February 7th, 2009

One-Moment Exercise–Results

(10 minute freewrite on the prompt in the last post, unedited)

He’s still tasting the goddamn date square. It’s been over an hour and some fierce regret, but it still pastes his tongue, his gums above his wisdom teeth. He is dying for a sip of water, has been for a while, but he didn’t dare take a finger off the wheel with Iz watching, and the rental-car office is so tiny and wobbly looking it seems like it might not even have running water. Plus, every time the clerk looks up from the computer, the file, the computer, he is glaring at them. At them both, but Judge feels like the kid can sense it was Judge behind the wheel when they hit the median, though he wouldn’t go as far to say “at fault.” Judge wouldn’t go that far at all.

It’s hot in Ohio. It was hot in Ontario too, but in that province it was also dawn, which gave your clothes some clearance from your body. Now everything is slicked tight, even the baggy canvas of his shorts, even the thin cotton of the street-stand t-shirt that says, Fest. It is a generic t-shirt, bought for four-dollars in Outremont when he spilled red wine at a party and ran downstairs to see if he could by a new one. For four dollars, he didn’t care what fest, all though here, in Ohio, with the rubber-decal letters sweating to the hair on his chest, he panics briefly that someone might ask him. Not Iz, of course; Iz was at the party.

She also smells like date squares, which is not helping anything, the cinnamon-fruit dust that hangs in the shared air between them. And she stands so distant from him, while firmly occupying the same wicket at the wood-veneer desk. She is keeping her distance? Or she is trying not to touch in the confined space where to touch means to stick, and sweat.

Why is the clerk not sweating? How can a modern business establishment not be air-conditioned? What is wrong with Ohio? The shallow bowls around the kid’s eyes are not even shiny, his forehead dry, his tight small braids tapering neatly to the back of his neck. The clicks of the computer are dry and precise, too, but in Judge’s mind, each one is thousands of dollars.

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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