As He Likes It

She had been eyeing his suit since 59th Street. When the train emptied at 14th she took the sudden exodus as an excuse to sit next to him.

“I’ve never seen working sleeve buttons up close. It’s such a beautiful detail,” she said, her fingers hovering over his light gray glen plaid.

The button holes on his sleeve were stitched in orange, a delicate but striking accent that implied bespoke. read more

Observation

Sometimes time slows until it is cool honey dripping off the end of a spoon. In those moments my mind opens and I look around with new eyes, taking everything in, relishing every detail, and recording every nuance in my memory.

Perhaps there was an element of mourning there, in the detachment, but it is only when I became the outsider, the onlooker, that I am truly content.

It happened on subway cars, in midnight diners, in libraries, and on dense city streets. It happened at bars, in clubs and most certainly at parties. read more

The Princess and the Unnecessarily Elaborate Hotdog

She walked into the diner just as I was finishing my dinner. She dragged her feet and popped her gum and wore a frown perfectly.

The place was 50s chic, the counters lined with chrome and the booths with well stuffed red pleather cushions. A Lower East Side remake of a Brooklyn version of a Happy Days or David Lynch ideal of a greasy spoon.

She wore a huge puffy pink parka, pink pajama pants, rain boots, and big movie star sunglasses. She looked both miserable and determined. She was my age, but with a decidedly more youthful fashion sense, to put it mildly. read more

The Replacement

David didn’t remember turning his alarm clock off, but as he yawned and stretched that Saturday morning he decided it was probably a good idea he hadn’t set it. After the week he had, he needed a little extra rest. Plus, it was the weekend – weren’t you supposed to sleep in?

He turned in his instinctual morning movement to check his phone and found a crisp sheet of white paper folded over it.

He opened the note and saw the neat script of his girlfriend Emily. read more

The Shaving Lesson

To meet the husband of you lover is a strange thing. To realize he was flirting with you was quite another. Henry, poked at his eggs and smiled nervously as Adam and Kay whispered to each other, both pairs of their pretty eyes sparkling at him as they conspired.

Henry squirmed under their eyes and attention. The whole thing wasn’t going the way he had planned at all. He had expected brunch to be something formal, like meeting your girlfriend’s parents, but he should have known any man who would have the balls to marry Kay would have to be an interesting character himself.

When they asked him back to their apartment, Henry choked on his cold brew. Still, it was put so innocently, he had to say yes.
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Putting Things Together

She promised not to smoke if I just came over. When I got there, she stank of mouthwash and she didn’t know what to do with her hands.

You could always tell the state of Amanda’s life by the state of her lips. As she moved in to kiss my cheek, I saw that that those absurdly plump lips were bitten, chapped, and raw.

“I broke up with him,” she said, walking to the window as I sat on the broken futon. read more

Watching Them

From the top of the stairs, Tom watched as they were introduced.

He always knew Katherine would meet Diane at some point. Their circles of friends were far too close for them to stay strangers forever. Diane had been in his life for years and had been his lover once. He remembered those days and nights as he watched Diane kiss Katherine’s cheek and laughed at some joke she made. Katherine had that self deprecating charm that he imagined Diane would like.

Tom was in love with Katherine in a way he had never loved anyone. She took care of him. She was his rock as well as his inspiration. She also owned his body in a way no one had before. read more

Staple

The first page of a story was stapled to the back of a paper on economic reform in post soviet Russia.

Jason wasn’t sure if the story was for him or the professor or simply a mistake. He assumed the students knew that Jason was the one who really marked all the papers. Hell, he gave the lectures for the majority of the semester. Big name professors don’t do very much, teaching assistants do all the real work.

Still, the single page was like nothing Jason had ever seen in the context of Russian history, or more accurately contemporary Russian economic history. This was a snippet of a dirty dream. A little fragment of someone’s fantasy. read more

His Hall

She missed his wall; his hall. That place he always threw her against when she came into his apartment.

She missed feeling small and afraid. She’d grown up too much, become too jaded, too brave to feel so little.

She missed the anxiety and hunger she felt walking down his block. She missed his pretty cock. She missed the fear that was particular to being in his elevator. read more

Final Meal

He sliced the exotic fruit with a huge knife on the perfect cutting board. Furry greenish gray splitting to show vivid green and neat circles of black seeds.

She sipped her coffee and watched him with annoyance. There was some kind of distracting formality he put into things that should be simple, like cutting up fruit. It was one of the million things that once seemed charming, but now annoyed the shit out of her.

She couldn’t watch any more as he took his oh-so-sharp knife and pealed the fur off of the thing. She went into the bathroom to finish putting on her makeup. read more