Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two Fingers

     “Bourbon.”
     She always ordered two fingers. Held up, slightly apart, although never a sign of peace or victory. The first times, I'd reached for the well and she'd shaken her head. Slowly, as if moving faster might be damaging to her fine, articulate, neck. Her long neck which pulsed as she swallowed her bourbon. Sometimes I saw her stroking it, her long fingers tightening around its ivory shaft. Her eyes would meet mine, turn hard and then look to her cigarette in the other hand. Those nights she came in, that is how it was. I poured her good bourbon, she smoked her expensive cigarettes and my stomach rumbled. Hungry on low pay, and an emptiness other than food.

     In later years, with a fuller stomach, it was her neck by which I judged all others. Measuring them as they drank beer, and Jack Daniels by the gallon, smoking Camels. Their hands limp and numb, moving roughly. Thick fingers strangling the joy from anything they touched. Their eyes all too soft and wanton.