Smudge of Me

by Angelika Moncher
Smudge of Me

“I looked right at him. His blistered fingers wrapped themselves upon a slip of paper blotted with ink. Waves crashed against the bridge’s wavering bodice as my glazed eyes stared at his unnerving smile.”

Right then and there I wanted to take him by the hair and throttle him full force off that bridge. Wind would dance in his hair before grabbing mine and pulling it to my eyes. Oh the cries he’d gargle out. Oh the shouts I’d exclaim upon him.

“You idiot!” I’d shriek over the bridge’s rim. He’d fall mortified, but only after he’d get in on that last rattling laugh. Those numbers still nestled in his hands. Water upon friend, more like cement upon fire.

I flinched and snapped away those thoughts. The salty air stung and ate its way into my eyes. The moon was already too bright for them. I looked right at him. His blistered fingers wrapped themselves upon a slip of paper blotted with ink. Waves crashed against the bridge’s wavering bodice as my glazed eyes stared at his unnerving smile.

“I did for you pal.” He beamed. His sharp teeth, white like the moon, showed through.

“Bartholomew,” I wheezed, “Why?” My forehead creasing as my head made its way towards the sky, “Why?” Searching for an answer in the stars.

“Frederic, don’t worry, they’ll never find us out. You’ll win it. Just take it. Just follow me.”

But I didn’t. I just ran.

He didn’t even call after me.

Came back home empty handed, but the piano still hadn’t shed its last croak. Playing and playing and playing does the piano go. It all started weeks ago, when the new neighbors came in. Those nimble fingers jammed upon those keys, the sound muffled by the walls. It sounded like the hollering of a hostage with their mouth all crammed up in cloth. I stared at the walls, tickets, worn and new, had densely swarmed and glued their bodies to cold cement walls. All of them a fluorescent yellow already smudged with black. Failed numbers, failed doors, all closed. But their music, oh sweet music, played muffled and choked way in the back.

Found limp in a hotel room, Bartholomew smelled of cigarettes. Hours just before that, witnesses swore they heard gun shots crackle through the air. Even children are told not to pass around those plastic little bags Bartholomew! The piano stopped its playing because of you. Those fiery red cardinals kept singing through. Their voices shrilling high up in the stars, ignoring me and you.

He had already his will played out though. I got the numbers and his favorite ferocious Ferrari. It roared red like blood that stained his carpet.

“I didn’t see her, I swear” I muttered more to myself than near bystanders. A hit and run. The blood was hidden perfectly on the front. That didn’t fool not me, not them, not anyone. Rain started to hit the ground, tap dancing upon the smudge of me that they kept dancing upon. Is it all okay? If the drain just drains me all away?

I got the numbers. The trials next month.

It starts today. I stop in front of the glowing alabaster shop. I look at the numbers, piano keys frolicking in my head. Dancing and dancing do the drops of rain go. I look at the numbers, and back at the red stained sheet that you held so dear that night. I look at the numbers and realize that I won! Millions and millions and millions. The lottery you rigged all for me! For me God dammit, for me! I clasped my eyes shut till they burned. They wanted to rain about the smudge of me, finish off what the you had all started. I crumpled the numbers back in to my pocket. My eyes opened wide just to see them stare right back at me. All locked doors opened, with their music spilling out, drowning out my fears. In the midst of it all I failed to notice the moon, that was already too bright for my closing eyes. I had drowned in music.

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