Dunhill Reds. I remember smoking those as a kid growing up in Australia. In mid conversation with Grace, I’m reminded of how few Americans choose imported brands like these. Grace hasn’t noticed my lost-in-thought expression and continues, “I was with him for a at least a year.” She looks down but passed Jack, her 9-year-old Shiatsu who sits adoringly at her feet. He seems well looked after. “Woow, he broke my heart.” I give her the, girrrrrrrl-I-get-it, look. “Anyway, that afternoon, I felt like I needed something to remind me of him so on the spot, I bought a pack of Dunhill Reds, his favorite. I smoked the whole pack that day and then the next day, I went out and bought myself two packs of Reds and smoked those all that day as well. And then I was hooked, for a while.” Wow, that’s a first, I say. “I was never one of those kids who smoked during school or college.” Right, I affirm. “I started smoking 40 cigarettes a day for a guy.”
Can one’s accent bring in more revenue? It caught my attention, that’s for sure. Well, Andrea’s accent caught mine at the same time that mine caught her’s. “You tell me first,” she says with an inquisitive smile. “I’m part Australian.” She nods her head, “I thought so. People think I’m Australian too.” “Well…” I ask. “South African.” Hmm…yes. Subtle differences to the Australian, but usually only insiders can tell. And yet, even after 20 years of living in New York, not much in Andrea’s accent has changed. If anything, it’s only brought in more work.
Oh, fuckin’ hell. It’s not just that his breath smells. It’s not just that he doesn’t know how to use his fuckin’ penis. And it’s not just that he can’t fuckin’ talk to me. It’s that I hate his fuckin’ music. Every song he considers an opus. And every song I just want to stick my thumb in my throat and vomit. Don’t laugh. It’s not funny. Shit. I think I just got my period. Or maybe I’m wet.
Nah, it’s my period. Do you have anything?
I love him so much. Fucker.
I’m sitting in this car, waiting it out, smoking cigarette after cigarette, joint after joint, thinking “What the fuck is wrong with me?” “Why would I do that?” “Why would I do that?” “Why would I sleep with the woman who slept with my best friend?” And that ain’t even the part that doesn’t make sense. The part that doesn’t make sense is, see, she’s fuckin’ pregnant. My seed. A cabby’s seed. But before I could finish that thought, there she is. Ready. Waiting. I look at her and, in a flippant sorta way, almost as if I was sayin’, “Boy it’s windy,” I say, “I’m having a baby.”
Sleepless, tired. He wakes in the middle of the night only to find he is alone and yet for thirty seconds he feels like he’s a part of something. It only takes thirty seconds for the reality to settle in that he isn’t a part of something. He gets up, goes to the window, looks out, hears the screams. Isn’t alarmed. Isn’t scared. Takes a breath. Focuses on where the sounds are coming from.
It was one of those pseudo introductions where A and B are talking (I’m B) and C (who knows A) comes out of nowhere and joins the conversation, adding some witty remarks that makes A and B chuckle. Then, C starts telling a story and B notices that C is checking in every now and again. Five minutes later (like, really five minutes) C shares his name, Greg, and before you know it, B and C are friends. Chances are either one of them will find each other on Facebook and that’ll be that. The End.
“God, I don’t know how he look themselves in the mirror, you know?” Janet stares blankly out at the bustling street ahead. She looks like she needs a cigarette. “I think it hurts more that he played with my dreams.” Janet is in her late 20s, stained blue jeans, striped shirt peaking out of a black fitted hoodie. “This crazy city…” It’s almost inaudible. She was this close to getting scammed by a Craigslist ad: “$1000, 3 bedroom apartment in the heart of Chelsea. A rare find.” Can’t beat that. She smiles an offbeat smile looking back at me for some kind of reinforcement. I try to offer it. Truth is, there’s a piece of her heart that’s broken; like a break up, or a professional player too close for comfort.