Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fiction: Boys and Their Toys

(borne from an in-class activity yesterday) person object adjective verb man remote sharp fondle a pleasant surprise what can happen sometimes, when you take the coaching you're giving your students: The remote was pink, smaller than his cell phone, and incredibly discrete. He fondled it in his pocket, gently feeling the button and the lever. He pulled it out and palmed it. Across the room, buzzing with the bubbly conversation of cocktail party talk, Sophia had a vodka rocks in one hand and was talking animatedly with an older balding gentleman who kept staring at her cleavage, and his wife. Malcom still couldn't tell yet whether she was sincerely listening or just being polite--she had this polite streak that he found both naive and endearing--but her eyes were wide open and she was smiling at the man. She was wearing that black silk sheath he liked so much, the dress she'd worn on their second date. That night he'd noticed that in a stiff breeze he could make out her nipples through the fabric, it was so thin and light. No such luck tonight: he couldn't even make out her panty line, and the things had looked rather cumbersome. He was impressed. He took a sip of bourbon and looked down at the remote in his hand. On, Off, Vibrate, Swirl, it read, analogous to different buttons and switches. He threw the power lever with his thumb and watched her as he tapped the vibrate button. Sophia had chosen that unfortunate moment to take a drink from her glass, and she started with a twitch that momentarily buckled her knees and caused her to gasp into her glass. She narrowly avoided spilling down the front of her dress, but looking down to consider herself, she could see vodka beading on the sharp toes of her shoes. "Are you alright dear?" Malcom heard the bald man's wife ask Sophia. "Oh yes, of course," she responded. "It was just a shiver, it certainly is cold in here." The older woman's eyelids fluttered and one hand clutched at the busy red and purple scarf she was wearing, held around her neck by a gold brooch in the shape of a flame. "Yes, it is, I was just saying to George it was like a meat locker in this room, wasn't I dear?" She nudged her husband, who momentarily broke his gaze at Sophia's decolletage and glanced at his wife. "Right right, a meat locker." Sophia took another drink from her glass and looked across the space of the gallery. A jazz trio played unobtrusively and a little off key in the far corner nearest to the windows, and cater waiters in black slithered between the guests like hors-oeuvres-bearing ninjas. One zoomed through her field of vision, revealing the back of a black suit. The jacket hung well on the shoulders, and was fitted through the back for a modern cut. The legs were planted wide, one foot supporting most of the body weight, the other foot turned a bit out, revealing a gleaming black leather shoe. The wearer of the suit stood in front of a sculpture made of driftwood, plastic refuse and rubber tire, but Sophia could tell by the bend in his neck, that he was examining an object in his hand, and not the artwork before him. She braced for another pulse between her legs and cleared her throat. Malcom turned his head and could feel her gaze on him like a hand on his shoulders. He turned to face her fully now, smiling like a four-year-old who's just found his favorite new toy; and indeed, he had. He eyed the remote in his hand and pressed firmly on the button. "So, Sophia, what have you heard about this newest show? Sensation or flop?" The man's voice slithered lasciviously around her, and if she'd been listening at all, she would have found him incredibly offensive. Instead she was concentrating on not crying out, biting her lower lip and bracing herself with one hand against the bar where they stood. "I'm sorry, I've no idea. Would you excuse me?" she begged breathlessly and stalked as calmly as she could to the man in the black suit near the sculpture. He's since slipped the remote back into his pocket and was now eyeing the sculpture in mock curiosity. She stood beside him in silence for a few moments, then said, her voice just two shades above a whisper,"I thought we were saving that for dinner later." "Yes, that is what we discussed, isn't it?" "So what are you trying to do to me?" "I'm sorry, I got bored. All these pretentious arty types make me uncomfortable. One guy actually asked me if I'd perceived the strong menstrual undertone in the artist's painting's what the hell does that even mean?" She sighed and looked at his profile. He was lucky that he was pretty. "It means related to her period." Malcom snorted and took a big gulp of bourbon. "Disgusting." He turned to look at her now. "Besides, I guess I just wanted to see you jump a little." "You're a pig," she said. "Yes." "And you can't always get what you want. Those two may be pretentious and dull, but last year they bought eighty thousand dollars worth of art, and that was on their first go. I'm working tonight, okay? Think you can entertain yourself without doing too much damage to my body or my career?" "I suppose." "Can I trust you? Or do I need to take the remote from you?" He pulled the pink rectangle from his pocket and flipped the lever to off. "Satisfied?" "Not yet. But I expect you'll be up to the challenge later." She turned on her heel and returned to the couple, gesturing at the painting in front of them, leaving Malcom to watch her walk away.

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