Story from Michael Tyler

Always A Sinner

And I climb the staircase and a well-lit blonde bob smokes a cigarette in affair with no one and with eyes for naught but the night, and yet she still makes the effort to nod as I enter and this fills me with hope for the evening ahead.

 And the lights are ambiguous at best as I walk the corridor and consider a former love or lover in a corner with arm encircling the waist of a current beau in sweater vest and boot cut. He is gesturing wildly and all eyes are alight as he swings his tale and I turn and head for the kitchen where I see Jess with teary eyes as she dabs her forehead.

 Jess has not been crying, she has simply thrown up and warns me of this possibility as she hands me a pill and places her hand around my neck, draws me in and holds me tight whispering “sweet nothings” with a smile as I swallow.

 I head toward the living room and find the couch pushed to the wall and bean bags thrown helter skelter. Sam Cooke sings sweet melody as a young man brushes the inside of my arm and says “Do you want company?” and “That’s a shame, a terrible shame,” as he steps away to offer himself to another.

 A shirtless individual entertains a cavalcade and I lean in to hear “You’ll be surprised how many times you need to stab someone to kill the son of a bitch.” Pause, grimace, “A wise man draws quickly across the throat and gets the foul deed done in one quick go.” Pause, final rejoinder, “You must never forget the idea is not to bring death, but to simply withdraw life,” and they clap on conclusion and I realize I have just witnessed a performance piece as he takes a quick bow and then waves a hand across his face in attempt to deflect attention deftly earned. A girl in front of me turns to her side and insists, “This is nothing compared to his cut of Capote, now that is divine.”

 And I grab a bean bag and head to a corner and sit and close my eyes and try to recall the melody of ‘God Only Knows’ as that never fails to bring a tear to the eye and tonight is Sam’s night after all. Leaning my head against the wall I stare to the ceiling and spy a spider in a webbed corner and lose myself for a moment as it – as if startled – hurries to one side.

 A brunette drops a bean bag next to mine and leaves only to return with a drink and lit cigarette. “Charlie,” she says by way of introduction and it strikes me she is the kind of girl that will not age well. Cliché perhaps but her eyes are a blue most piercing, with a southern lilt that is oh so disarming and hints at inner strength most resolute.

 She tells me she achieved her first multiple orgasm when a boy went down on her as she listened to ‘Smile’ on heavy headphones with eyes closed and only the odd lift of the hips to guide the way, she slept with her lit professor on a dare and was disappointed that a published author could be so unimaginative in bed, she owned two iguanas and had just finished the short stories of Hemingway.

 I nod at each revelation and tell her I admire her sense of adventure, I own zero iguanas and I am considering hiring a cleaner before my apartment inspection a week from Tuesday.

 Charlie takes a drink and a drag and points out the spider overhead, a cat brushes itself on Charlie’s leg and then on mine and Love begins once more.

Michael Tyler has been published by Takahe, Bravado, Adelaide Literary, PIF, Daily Love, Danse Macabre, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Dash, The Fictional Café, Potato Soup Journal, Fleas On The Dog, Cardinal Sins, Mystery Tribune, Other Terrain, and Suddenly And Without Warning.

Michael writes from a shack overlooking the ocean just south of the edge of the world. He has been published in several literary magazines and plans a short story collection sometime before the Andromeda Galaxy collides with ours and …