I'd like to warn everyone who's just eaten lunch that reading the rest of this post might be best saved for later. Kristen requested that I write more fiction, which is something I've been meaning to do for a while. Normally I write something and immediately send it to the round file. But I'm fighting hard against this urge and am forcing myself to post this stuff, whether I like it or not.
I want to check my nails, but it's not polite. I can feel the grime. I can hear the dirt grinding between the flesh and the quick. But I can't look, I can't even try to surreptitiously ablate the gritty mess on the leg of my pants. All eyes on my nails, except mine. Ten tiny little sandboxes, filled with the accumulated corruption of a long day.
What if they are clean? What if they are dazzling porcelain armor over healthy pink skin, the cuticle a neat fleshy half-moon where nail meets man? I'd admire their glory in the warm sunset of a sodium bulb. I'd raise them, palm facing out, until they level my chin. Under the supervision of hooded eyes, I'd press the pads of my fingers into my palm, hiding the sparkling perfection from my face for just a second as I turned my wrist so they once again bathed my face in their irreproachable glow. Raised to mouth, slow hot breath, buffed on soft shirt.
But I doubt the fantasy. Each nail is hot under an alien stare, but acknowledging this fact with even a quick glance would invite disaster. It must be dirt. It must be grime. It must be the most putrid black sludge ever seen outside an oil refinery. From underneath my nails exudes the effluvium of the ages. To believe otherwise is a folly and a sham, but to check is forbidden.
Posted on June 16, 2003 03:39 PM