This is something that popped into my head after a phone conversation this morning. I need to finish it but would rather let y'all see some of what I've written so far and then come back to it when I have a bit more energy. Right now it is nap time.
Stan still remembered the first time he saw her. Through the years, the pungent smoke, the booze, the brain damage, the occasional bouts of insanity and the general directive he instilled in himself to forget the worst parts of his life, that moment still shone through. He considered it a beacon from the lighthouse perched upon the rocky coast of his life. As the waves of misfortune and his foolish choices pulled him out to sea and then threw him back against the rough shore, she was there, his only female friend. The understanding she silently radiated, the concern for those she loved, and a joie de vivre that could inspire any artist to create a masterpiece made him ever grateful she was a part of his life.
Monique's almond shaped eyes had the slightest upward tilt, sometimes hiding the upper part of the beautiful cafe au lait rings that were her irises. Her mouth contrasted against against her high cheekbones and Eurasian eyes, the smallest frown could be perceived in her normal expression if one did not know her. Even though her ancestry was a mixture of Black and White her lips were thin but always held the potential for a mischievous grin and her hair was relatively straight. Unlike the models in magazines that looked to be constructed from chopsticks and sinew, Monique had graceful curves. Long legs led to wide hips, her thin waist then narrowed to a small chest that would be fitting on a more petite woman but did not detract from her allure. The tattoos on her upper arms had turned into keloidal scars, slightly raised, and the artwork had blended with the discoloration so it appeared as if she had been branded. The expertly manicured nails she kept perfectly painted adorned the long pianist's fingers she used to play saxophone. Nearly six feet tall, she had almost four inches of height on Stan and seemed to tower above him when she wore heels. Her height led many men to ogle her longer than they should, she noticed these leers and countered with aggressive disdain apparent on her face. Thanks to her genetics and boundless personal energy her thirty years looked like twenty.
Stan had fallen hard for Monique. As they came to know each other a bitter seed of regret slowly germinated within his chest. Quietly he sat on the sidelines, watching her choose men that could not fathom her brilliance and occasional but brief sparks of mania. Nor could her chosen beaus relate to the furrows of depression into which she sometimes fell suddenly but gradually had to pull herself out. Sure that his own failings would prevent anything from ever happening between them, Stan resigned himself to loneliness and had recently started considering an imported wife. Other women had never shown much interest in Stan, at least not women he also found attractive. Pedantry was his main vernacular and he used it like a mobster wields an ice pick, jabbing holes into his perceived enemies until they bled out and finally left the conversation. He found himself repeatedly sabotaging dates by falling into this habit of attacking with knowledge when silence was more appopriate.
Shorter than average, his extreme slenderness led some to believe he was younger than his age. A hollow chest and the hours in front of the monitor made Stan slouch like a disappointed child. At twenty-eight years old his appearance was closer to an urchin than his peers, his flaxen hair was usually unstyled and his clothes were cheap and ragged. The small jutting chin, full pink lips, narrow jaw, and thin nose were set into his wide and prominent cheeks all of which were topped by his "fivehead." The sharp features and broad expansive face framed his round, bright, seafoam green eyes which held a mirthful quality not often seen outside of juvenile delinquents. His voice was thick and his North Carolina accent made people underestimate his intelligence. Stan enjoyed quickly and thoroughly disabusing those he encountered of that notion, he had surely earned his reputation as an asshole.
The concert was only four hours away. Today was his twenty-eighth birthday and Monique was going to meet him at the Chinese place near the venue before the show started. The night's musical performance was certainly outside what most of their peers enjoyed. The booking was for a progressive bluegrass band featuring the best banjo player Stan had ever heard. The banjo prodigy was accompanied by various other musicians whose instruments were more apropos to a world music group than traditional bluegrass, one of the artists played the Chinese dulcimer and had a didgeridoo behind her on stage for the occasional blast of sound in their more upbeat songs. It was a unique sound that he was sure they would both revel in.
Stan showered then set up his shaving accoutrements around the sink. The badger fur brush and stand on the left side of the faucet, his Merkur open combed razor on the right. Made from quality Solingen steel, the razor had belonged to his father who had been a barber before multiple sclerosis rendered the man crippled and blind. After fetching a red rag from the linen closet he filled the sink with steaming water. The mirror was too fogged to shave yet so he filled the sink and dropped the washcloth in to warm. Stan wrapped a towel around his waist and went into his bedroom, taking small, quick steps to keep the towel secured.
After popping his pipe tobacco jar open he probed through the ribbon cut English blend leaf to find the plastic bag underneath. The aromas of molasses and soil wafted to his nostrils and tickled his sinuses with a slightly spicy sting. Pinched between his right hand's index and middle fingers he slowly took the bag of pungent buds from the bottom of the ceramic vessel so as not to spill tobacco all over the bookshelf. His left hand covered the top of the container such that it almost appeared as if he were pulling the bag from a drug mule's rectum, it emerged between the cleft formed between his left hand's thumb and index finger. Stan thought of cannabis as the panacea for his general malaise, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. The desert's lack of humidity had turned the once soft, springy feeling reefer into dry and sticky dust once the flower had been ground in the four stage contraption he purchased a little while back. He then sprinkled the pot into the tube injector's slot and filled the rest with pipe tobacco. While he tamped the tobacco and ganja down the thin man hummed to himself. He tried to fit a cigarette paper tube to the nozzle, ruining it by trying to slide it forward too quickly. Two more ruined paper cylinders later he finally made his left handed cigarette in one pulling motion. He tapped the bottom of the filter repeatedly against his bookshelf and then twisted the paper at the foot of his smoke so nothing fell out. The spliff finally constructed, Stan set it on his dresser and hurried back to the bathroom.
The mirror had finally cleared up enough to shave by and the water had cooled so that it was no longer steaming but still warm enough to open his pores. Stan pulled the red rag from the water and folded it in half, the cloth now a red triangle. He pulled the two ends of the hypotenuse up to his ears resembling an Old West outlaw with a bandana over his mouth. Thirty seconds later he removed the warm, wet rag from his face and tossed it toward the splash guard where his sink abutted the wall. The pink skin of his pale face shone through the dirty blond stubble. Pushing the razor's comb against his skin so that it was slightly taut, Stan then angled the blade toward his face and slowly drew the razor from the top of his ear down to the bottom of his jaw. Rinse, repeat, scrape, the razor's slight rustling sound traveled through his jawbone as each whisker was harvested from his face like wheat harvested in the Fall. At last Stan completed the bothersome and time consuming chore of shaving. Only two cuts near his Adam's apple oozed blood. Stan ran cold water over the rag and again looked like an outlaw for thirty seconds. A splash of spicy after shave his grandmother had given him for Christmas stung his face.
The nicest comfortable clothes Stan had were a pair of straight cut Levi's and a black dress shirt that was a size too large. He quickly pulled the jeans over his thin legs and let the shirt drape around his shoulders unbuttoned. He grabbed the jay he made earlier and held it between his lips while he searched for
An authentic Cantonese restaurant, the owners were from Hong Kong. The Chinglish