The desolation of the living room almost forgiving. Almost. The balancing gin and tonic on a stranger’s forehead. My forehead. Condensation drips and mixes with the sweat that gathers. There are small taps at the door. Tap. Tap. Sliding the glass off the head. I place it on the coffee table. I think he is the first smile. He is the first. Two or three teeth are missing from his bottom row. I want to count them. I count them. Two. No. Three. He holds the envelope up. Fishing into my pocket. I find a twenty. We exchange notes. He’s running off before I can get my hand back on the door. I throw the envelope on the coffee table. It slides. It crashes into the glass. I watch apathetic to the outcome. The glass falls. Connects with the floor. Instant shatters. Liquid spills. Splashes.

I make me another. Then another. Then another gin and tonic. I slip off the ribbon. It is smooth between my index and thumb. Papers haphazardly spill on the floor. Like snow. Paper snow. I shift them about. Same shit. A different time. I try to pronounce her name. Something French. I chuckle at the way my tongue dances on at the top of my mouth. I think about the top of my mouth. How it’s so wet. But it is dry too. I make another drink. Swishing the liquid. All wet. Moist. The device is in my hand. Or my hand surrounds the device. The place in my thoughts. Whispers. The place around me. It rained. Puddles everywhere. I take a step forward. Splashes.

Shoes are soaked. Feet wet. I didn’t wear any socks. I should have. The bazaar brick building. A grey brightness. Almost too much. It’s too much. I walk through water. Walk on water. I sit on the bench across the street. I wait. I should have worn socks. I smoke a cigarette. It’s quiet. After the storm quiet. I listen to the paper burn as I inhale the smoke. To calm my nerves. If there were any nerves to be calmed. I wait. I should try to quit again. I love the burn. The burn doesn’t love me. It isn’t mutual love. I am ok with that. I wait. A taxi is on the road. It jumps from the potholes. The puddles. It’s round and yellow. Like a taxi should be. Yellow and round. She steps out of the car. A small jump. Missed calculation. Distance too far. A puddle. Splashes.

A stranger’s hand in a stranger’s hand. My hand is a stranger. I lift her up. She is wet. I am wet. No more waiting. She thanks me. An accent of French. Fingers shake. Keys rattle. She hands them to me. No longer strangers. Pins into the right positions. Turning. Opening. Walking in. She shows me the insides. She shows me. Her clothes come off. Mine stay on. I should have worn socks. She’s wet. I’m wet. There’s a crash between us. To be expected. She is like this. I am like this. My hands slip. She’s wet. I’m wet. Splashes.

My fingers pull. They shouldn’t. My fingers push. They shouldn’t. She eats away at the stranger’s neck with lips. My neck. Her lips. My fingers shouldn’t. A stranger’s hand. My hand. She shouts. No. She screams. With joy. Orgasm. She deserves that much. Do I deserve anything? I should have worn socks today. A breath unsteady. Mine is steady. I watch with strangers eyes as she finds her seat. A seat found. I don’t sit. I’m wet. Clothes cling. A tightness. I should sit. A seat found. I fall back in a chair. Splashes.

A cigarette shared. Sharing is caring. I do not care. Not now. Maybe later. Not now. She remains naked. It’s cold. I’m a wet cold. Chilled. Ice clinks in the glasses. I sit. There is a patting sound as she walks across the floor. Pat. Pat. Bare feet. Bare body. Nipples taught. No. Nipples hard. Better word. I am hard too. I do not want to be. I wanted to not want to be. Brass colored liquid. Or gold. Somewhere in between gold and brass. She finds a seat. Happens to be next to mine. I don’t want ┬áit to be. I drink. She drinks. Nipples hard. I’m hard. I want to be soft. A stranger’s hand. No longer strange. I want to be soft. Buttons undid. I don’t want to be hard. Up. Down. Repeated in succession. I drink. Up. Down. A hand no longer strange. A mouth no longer foreign. I don’t want to be hard. Up. Down. She’s wet. Not dry. Splashes.

I am a monster. A fiend. In the company of fiends. To what. She speaks. Words for a meaning. “I find it strange that you’re here.” She said. More words. “I don’t know why you’re here or why I am.” She smiles. I smile. I know why I am here. I don’t tell her. Keep secrets. Monsters keep the best secrets. I am a monster. I take the last drink. All gone. Deep inside. Powder at the bottom. That isn’t right. I feel tired. I am tired. Not right. It isn’t. She smiles. Arms heavy. Not too heavy. She smiles. The glass breaks as it enters her neck. The glass no longer a stranger. She no longer smiles. Everything is heavy. Life sprays out. Over everything. I should have worn socks today. She falls down. I fall down. Into the red. Splashes.

My eyes are sticky. My everything is sticky. A familiar sticky. The bad kind. I’m wet. She’s wet. I want to be dry. The body is heavy as the arms struggle to push it up. My body. Not hers. Her body is heavy too. But probably not very heavy. Or heavy at all. I don’t test this. Leave it alone. I am wet. I wipe my eyes. They sting like fire. Like smoke. I get the lighter. It is hard to stand. I made a mistake. I burn it down. My house is a mess. I am a mess. I don’t want to be. But I am. Clean the unclean. The shower hot. Too hot. Not hot enough. Clean the unclean. The water burns. I want more burn. Splashes.

I am Karl.