Scramsfield had never before set eyes on the Kuttle’s blonde daughter, and standing with her in front of The Rape of Europa he felt so panicked by her beauty that after she made an enthusiastic comment about the painting he just stared at her, silently, like some sort of sweating inbred elevator attendant. Only later did he find out that she’d assumed he felt such scorn for her unsophisticated commentary on the Titian that he hadn’t even bothered to reply.
And that was how their courtship glided on for several months afterwards. Phoebe would say something about art or poetry or music or philosophy, and either Scramsfield wouldn’t listen because he was lost in the orchards of her face, or he would listen without understanding what she meant, but either way he would put on his stern thoughtful expression, and Phoebe would conclude that she still wasn’t quite clever or knowledgeable enough to impress him.
Dry, unfunny, and useful for impressing people who were easily impressed. We met outside a bar named after an Ivy League at five past two, when no one’s in any particular hurry to grab their car before the pay lot closes.
We had a grand total of nothing in common. She wore her hair short and smoked reds, I wore my hair long and smoked Spirits. She read Dostoevsky, I read Palahniuk. She liked her martinis shaken, I, stirred. She struck a match as I grabbed my lighter from my cigarette case.
"Show was pretty eh tonight, huh?" I said, realizing both of us were waiting on DDs who probably weren’t sober enough to find their cars.
"You kidding? I haven’t heard anyone butcher a Wren Harper cover that bad since Eli Reed meets Bloodstalker." She exhaled through her nose. "I’d say it was the worst three hours I’ve ever spent, but competition’s real close."
"No way, not even top ten," I said. "You haven’t had a bad three hours til - you know Perry Lynch?"
"I absolutely fucking loathe Perry Lynch," she said.
I’d say we at least hated the same things, but the things I thought were lacking, she hated with a passion normally reserved for Thanksgiving dinners. The things I could rant about for hours, she gave a solid D+/C-. There was nothing we could agree on.
I’d later find out she had a Sanskrit proverb tattooed down her spine. I always preferred the Mughal dynasties myself.
Ava ran away from her home in a sleepy suburban town at the tender age of eighteen and made her way to the big city, where she was going to be free. She arrived with just the clothes on her back, two pennies in her pocket, and eyes gleaming with hope. Four years of studying <UNDECLARED> later, she went on to land a position she loved in the aforementioned field.
She made her rounds through the shops, the restaurants, the shops again. Racks and racks of clothes, each one different enough from the last to justify having to buy them both. Somewhere, three thousand miles from her and her bag of resumes, in the middle of this jungle of clothes, an Indonesian child was sewing the next season’s fashions. She gets one cent for every dress she packs. The bus from her shack to the factory is thirty-three cents one way. When she’s finished for the day, she may have finished one hundred dresses. She will pay sixty-six cents for the privilege to make gaudy salmon-pink dresses and neon blue tights that an American teenager will wear four times this season, then throw in the back of her closet and laugh about twenty years later. The other thirty-four cents goes to feeding her sick baby brother. In two years, he will die anyway, and she would have wasted one hundred sixty-four dollars and twenty-five cents American feeding him for three years.
Back when I left college, I wrote a little ditty about being unemployed. If I had waited a few months, I could’ve written a little ditty about how much retail work sucks. If I waited a year, I could’ve written about how much office work sucks. If I waited a year and a half, I could’ve written about being unemployed again.
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