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Author Topic: Strange Attractor  (Read 612 times)

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Offline Vargr1Topic starter

Strange Attractor
« on: November 04, 2013, 09:36:53 PM »

"So, do you play?"

I looked up and saw her staring at me. She had draped herself over the guitar after finishing her song, waiting for me to answer.

"Hey," she said, "I'm up here," pointing to her eyes and grinning.

I had actually been looking at the guitar, admiring it.  This wasn't an I-picked-up-something-cheap-on-a-whim. It was older, used, well maintained. It certainly sounded good.

"I used too," I answered. "I haven't for a while. Life changes and makes it so you can't do all the things you want. It's a Seagull, isn't it? Mine's hanging back in my apartment." I felt my mouth smile. Her grin was infectious.

She sat back and pulled the guitar into her, her fingers plucking the strings a few times in a seemingly random manner while she contemplated twisting a tuner. The dark wood of the guitar reflected in her eyes for a moment. I'd seen eyes that color before, once. She brushed her hair out of the way with a flick of her thin, strong wrist. The tuner remained unchanged.

"Yep. Got it in used in Toronto a while back. Still rock solid," she said while reaching down for her beer. "Know what I think?" The bottle had been sitting next to her open case, a few bills and a handful of change were scattered over the battered red felt. The bar we were at was a cheap one down the road from the college. It catered to broke students and those who ran with them.  It was a cheap beer, and she finished the last couple of swallows.


"You need to buy me a beer." She handed me the empty bottle and went back to playing. Her voice penetrating the gabble of the crowd as I made my way to the bar. "You, your so far away, never coming home..."

Jack looked over at me as I stepped to the bar. I waved to the bartender, pointed to the empty bottle then, held up two fingers. He nodded.

"Like what you saw?" asked Jack, leaning back, elbows on the bar behind him.

"Yeah. It's the same model I have, just a darker wood. The one Erica gave me."  It had been hanging on the wall for years, now. Unplayed, yet I had keep it with me. A touchstone to a simpler time. The bartender plonked the beers in front of me and walked away.

"I'm not talking about the guitar," he snorted. "You taking her home?"

"No." I shot him an irritated look. "She's not my type." That sounded weak even to me. I turned to make my way back to the corner stage.

"Yeah," he said to my back. "We'll see."

"...You, one step at a time, never in a rush..." she sang.

I followed her voice through the crowd.


Offline Vargr1Topic starter

Re: Strange Attractor
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2013, 10:14:00 PM »

"Milkshake, um... vanilla. Shot of vodka, please." She handed the menu back to the waiter.

"And you?" the waiter asked, turning towards me.

"Just coffee. Black." He walked off, leaving us practically alone in the diner. I checked my watch. 2am. Well, I didn't have anything to do the next day. Nothing important, anyway.

"Not many people wear those," she said and taking a sip of her water. Her eyes were half-closed, but I could tell she was staring at me between her lids.


"Your watch. Everyone has one of these, you know." She wiggled her cellphone at me. It was a tiny thing, one of those old flip-phones like I had back in the early part of the century. "Watches are for squares. Or people who are just being pretentious.  What is it? A Rolex?"

"No, it's a Timex. From the 60s. Got it from my father." I waggled my wrist at her, so she could see it. "Not even a battery. I don't do pretentious."

"But you do take girls out for drinks when you just met them, don't you"

"Not often, no. Less often that Jack thinks I do, at any rate. Actually, I just wanted to get in good with your guitar." Her guitar sat in the chair next to her, in a battered case that could have been black, or brown, or maybe even blue when it was new. It was covered with stickers of states and cities. "You get a decal from Saint Louis, yet?"

"Not yet, first time I've been here. Haven't seen anything more than the bar, the hostel I'm staying at, and this place." A milkshake appeared in front of her. The glass twinkling with condensate.  She grinned and plunged a straw through the whipped cream and into the shake proper.  Then she took a slow, deep taste of it. A warm "mmmmm" escaped from around her straw. "You should try this." She slid the tall glass across the formica at me.  I pushed it back, untasted.

"Had it before. Thanks, no. I'm driving, remember?"

"Loosen up. Just a sip." Again, the shake made its way towards me. I gently, yet firmly pushed it back, smiling at her.

She looked at me across the fluffy mound of cream. "You don't compromise." I glanced out the windows and watched the neon lights flash across a couple of cars driving by. Reflections from the puddles of rain added to the colorful air.

"Not unless I have to." The coffee was hot and rich and extra black. The smell washed the vodka/ice cream aroma away. She tilted her head to the side a fraction. I looked at her through the steam of coffee. "When are you leaving?"

"Trying to get rid of me that quickly? Already decided I'm not your type?" Her smile became a deviant grin wrapped around her straw.

"I just wanted to know how long I have to show you around the city. Can't find the good parts without a native guide." The coffee at this place wasn't the best in town, but it was always tasted the same. There's something about consistency.

"Making assumptions now, are you?" She drummed on the table with her thumbs and sang, "Well you took me to the movies, you took me to the dance. You took me to your warehouse tied up in the back of your van."

"I don't dance," I said and took another sip of the coffee.

Her eyes opened wide. "Why am I not surprised?" She held her shake up and raised her voice. "Can I get this to go?"


Offline Vargr1Topic starter

Re: Strange Attractor
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2013, 07:09:43 PM »

"I live in reflection of a dream..." The melody drifted into my ears as I regained consciousness.

I've always hated the buzz of modern alarm clocks. The last thing I need is to be kicked out of my sleep by a screech that could wake the dead. So, I always wake to music, started low, then growing louder until I turn it off.  I reached my arm out of the covers and pushed the off button. I didn't even need to open my eyes for that.

The music kept playing.

I opened one eye, staring death at the alarm clock. It wasn't on. The music wasn't coming from it. It was coming from behind me, with a texture and richness that the clock's anemic speaker couldn't produce.  I slowly rolled over and opened the other eye.

"Does she still remember times like these..." The music stopped. She looked at me with those shining eyes and grinned. "Good morning, sleepyhead," she said. "How you feeling?"

She was sitting lotus-style on the other half of the bed, the paleness of her skin complimented by the dark wood of my guitar cradled in her arms. Probably the first time it had been off the wall since Jack and I moved into this apartment. "I dusted it off and tuned it. It looked like it needed some lovin'. Feels like it hadn't been played for years. Shame, really.  Why did you stop?"

How do you explain something like that to someone like her? I don't think you can put it in any terms that someone of her type could understand. I croaked out an answer, anyway. "Life changes. Things happen." Really? That's the best I could do? Well, how was I to explain how my creativity just and left me. Sometimes, I think I miss it. Other times, I realize the cost to get it back.

"Gotta have a better reason than that. Here, you play." She pushed the guitar at me, holding it in her delicate hands. The dark wood looked better than it had in a long time, but maybe that was because I hadn't really looked at it in a while. It reminded me of things gone, and things I could never have.

"Right. You realize I'm still half asleep?"  A yawn took over my face for a moment. "See?"

She tinkered out a couple of chords then started to play again. "Fine. Just lay there, sleepyhead." Her voice filled the room. I closed my eyes and let her sing to me. Just to me...

"So," she said while the last notes faded. "Who is she?"

"Who?" I sat up, fighting the sudden urge to climb out of bed and escape her interrogation.

"The girl who gave you this, of course." She patted the guitar. "There's gotta be such a story in there."

"Coffee first, then we talk. I have a caffeine dependency that needs tro be fulfilled."  I rolled out of bed, and headed to the shower. "Afterwards, what say we have a little fun?"