Because I Paint My Nails

The smoke caresses his face as he discretely stares down my dress. Those brown puppy dog eyes are full of light and drink. I smile as softly as I can manage, trying desperately not to laugh.

“You’re quite a woman,” He chokes, “Denise.”

I turn my head away just so I can make my hair float as I swiftly turn back, “Thank you, Patrick. That’s quite a compliment.”

He inhales deeply, “But it’s oh so true.”

I giggle. He smiles.

“I can get you another, but I’d rather not leave your side.” He practically purrs into my soft wavy hair. I let him stay close while I play with a few dead ends. “You smell good.”

I chuckle – then giggle – quickly hiding my face in case he noticed the change in tone, “Thank you.”

The bar is dark. The only light comes from candles perched on the small round tables and a few left over Christmas lights that hang overhead. It’s one of the oldest bars in Boston, and I love it because each and every server owns a thick Bostonian accent that can’t be rivaled in any other part of town. It’s also swarming with drunk men in suits falling over their feet to talk with the next beautiful woman who walks through the swinging front doors.

How lucky to be one of those women.

“I am a bit short,” I laugh, really I’m tall, exceptionally tall, though that’s not to what I refer, “Perhaps just one more drink, Patrick? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, does it not.”

I wiggle while I speak and poke him gently in the chest. He grabs my hand and kisses it, “Anything for you my dear.”

The poor man waddles to the bar he’s so soaked in alcohol. Though he’s not the only one – it seems most of the men, at this time of night, are completely out of their minds with liquor. It makes me rather sad to think that it may only be a drunk man who could take me for a beautiful woman.

While Patrick waits at the bar I glance around at a few of the other tables. Several women have made their way to kissing their potentials. A few have got up and left, hurriedly, leaving their counterpart behind. Those lonely men sit dejectedly at their tables spinning whiskey in their glasses.

Patrick returns, quicker than I expected, and places my Horny Bull (tequilla and orange juice) in front of me. He must have seen how all the other couples are getting along much faster than us, because he takes the opportunity to gently pass over and squeeze one of my breasts. It’s lucky for him that I see it, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to feign surprise and interest.

“I liked that too.” He slurs slightly, then takes a drink from his bourbon. “You’re right, going away for a moment and now I want nothing more than to be close to you.”

He leans forward to kiss me, but I move just in time. His lips merely graze my cheek.

Straightening immediately, his eyes roam over my features uncertainly.

I back away. “I’m sorry. I have to go.”

Grabbing my Horny Bull I drink it down in one gulp, pick up my Coach purse, and nearly run out the door.

Patrick stares dumbfounded at the swinging door.

He’d be even more dumbfounded if he’d found out my name is Denis. Note for next time: shave.

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My head hurt, my back ached, and my tongue felt like it had been run over by the Magic Carpet from Aladdin.

The smells of rotting fish and gasoline no longer permeated the air.  Instead a fresh scent – one I’d never smelt before – crept through my nostrils, cooling them. The sounds of car horns and tires on pavement were also gone. In their place lived the sound the breeze makes in The Endless Summer.

This was heaven.


I had opened my eyes to white. Not clouds, like in All Dogs Go To Heaven. But pure whiteness. The whiteness blended together. I could not tell the difference between what I lay on and what surrounded me.

As I took in the whiteness, I began to hear a faint humming sound coming from all around me. As I listened longer, the sound grew in both volume and tempo.

I smiled.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic took over the space I lay in. In my head I sang along. The song’s volume continued to grow and grow.

When the song finished the humming cut completely.

A bell tolled in the distance three times.

My memory surged to my childhood. At the age of six, my brother and I sat mesmerized by the movie Fantasia: near the end while the souls of hell are consumed during their Night on Bald Mountain, a bell tolls the coming of the morning. The bell ringing now was the same bell, I was sure of it.

Suddenly, a man with giant wings, just like in the movie Legion, moved toward me.

I opened my mouth to speak, but he gently laid out a hand atop my head, forcing my silence. He placed two fingers against his lips, kissing them, then placed them upon my forehead.

A lazy chill made it’s way down my spine. My eyes never left the man. A smile formed on his ridged face. The edges of his lips crinkled, as though he were older than old.

“Are you an angel?” I asked stupidly, my voice completely silent.

He nodded in response. He smiled more at my suddenly wide eyes.

Then he burst into flames. I jumped in shock. Attempting to pull away and yet still stare at the angel as he burned, completely consumed by the flames. My body dripped with fear.

The ashes floated to the white floor. My stomach jolted as though I’d just gone over the big drop on a roller coaster. As I fell, the white faded to blue. The blue to green. Green to brown. Until I hit the ground in a now pitch black world.

Drums sounded from all over. I tried to shout but no words escaped. Only a scream, comparable to the one in Psycho, found it’s way from my throat. I clasped my hands across my mouth. More screams jolted across the air. A baby cried in the distance.

The dark closed in around me as the sounds grew louder and louder. My hands moved from my mouth to my ears. I closed my eyes to shut it all out.

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