She Appeared Unto Him

by Stefanie Freele

Waiting for the tug, the location of the next woman, he trembled on the bed with the dog at his side, her head dropping off the edge. The window exposed white, snowy sky, immoveable as if also waiting with him to graciously accept his role.

He already knew to prepare with fresh tattoos and a shaved head; the scars itched on his stomach. The new one needed some sort of bad guy; he didnít have a handle on it yet. Only a vague vision in his forehead revealed a brunette squelching out a cigarette with her heel, looking up to catch his eye as she blew smoke from her sorrowful mouth.

He dropped down for pushups until his chest collapsed on the floor and his lips pressed on the dusty carpet.

This last one wanted an aging artistic hippie, but one with a dangerous past. So he arrived as a sculptor with warrants.

One desired an unmotivated intellectual to prod; he donned glasses and carried Proust. The girl before needed a father figure; he obtained a conservative suit and developed a responsible yet non-judgmental attitude.

The dog tilted her head, the black patch hiding one eye, and seemed to tell him, they arenít yours to keep. He gazed back at the dog; the dog rested her head on his arm, sighing. He tapped her nose.

He toyed with the dogís ear, while waiting for a clear message. It came foggily, in the form of the brunette, who would be turning the corner on 7th and Melody at 4:47pm. She would swing her purse, and inhale the city air, fresh compared to the motel room where she just spent a lousy 15 minutes for only eighty bucks. Sheíd be smoking her cigarette while praying for the right man to come along and save her.

He nudged the sleepy dog. “Itís time.”

On the way, he practiced a rough face, as if life and bar fights left his lips permanently embittered.

 


Stefanie Freele is the 2008 Kathy Fish Fellowship Writer-In-Residence for SmokeLong Quarterly. She has a MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts: Whidbey Writers Workshop. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glimmer Train, American Literary Review, Talking River, Literary Mama, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Frigg, Hobart, Cezanne's Carrot, and Contrary. She has recently joined the editorial staff of SmokeLong Quarterly. Her story, "The Long Fragment Preceding Sufficient Expiation," appeared in issue 13 of The Cafe Irreal. A previous version of "She Appeared Unto Him" appeared in the print magazine The Ides of Sandpoint in 2006.