on an awkwardly fashioned dress while he sat himself down in a chair that faced her alone.
You shouldn't call that number. Don't you see that boy either. By this time the man was fully suited, tie and jackie all.
You get jealous over men half your age, she asked.
He's not a man, he's a boy.
This time she bit her own lips and hiked up her dress very slowly, sexy. The man began to expect things.
Things that make you jealous---
---are only fit for such a particular man as yourself---
Fuck you Go on
---are only suited for men.... dressed for a man like you. Who wants what he wants----
she looked at herself
---and takes what he needs---
and she forgot about herself in that moment with her lips taut and the same pulled away from their usual place her panties. Things she was wet for she misremembered in the taunting of that man. There were memories and fantasies. Nothing else, for as long as you and she shall live. I brought him, she said, to this room and he sucked me off and pinched my tits and I fucked him good and he came when I came and our souls fucked and I was sore and moaning for his young lustful body and flesh so again I fucked him and rode his cock right there on the bed where you slept.
where you'll never sleep again and it was deep and thick inside me and so....
Here she was straddling his cock and rubbing her nails between his hairs and pulling his collar and kissing his ears and she did everything but bite his tongue. He was stiff and practically drooling at the mouth.
.....oh fuck I was screaming he held me and bit me and I pulled at his neck and rode him down and riding up and down fucking and screaming and wetting his face calling out his named and begged to him and cried mercy, sucking at his neck and rubbing his cock with my tongue him squeezing my tits...
Here she held him.
....fuck I ached for him, fuck, to fuck him, fuckfuckfuck me I tasted his cum and wanted more so...
So she pulled his hair tight and looked in his eyes and there was his tongue for the tasting. He tasted.
....and he wrote down his number with a pen of his own and gave it to me at the Stars Bar and the things he said were nothing to the things you've done or could do...
And she she had appeared to him outside of his hands away from the chair upward standing stiff as a mannequin by the door waiting for him to leave.
He walked out and the two never spoke of the evening again nor ever the sex not in their independent persons nor alone in the safe together.
dumb bitch Carol she didn't realize altogether that that boy was her
boss's son until they were back at the bank that afternoon. A
shamefulness lurked in her pit. Her stomach empty vaults of that
financial establishment. It was built on the souls of some dead slaves
and the tellers all made money enough and they all drank cinnamon shots
happily with each other strangers at dim pubs and they all fought
rapidly mid the day and gripped passionately for some flesh mid the
night. So many, christ so many and so wet with blood, young African
children died with the fervor and search for diamonds. Where were they
then in that unhappy booth where she counted cash loudly glancing from
time to time at the man who sat powerfully in a chair of leather and
souls lost to the accounts of conquistadors, squalors in lands yet
theirs and keepers of beds previously cleaned where they shat and bled
and came again, again and again throwing daggers at the map joking about
which vulnerable area they would penetrate next. Panama. Nicaragua.
Afghanistan. Money in the bank yet unused in the pleasure and
gratification with the money earned by the taking from others things so
well grown, cultivated, and beautiful.
He, the man, manager of the downtown branch, was so bored. He glanced
at Carol from his office. No longer did her earrings matter. His looks
became contempt. He swiveled in his chair, left to right then left to
right again. Someday his son would occupy that chair. Would they see the
same things? The man slowly turned his glare from left to right. Gazing leftward he saw the woman named Carol whom he had wonderful sex with one
night and then forward to the M.B.A. on the wall with his name. Ahead of him
on the office's glass door was his name in reverse and he gazed forward
still at his own name, reflected, etched on a slab of gold mounted on
his desk. It read Henry James IV. Then to the right, downward toward the
second drawer containing brown liquor and not memories. Downward still
to his lap, dull and flaccid. And finally he spun to his right,
examining his balding hair in the mirror, and the man sitting in the
desk, turning away and seeing her once again to the left.