The moon ghosted above the ancient coal breaker. Odd figures walked the streets, surreptitiously passing small plastic bags to each other just beyond the illumination of the streetlamps and the lights of Andy’s house.
Bluebird did not call before she arrived. She parked her car in the front of the drive and clattered down the way to the door in dark purple yoga pants, faux-designer boots and a short-sleeved T and a windbreaker. She knocked on the door and waited trepidatiously as a mexican eyed her up from the leftern lot. Momentarily, Andy opened the door.
“Hi there. You’re Lyla, right?”
“That’s me. And you’re Andy, we’ve met once before.”
“Yeah, you stopped by work to give Harmon a sandwich or something.”
“Speaking of – is he here?”
“Yeah. Come in. Let me take your coat.”
She slipped out of her puffy, oversized windbreaker and held it under her right arm as she stepped inside to behold a small little living room covered over with stained leaf colored shag and unadorned walls of pale beige. To the immediate left of the door, a old television sat pressed against the wall, blaring a sitcom, before it a ratty couch upon which lounged a middle aged woman who was dressed as someone fifteen years her junior.
“This is Marla. Marla, this is Lyla.”
“Hi.” Marla intoned without much interest as she fished out a gummie bear from a crinkling plastic bag upon her lap, eyes fixed on the flashing box before her. The box squawked, ”
Andy turned away from the couch-bound woman and pointed to the stairs which let up to the right.
“He’s upstairs. Door to the right.”
When she reached the upper floor landing she paused and listened for him. She knew his footfalls well. He was pacing restlessly. She entered and found him languidly smoking by the window, gazing out towards the coal breaker.
He turned slowly. The light of welcome absent from his keen green eyes.
She moved forth and slowly draped her arms against his immobile form. He reciprocated the gesture and then offered her a cigarette which she swiftly accepted. They stood smoking menthols, looking out the window at the gang members hocking opioids on the corner.
“So whats new?”
“Oh, not much. You know how it is.”
“I do indeed.”
“So what happened? With Richard?”
“He called me a liar and I told him I wasn’t and he threw me out.”
“What? Really? That’s what you two are fighting about?”
“No. I’m not fighting anything. Ain’t worth fighting with people that don’t care about you.”
“That wasn’t directed at me was it?”
“Why would you assume it was?”
“I know I haven’t been around much,” she took a long drag and shook her head as she exhaled into the pane, “But I’ve been busy.”
“Prepping for the gala – the next one, that is.”
“Oh, didn’t I tell you?”
“Oh, sorry. Yeah, I um, I – the last one was really successful.”
“I know. I was there.”
“Are you mad?”
“Yeah. But not with you.”
“I kept thinking. Bout hurting him. Over and over again. Stomping down on his shiny little head until it popped like an overfilled water balloon.”
“I don’t think that would be the best way to handle it.”
“No. But it’d be a way.”