The Deal Love Has Shown Me


September 20, 1997

The clouds that covered the sky were thin and soupy in bruise purples and wolf’s fur gray, moving so it looked like there were dark, serious mountains slowly parading across the moon. Now and then they obstructed it completely, then let it peak out between their valleys, then stretched out in tendrils so it shone bright and round, revealing the cover as smoke.

“Blow your smoke away from me,” Vanessa was saying to Ken.

Charlotte turned away from up to look at her sister and her – what? boyfriend? – on the curb, alongside the long, burgundy old convertible, its driver-side open. Ken was leaning up on the top of the open door, its window down, pulling on a dark black cigarette while Vanessa, arms crossed, looked annoyed, like she wished she had something in her hand to look at and distract her.

Ken closed his eyes to swallow the smoke, then exhaled slowly. Calmly, he explained, “I can’t control which way the wind blows.”

“You know it’s bad, that’s why you don’t do it in your car.”

“That isn’t logically sound,” said Ken, still fluidly serene. He smoked a little again, then said, “Nobody is allowed to eat in my car either, and I don’t, because I don’t want the upholstery to be stained. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in eating, or secretly believe that feeding myself is a sin.”

Vanessa frowned with the left side of her mouth. “Whatever.”

“I don’t let anyone who wants to willy-nilly fuck inside my car. Do you think that belies my secret shameful hate for the procreative act of our species?” Continue reading