April 1, 2009

Surrounded by Water
Meg Pokrass

"We live in a state surrounded by water," I'm saying to nobody in particular mixing an Amaretto sour.

"And most people never go to the beach," he finishes, as if he were my oldest friend.

Working in this bar for a while, making pretty good money, I'm still thinking one day I'll see him and know his face when he sits down.

"Did you want extra sour?" I ask.

"Perfect," he says, flipping his thick black bangs. "And when you catch a little break, you want to join me?" he asks.

"I don't sit with customers," I say. I always say.

Lou Anderson, deep into the regular shouts, "she's too fucking important, she's a dancer."

"Nope," I say to black hair amaretto. "I'm just a nurse."

He smiles with tight closed lips, salutes. We look at each other for a sec.

His phone rings, the James Bond jingle. I giggle, then stop—his face whitening like a bleach stain.

"Hello... Hello, hello, hello?"

"Wrong guy," he says into the deep, deep phone, "fuck-off, jerk-wipe,"

"Pardon my French," he tells an invisible person sitting next to him, throws his fancy phone into the trash can, our trash can—rimming it, near the register.

"So, you're a real live dancer?" he asks me as though I'm a black phone too, smashing his fist on the hard wood counter.

I look through my eyelids to check who's around. If maybe Tim, the bouncer, sees. Tim's moving toward us in slow-mo, there's enough in my peripheral to breathe now, though I pee a little in my pants anyway. The other guys, my regulars, sit very still, sucking their skinny straws like air.


Meg Pokrass lives in San Francisco. Her stories and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming here: 3AM, Keyhole, Pindeldyboz, Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Elimae, FRiGG, Word Riot, DOGZPLOT, 971 Menu, Thieves Jargon, Eclectica, Insolent Rudder, Chanterelle's Notebook, Toasted Cheese, 34th Parallel, Bent Pin Quarterly, The Orange Room, among others. Meg has recently joined the editorial staff of SmokeLong Quarterly.

No comments: