When Sarah woke up, Thomas was already making coffee and smoking a cigarette. He couldn’t live without fags. He seemed to be anxious to even go to sleep, because this would deprive him of his favourite object of consumption, and he smoked straight after they had sex, like a character in films about prostitutes and their clients. But Sarah did not mind it, even liked it, because cigarettes suited him and after sex she wanted to be left alone. Thomas also liked to eat, and his eyes were always on the best risotto or cherry pie in the city. In the past one would call such a man a bon vivant, but these days this term had an archaic inflection, so in her diary she named him ‘Agent Cooper’. Despite not paying much attention to his health, in his late forties he still looked good. Probably he even looked better in his forties than in his twenties. For her he looked best when he was naked. Most men look ridiculous without their clothes and they try to hide their shrinking muscles, dicks and balls or try to puff them up by this or that means. Instead, he simply liked to spread himself on the bed, as if unaware of the space he occupied or offered his body as a vessel into which she could escape into a different reality.
I met Libby through an online dating site after I graduated college. Our “In Tune” rating was exceptionally high. I tended to get nervous and tongue-tied around women, but it was different with Libby. We had so much in common we finished each other’s sentences half the time. I was so taken with Libby, I found myself growing more and more concerned about her spending time with anyone else.
‘You were cocky that first week at St Joseph’s,’ said Ian to Terry as the train pulled out of the station. They’d been planning on having a quick pint in The Station Pump but Terry and Micky’s bus had been late so Ian had sat there drinking alone.
The wind stopped blowing on Friday afternoon. Unexpected, since it had never happened before, the problem usually too much wind versus too little. The army of giant turbines stopped rotating in unison. An eerie view from Wayne’s perch in the control tower.
Bullet Brown sittin at the bar sparked the fire when he tells Tall Tan, “Don’t start no shit and there won’t be no shit.”
Tall Tan, the Collector Man, poured some gas on the spark. “Too late for that. The shit started when you opened your goddamn lying mouth.”
Bullet smiled his gap-toothed smile. “Well, fuck, man. If we gonna do it let’s get to it.”
Out there, it was a storm rioting, the type that Marion faced when arriving at the Bates Motel, and I was sitting in this stranger’s freshly vacuumed Mitsubishi with my muddy, turn-out-not-to-be-waterproof hiking boots, him telling me how he hadn’t been home in nearly two decades. That, back there, he had a wife still mourning his death. That his daughter wasn’t the little princess she used to be, but married recently and was pregnant now with two little princesses herself. His voice a warm drone against the rain that was drumming against the Mitsubishi’s metal frame. I was just happy that I was in there, and not stuck at the last lonely gas station, biding my time with overpriced Cheetos and overweight truck drivers.
Lydia was late home, she had delayed as long as possible but now it had to be faced. She threw her keys into the old bowl on the hall table and climbed the stairs. Cuthbert had stepped out of the shower moments before.
As she stood in the dark of the landing she watched him stroll from the bathroom, his pale arse glowing in the borrowed light from the bedroom. She found it hard to believe that she used to find that particular part of his anatomy attractive. She had stroked it, patted it and on occasion she had kissed it.