That writing withdrawal sure hits hard. I’m not sure why I even let myself go so long without it.
I keep making promises about writing more here and it seems that I deliver less and less each time. So, I think I’m through with that. I’m going to write what I want until I can start writing what I should. It’s a different approach at least.
It’s been weird lately. Too full. My head feels stuffy and I don’t have energy for anything except faking it. Which is fine. It happens to everyone. But I don’t like it. And I don’t really have someone to crack the whip anymore, so I just drag my feet through the mud and wonder why they get heavy.
Anyway. Here’s something from right now. It’s a little bit cyclic. Feedback would be great.
* * *
Rain. It’s like salvation for asphalt, except it doesn’t wash away the stink. It just wets the tar and lets it up into our nostrils so that we can carry the city’s sins for a little while.
Umbrellas don’t keep that off. Rooftops try and fail. There’s always some mud to walk through.
I watched the end of a two-month drought streak across foggy windowpanes from where I sat at the bar. I’d gone on for a few drinks already, and I’d have a couple more before I called it a day. There’s no place for a man like me in the rain. Not for the books anyway.
They only pay in cash when you work out of the sun.
Speaking of cash, I had a thick fold of it packing my hip pocket against the bottom of the bar. I was looking to balance the other leg.
A fox settled onto the stool next to me. I could smell it on her, vanilla promise and sweet, sweet lipstick to hide what lay inside. She was all curves and seduction and her red dress threatened to cough her up.
“You could turn that mug into something a little less menacing if you let the drinks cheer you up, you know,” she said coyly.
“If that’s supposed to pass for a compliment, you could use a few more drinks yourself,” I growled and sucked down the last of my beer.
“I’m more of a conversationalist than a drinker,” she replied and fixed me with something between a sly smile and piercing gaze. “What puts a man like you so close against the bar?”
I didn’t meet her eyes. They would be poisonous. “A combination of fortune and none of yours,” I finally muttered and nodded at a fresh drink.
“That depends.” I drank.
“I guess it’d kill you to tell me what it depends on.”
I snorted. “Not me, it wouldn’t.”
“Well why don’t you tell me your name then? We can start fresh.”
“Lady,” I turned to give her a firm look and met her damned eyes. If they were poison, it was mixed with too much honey to see. I wondered what that did to her perception. “If I had a name to give and “start fresh,” we’d have to have a place to start from. And as far as I know, you’re just another fixture in this damned drinking joint. Now if you don’t mind.”
She accepted that with quiet silence for a moment, but I could hear the gears spinning. “I don’t suppose you’d care to buy me a drink then?”
Well, if that was how she wanted it. I bought her a drink.
“I can’t promise to be here long,” I said after a long silence.
“I don’t expect so.”
I liked her style. Questions I could say no to and she kept her assumptions to herself. “What gives you that idea?” I asked.
“You’re here for something you’d rather not do,” she said simply. “You’ve been drinking since afternoon and you’re still sober as a priest. Whatever your next step is, you can’t take it. I’ve seen that look before.”
“You’ve seen it in the eyes of sailors about to leave their clutch. That’s hardly the same thing.”
“Sailors can come back. Guns for hire never do.”
She didn’t have to assume because she knew. My spine went cold, so I took another drink.
“What did you expect?” she asked after watching me work it all out.
“I can’t say I did much expecting at all,” I muttered into the glass. “But you saw that too.”
“I don’t miss much. That’s why we’re both here.”
“I’m not so sure about that.”
“And why not?’
I met her eyes again. They were getting foggy. “Murder is hard. But killing in a fair fight is easy.”
Her rosy lips parted and those poisoned eyes widened. “You knew?”
“I don’t miss much.”
The rain felt good as it washed her scent from my nostrils and replaced it with the smell of tar underfoot. The mud would wash away.