Case of Merlot
by Steve Slatter
Jessie detects mid-February snow in the glistening light on her bedroom ceiling. Pulling herself up, she dresses in a loose white blouse and tight black skirt. No underwear.
A vehicle has woken her. She rushes on some make-up and dragnets her hair.
At the window, she swishes the drapes. A fierce glare jabs her eyes. She sees a blurred car standing on the nearest piece of gritted road. A single figure is approaching through the storm, lifting his knees high over the drifts.
In readiness, she adjusts her top button and purses her lips. It’s a new customer, Micky Farraghy, a carton under one arm and a pink envelope in his free hand. She transfers downstairs to open the door. He yields up the box – six Merlots, 13.5%.
“Better come in,” she says, thinking of paying in kind.
He follows her into the lounge. She sits him, and reaches to adjust his cushion. The blouse gapes in his face, offering the contents.
No reaction, coy prick.
She straightens. “Well, I need a drink.”
She unscrews the first bottle and pours.
After a gulp, she decides to broadside. “You do wanna fuck, right?”
Silently, he hands her the envelope, looking away as she accepts it. He stands and egresses in a sudden white swirl from the door.
Snowflakes argue in the hallway. She takes a deep draught of red, watching them evanesce like lovers. Bloody weather. She slams the door and rips open his message.
“Happy Valentines, Jess,” it reads.