You shrug and pontificate how there is little difference between any half dozen good looking printing papers when spread under naked bodies. Proof it I say and toss the month's accumulation of newsprint on the floor. You say it all depends on the bodies, well that's true I say, and if they were all as muscularly defined and ah . . . bent, I gasp, in certain places as you. Mutation, you explain. But it's too soon, I say, isn't it? You hand me the bottle of Vodka. It is my turn to spout nonsense.
The reality is too wearisome for us both. I point to the pinky on my right foot. It is webbed. You kiss it and say it might come in handy. I blush, though I thought my blushing days, were behind me. You say I'm adorable when I change colors. A chameleon, I'm not, oh really, you laugh.
So I try to be funny, maybe we can wear that mood better than the others. Except, I say, Greenland is always covered with snow. WAS you say, only now it's melting and neither one of us laughs though we do agree New Yorkers are always on the go and that Policemen are never around when you want them and that winters were longer and the snow heavier twenty years ago. We shed tears over that one and that all bootleggers own high-powered cars. WAS you say.
They were the first to drive the SUVs making the thirst for the Gulf of Oil, I say. No you say it was EARL. He fell asleep at the switch making the gulf a sea of brown and they still haven't found his body. Well that's because, you say, barbers are always bald and you can never find what you're looking for if what it is you don't have. Otherwise bald barbers would grow hair and the oilmen would grow gills until they can stop the leak. I laugh and you say, well it's not a bad idea and that you actually have to take a leak and that I haven't been drinking enough. I take a swig or two of the Vodka and step outside onto the beach. It's just yards now from our house and affordable as the toxic fumes keep the tourists and other investors away.
I watch the tar balls rise in from the tide. They're like seals without legs bobbing in the water. There was a time when we used to sit out here and watch the white crest of the waves and dare each other to swim naked and sometimes we would, shivering the whole time, then later counting the seconds we could make love in the sand before the police would kick us off the beach for indecent exposure. And now the tar balls are here. They're here, they're here, I scream. Glen, it makes me cry inside out, what's that mean?
You join me on the beach and explain it's a mutation. My body's adapting, conserving its salt.
I tell you I remember what a tear felt like rolling down my face. It eased . . . . the . . . You squeeze my shoulders, shake me and say please, you've got to stop. And please tell me about the 1929s again.
Well they had a saying back then that red hair denotes a quick temper. So we both say together and watch the tar balls. Some squirm, gyrate, and wash ashore furry encased with animal parts we don't want to talk about and so we state more euphemisms from 1929 when times were good.
You say Panama hats are made in Panama; were I say. And you chug a little too long on the Vodka and I count the tar balls 'til my eyes go blurry and you drag me back inside and we lay spread out on the faded newsprints falling asleep to each others' whistled breath.
Julie Ann Weinstein is the author of Flashes from the Other World.
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