A Work In Progress

That is certainly me, but it also happens to be this snippet of a story that is to follow.  I began it months ago, inspired by a close friend of mine.  It was for a literary mag, but I didn’t finish by the deadline.  It’s straight fiction, not even a hint of sex and I do plan to finish and sub it elsewhere.  Anyway, here’s a first scene teaser from Change for a Dollar:

There was something wild in Cleve’s eyes, something hungry and something familiar.  Eugenia recognized it like her ten year old housecoat, or like feeling for her glasses in the dark.

After twenty-three years, she just knew him.

It was Friday and pay day on top of that.  He was up an hour early and was on this second Red Bull.  She could almost see his heart beating through his shirt.

He burped Red Bull in the bathroom.  He hummed “The Wolfman” in the closet.

Who could be this excited for work?  Eugenia knew she wasn’t, and she actually liked her job.  She’d even go as far as to say love.

Cleve, however, drove a goddamned truck and wore shorts.  He still looked good in them, though.  Eugenia’s suits were getting tight.

It was pay day.  He was doing a little two step as he was putting on his clothes, even dabbed a little cologne on his collar bone.

Eugenia waited for the question, leaning against the door frame, arms folded.

Where the hell did he learn that from?

“You got a date?” She asked.

And she laughed, just to make the delivery lighter, she didn’t want or need any mess with him this early in the morning.

Cleve smiled and waved her off.  “Woman, please.  You know I like to smell good.”

And then he stole a kiss like he did every morning without fail.

He wasn’t coming straight home from work.  Eugenia knew that before he even said it. 

“You got any money in your pocket?” he asked without even looking at me.

“No,” Eugenia said, trying to pace the answer so it wasn’t too quick to be believable.  “Besides, you get paid today, don’t you?”

Hence the bathroom two-step.

“Yeah, but I need some cigarettes.”

Cleve never could figure the difference between a want and a need.  Eugenia thought about this as she picked up her own pack of menthols and lit the last one, quietly blowing smoke in his direction.

“Bum,” Eugena said.

“What?” said Cleve.

“Your guys smoke.  Almost all of ‘em, as a matter of fact.  Bum ‘til your check hits the bank.”

He didn’t even reply.  He just brushed past her and snatched his coat off the back of the recliner.

She wasn’t worried about his silent treatment.  He’d have to talk to her eventually, but as calm as Eugenia had taught herself to be over the years, something deep inside her wanted to take the cigarette from between her lips and stub it out on Cleve’s balding head.

Their youngest girl, Trina walked in the room, glancing curiously at her father as he walked out.  “Mama, I need lunch money,” she said.

Eugenia pointed to her purse lying open on the dresser.  If Cleve had bothered to even look that way, he would have seen it.

 “There’s a ten on the side there,” she said to Trina.  “Take that.”

And just then Cleve called from the kitchen.

“Eugenia, you ready to drop me off at work?”



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