Tuesday 1/02/2007 12:20:00 AM

Rending the books from their cardboard captors I gave my cigarette a second glance. Tucked the beer bottle neatly into my tits. I had just finished the one written by the suicide. A tome of a comedy. Of fact rather than errors. And I knew there would've been a sequel. He had planned for one. Long before the posthumous Pulitzer. Before the overdose had made him a success.

Some men are failures all their lives. And only geniuses once they're dead. Or maybe it's all men. And most women.

Peeling the stickers from the edges of the jewel boxes I wondered why it had to be so difficult just to hear a song. A rage or two to diffuse my malcontent. Had I ever liked popular music. Manilow. Sinatra? Or had I merely been overwhelmed by the people I'd drooled over. Measuring the nightmares required to grant me access to the one that dreams won't soon forget.

There was promise in his fancy socks. In his wallet. As if age could make an exception. And actually grant wisdom normally reserved for the prophets. I thought a lot about the heated seats as we waited for the light to change on our way to Friday's. I thought about how he'd initially greeted me. Boasting of an expensive car high on his list of criteria for a complimentary blow job.

It was the question of the day. How I had to prove I could get everything I never wanted to have. How persuasion had nothing to do with status. And everything to do with dignity. How much of it I was willing to risk.

We played blackjack with our clothes. Panties corroding skin. We played the lottery with our happiness. Scratching off so many useless tickets.

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