Monday, April 02, 2007
Television, Part 2
(Second in a two-part series)
Lynn uncurled her legs from the leather chair and kicked aside the takeout containers on the coffee table.
Kurt ordered from all the coolest restaurants. Now the cold sauces stank, and she was too lazy to stack it up and throw it away.
She flipped the television remote in her hand in slow circles. Across the room, the colors and shapes moved in her unfocused vision.
Her hand stopped. She thumbed down the volume a couple bars.
She tipped her head to the ceiling and listened.
No sounds upstairs. She dared to drop the volume a bit more.
Yes, there was a low whine and pattering. They were in the shower.
A low voice echoed over the rush of water. The laugh was oily. Lynn gunned the remote and flooded the room with sound.
Twenty minutes later, Danny eased onto the couch without a word. She watched how carefully he sank into the softness. His face grimaced, then relaxed. A droplet of water flicked off a point of combed, wet hair.
Lynn didn't really want to join him, but she left the chair anyway. She made the effort to rub his shoulder. His carved-out face blinked occasionally at the television.
She sighed and pulled away.
Kurt strutted down the stairs. Huge grin as usual. "Your envelope is on the table."
He liked to be prompt. He also liked to keep the reality abundantly clear. "Did you have good day, Lynn?"
"Try to be awake and 'with it' a little earlier tomorrow, okay? You guys are getting later and later."
"Sure, Kurt. Whatever."
"I'm going back to the office for a little while. You need anything?"
Lynn shook her head. His gaze jumped to Danny, who didn't react.
Lynn's blood roared when Kurt's greedy eyes licked over Danny's lean lines, and Kurt knew it. The grin widened.
She snapped away, and the footsteps dwindled. The door closed, sealing them in.
Time crawled. Television shows came and went. Lynn made herself watch or else her heart would pound.
Danny swallowed. His lips were cracked and sticky. He used to dive into her neck all the time, kiss her everywhere while she giggled and shooed him away. How long since he last touched her?
During a commercial, he finally spoke. "I asked him to give us more money."
The words floated around in her brain. She was too tired to think.
"Did you hear me?" he said.
"Can you check?"
Her breath hissed as she walked over to the table and slapped up the envelope. "Five more bucks," she said.
"I asked for ten."
She shrugged, sliding out the money and folding it into her jeans.
"How much did you save today?"
"Not as much," she said. "The asshole's getting sick of listening to me, I think. He wants me to blow him."
Danny just stared.
"You know, why the hell are we bothering? A couple bucks here, a couple bucks there. Who cares? Do you want a bus ticket home? That's about all we're gonna be able to save."
Danny gripped the skin on his legs and turned it white.
Her words rolled around her head.
wants me to blow him to blow him to blow him
What was Danny thinking?
He never said what Kurt did to him upstairs. What Kurt made him do. She never asked either.
She replaced the empty envelope on the table.
Anymore, she didn't really care.
Go back to Part 1.
(Based on a true story. Philadelphia is known for its cheap, pure heroin. A couple of years ago, I noticed a lot of homeless college-aged guys and girls. They sometimes had cardboard signs asking for money to buy a ticket home. Of course, they never seemed to leave. Later, I read a newspaper article about kids coming from as far as Seattle for the heroin. To buy it, they panhandled for money in the day, then sold themselves at night. One couple was funded and housed by a well known editor (a man) in exchange for sex. But not with the girl. I've sometimes thought about their relationship and what that life did to them.)