1.1 The Freshman (From Mr. Fish’s Novel)

March 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm (art, artist, comic, fiction, graphic novel) (, , , )

The middle finger of his right hand rubbed charcoal into the shadows of her throat.

“You done with this?” The sole worker at the cafe asked, as she pointed to his plastic cup. It was empty except for a ring of beer at the bottom. The apron clad woman peered over his shoulder and watched his smokey thoughts manipulate the beautiful woman’s neck.

“That’s pretty good.” Still no answer. “You done with this?”

“Yeah, take it.” he said with all the politeness of your average twentieth century boy. When she disappeared, he looked up at the woman sitting across the room. She looked like a sphinx. Her limestone eyes, with bottomless black lacquer pools floating under their sleepy lids, stared off at…

He had no idea what she was staring at, for her thoughts were far, far away. He compared the woman to the drawing found on the last page of his sketchbook.

He closed the book and and then briefly closed his eyes, wondering whether she had moved at all, the entire time they had sat there, other than to raise and lower a cigarette to her polished lips and gently breathe out a ghost of smoke; smoke which was reflected in the fog outside the window. He opened his eyes and looked at her frightening profile again.

He stroked the imitation black leather on his journal. Then, with practiced resolve, he pinched its spine and raised it in the air. A deal’s a deal: a promise acquires currency by its keeping. He moved the dangling book over the flame of the flickering white candle.  The edges of its pages blackened and then flames puffed out. He ignored the broken crank on the window and pushed the pane open.

Without even a glance in her direction, he threw the book like a flaming Frisbee through the window, towards the dark, shiny sidewalk. He didn’t bother to watch it land. It was closing time- time for him to go. As he stood up, his chair let out a screech as it slid across the tile floor. He stole a last peek at the unapproachable goddess. Sitting in a spotlit circle from one of the cafe’s lonely light fixtures, she looked like the star of an East Village play.


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