Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Paradise Lost

Category: Issue 13

Elizabeth left the gaming table fifty-three thousand dollars down. How long had it been since she slept? Stiff tendrils fell, frozen bare branches, from the wilted French twist that once played her fancy hair-do. She stank. Oh god the smell of her – sweat and cocoanut and pineapple and Beyond Paradise - when had she last showered? Her velvet dress, black, fitted, stuck to Elizabeth’s thighs. Those same thighs that some hours before had been drenched. Robert’s slovenly exit tripped the waitress, knocking the tray out of her hands. It flew up in a spiral, twirling, slowly arcing, and finally splatting with sharp crystal clacks and ice in Elizabeth’s face.  Sugar sweet boat drinks soaked the black velvet and ran cold between her legs, to where panties would have sopped some of the mess, if they hadn’t ruined the sleek lines on her torso. The drinks welled under her bottom and Elizabeth rolled the dice. “Lucky Sevens!…shit.” The croupier slid her chips off the table.

          “Take this. It’s worth a mint.” Elizabeth said as she toyed with the clasp at her neck, struggling with the safety catch. Finally free, the necklace fell into her cupped hand. Elizabeth ran her gaze over the matched string of black pearls before handing them to the man behind the banker’s cage. Robert’s mother had loaned them to her new daughter in law. “The more you wear them, the more luminous they get. Keep them on you. I want to see the luster!”

Robert wouldn’t mind.

The liquids evaporated over time, the sweetness stickied, and Elizabeth played, stoically losing. She’d sell the house in Long Island.

“You’ve reached your limit, Miss.”

Elizabeth grasped for her clutch, slid from the stool and wandered outside. The subdued lights of the casino broke away to the garish yellows and pinks of Bahamian clapboard buildings, sun faded, paint chipped, dirt-smudged corners, sparkling mid-day sunlight so bright in her eyes that she blinked.

Robert wouldn’t mind. Robert wouldn’t mind at all.

Posted by stretch on 12/23 at 12:53 PM | Permalink
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