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A Few Short Words

Dense Not Thick

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cocktails

Crowded Out

Caleb, who is a complete fucking scumbag, is giving a lecture on the moralities of Batman. I’d probably have that conversation if it could be one. Every time he thinks he’s about to make a point he swishes up his drink (a fucking whiskey lemonade which he might as well pour straight into his vagina) and throws a swallow down like a magician takes a bow. Everyone at the table clearly thinks he’s great except for Cleo who I can always rely on to be bored, that bitch is like the Galileo of apathy and sometimes I’m just so fucking grateful.

‘What people don’t understand,’ Caleb says, swish, swallow and smug, ‘is that Batman only has one rule he never breaks. His moral compass only points in one direction but he’ll take any road he can to get there.’

I’d break that rule over Caleb’s handsome fucking head if I knew I could get away with it.

Cleo sighs over the brim of her martini (three olives, dry, and a nod to bygone times) and says to no-one, ‘Comics are for kids.’  The dickhead stops mid-monologue and sharpens his eyes on Cleo’s face. They slept together once, in what I can only imagine was a fit of drug filled boredom, and it always makes me laugh. I know what Cleo likes and I know she wouldn’t have taken it easy on him. There’s probably a few scars cowering under that firsthand vintage jacket he’s affecting. I watch her screw up a napkin and lob it into Caleb’s glare, smacking him in the smug and shutting him right up. She could have been an athlete if she didn’t believe sweat was a byproduct of sex.

The table laughs it off while he sulks and everyone falls back into a rhythm of pointlessness. I love the spectacle of a gathering, the cadence of conversation as it rises, falls and swells around a room. I love watching people think they’re not just animate meat, their little bubbles of hope and expectation that stew around the surface of this twisted social broth. I love playing whodunnit (or will do it), I’m like the Miss Marple of hookups, only mildly less celibate.

I’ve been watching Dylan (ugh) and Sammy’s chairs edging towards each other all night, slow-burn seismic shit the way tectonic plates slide in for a quake. I hope she likes the taste of salt and disappointment. The way she giggles I doubt that she minds anything so long as it’s said with Pavlovian intent. I can practically see her salivating as he rings her little bell.

I feel my phone vibrate and I pull out one of Cleo’s texts. Fuck this shit, it says. Happy hour. Lowered bar. Coke and cocktails. I hate how much I love this girl. I throw back my daiquiri, all slush and good intentions now, and excuse myself nodding towards the little girl’s. Smoke bomb, I text her back. Don’t be long.

Cocktails

I’m bored of being pretty. I tell Cleo I’m going to start a girl fight club. She smiles at me over her vodka cranberry, (sourdough bitch), and tells me I’m not supposed to talk about it. I can see the ovation in her eyes. I want to scrape the smugness off her with the painter’s trowel she used to put on all that makeup. You should try exfoliating, I tell her, if you want to get rid of that snaky complexion. She’s already not paying attention, her face buried in the fluorescence of her phone.

Mother superior of a digital mass, Cleo needs to check on her parishioners every few minutes in case their devotion starts to wane. I tell her if she checks me in I’ll eat her first born child. She laughs by pushing air out of her nose and tells me I’ll have to ask the clinic if they still have it. I ask Cleo if she ever gets bored of being apathetic and she shrugs out her response. My phone vibrates in my pocket but I leave it where it is. I’m not hungry enough to follow through on my threats.

Jessie and Dylan show up dressed like yacht club DJ’s, sock-less feet in seasonal shoes, rolled up khaki’s and V-neck cotton affectations. Cleo turns each cheek to receive their thin lipped tributes. I listen to them tweeting their intentions at her in sentences without character. They chart the night out for us by way of invitation. Seismic Collapse are playing a secret set, they say, in a warehouse in West End. Dylan winks at me through his bangs and asks, would I like to come? I can feel my vagina drying up like a salted slug. From underneath the table I text Cleo, no, with seven exclamations. I hope she’ll get the message, but telling Cleo what you don’t want is like chumming in the ocean.

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