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The Trio of Lovely Girls

 

The trio of lovely girls stared into the sun because they won three pairs of sunglasses from a quartet of boys only thirty minutes before.

Had to rush to the roof using the terribly rickety iron staircase that clung to the side of the building like King Kong after the first round of bullets in the belly.

The sun the sun the glorious the light the bringer of the life the highest of symbols the warmth the love the weight of the soul in its shimmering.

-be careful, said the oldest.

The oldest was not the oldest by much but they were of the age where every month mattered and so when she said something it was taken very close to gospel.

-are you seeing spots?

-yes.

-no. Are both of you?

-yes.

-that means you need to wear glasses all the time, the second oldest and therefore second youngest teased.

-thatís stupid. Thatís not true. What else is supposed to happen?

The oldest doesnít answer. Never ask what youíre waiting for. Never admit that you donít know whatís going to happen. Playing it cool all the time. Itís not a mantra you have to chant in your bathroom mirror every morning. Itís more like a field of energy that spins every one of your particles in just such a way as you walk into the school, the mall, the park, the friendsí house, the shipping lanes.

The oldest found herself one night trying not to be nervous with the handful of others who dallied around the shipping lanes. The smoke in the distance. That strange patch of grass in the middle of the concrete with two decrepit picnic benches that were cold in the night. Talking about the best and the worst as a bottle with no label is passed by. At least it felt like a ritual. At least there was half a face you recognized most of the time, running through your eyes like something thankfully out of place. But you can hide confusion and boredom and even loathing for what you see one person doing to another but you canít hide fear and it was leaking out of the smooth and almost perfect save for one throbbing zit on the side of the nose face of hers.

Best not to think about it. Without thinking much about it she sanitized the tale when she told it to her friends now at her left and right.

She wouldnít leave them. She would try gingerly to drag them to the next level of people, places and things, but would abandon them midway if they could not keep up.

There had to be consequences.

The trio of lovely girls removed their sunglasses and walked back down the terribly rickety iron staircase.

The youngest asked if they should give back the sunglasses to the quartet of boys since they were done with them.

The second oldest and therefore second youngest insisted that there was no need, that agreements must be upheld, that without such rules then people would never learn, never take things seriously.

The oldest said nothing and thought more about the sun and how quickly it could all go wrong for all of them.

After walking through the building through near empty hallways the Trio of Lovely Girls walked out through the side door and sat on a steel bench under a poster advertising toothpaste that had been defaced and graffitied over so that it looked an airplane was sneezing out toothpaste through the broken windows of its cockpit.

There the trio of lovely girls told stories about the last few days in their lives which they were sure no one would ever believe.

But that is the folly of youth, which transmutates into the indifference of the adult and ends as the senility of the old.

One once was walking through a hospital because her brother was recovering from a car accident and saw a man chained to a radiator, giggling with glee, finally free of any burden or responsibility.

One picked up a recently flicked away cigarette off the ground and with the cherry still smoldering, extinguished it once and for all on her tongue.

One heard a cousin say they decided that they could find something much more interesting for the family dog to lick.

And finally one said she once held a real diamond in her hands that was the size of a tennis ball, because her mother once knew a man that smuggled them into the country through his hollow leg.

-I had it.

-no you didnít, the oldest dismissed.

This time the second oldest and therefore second youngest sticks up for the youngest.

-how do you know? Whyíd you say that?

-you would have told us right away.

And then the conversation ceased because in their lower hearts they felt one of those intrusions that came with a swell of swirling organs and strings.

The quartet of boys were approaching them, imagining that speed and flexing was enough to prove confidence and swagger.

The Trio of Lovely Girls stood in tandem, swore off blinking, wiggled their noses and firmed their buttocks, prepared for a battle to begin and end them all.

The boys stopped two metres away from the girls. Two parallel lines of people, the only people on earth as far as all seven of them were concerned.

-you tricked us, said the youngest boy.

-you tricked us with your charms.

-we have no charms, the second oldest and therefore second youngest girl replied.

-she does, the second oldest and third youngest boy stated, pointing his twisted finger at the oldest girl, she is using them right now to stop us.

-charms, the youngest boy croaked.

Eyes and ears searching for lies in the words, holding and rolling them with fake fingers for uncertainty and weakness.

-you donít know anything about my charms, the oldest girl said, taking a step forward.

-you are showing them off even now, the second oldest boy retorted, also taking a step forward.

-youíre wrong. My charms arenít here.

She looks up and puts on the sunglasses.

-my charms are trapped in the sun.

And the quartet of boys look up and forget they no longer have their own protection sitting on their noses and feel a burning that starts in their eyes but burns deeper in their ears because the sound of light can be worse than itís flash.

The words the words can you hear the words boys can you hear that ghostly drawl of the future that pines for the past youíll swear never existed but it did it did oh how it did and for so so long that youíll never believe it now all you see is your supposedly unassailable paternal ivory tower catching fire and tumbling down to the unfriendly and salt covered ground things are different now youíre sharing the cake and itís pretty clear that in any decently run society this would have happened long ago.

And the quartet of boys shiver and unlearn in the three seconds the sound takes to vibrate through the cranium and insert itself into a future memory synaptic nerve. Then itís gone like a hiss of smoke and the trio of lovely young girls are staring at the trio of boys who are trying in vain to recall just exactly what they lost and what else they lost.

-so what if I tricked you, the oldest girl said, taking advantage of their clear discombobulation, you are supposed to be fooled by tricks if you canít catch them.

-tricksÖ, the second youngest and third oldest boy echoed.

-besides, the second oldest and therefore second youngest girl added, suddenly emboldened, you gave us bad sunglasses.

-bad?

-she is blind, said the oldest, pointing to the youngest.

-no, was the still dazed and robotic retort, she isnít.

-yes she is.

-I am, the youngest offered, completely blind.

The quartet of boys tried to stare at each other and make some sort of unspoken agreement. An attempt to communicate a united front at a critical moment. But there was none and they receded like sheepish waves.

The Trio of Lovely Girls watched them go.

 

END

 

If you're gonna do wrong, you may as well do it right