Donald Townsend via Creative Commons

Ah, there you are. Come on, sit down. Sure, anywhere is fine. Shoo the cat if you need to; that’s it, just move that stack of papers. Not sure why I hang on to all that old stuff anyway. Pardon the dust, we don’t get many visitors here. Tea? Biscuit? Water? No?

Now. Then. Let’s see it.

Mercy, where are my manners? Forgive me, I’ve waited so long… Please.

Oop! Careful there. Yes. Unwrap it slowly. I know it feels solid and sturdy, but it’s surprisingly delicate.


Oh, there I go. I’m dreadfully sorry. I—

For heaven’s sake, I’m such a mess. Excuse me, it’s just a handkerchief I need, please give me a moment.

All right. Do pardon me. I hadn’t expected to be so overcome. But it is beautiful, isn’t it? I haven’t seen it in so long. Such… a long… time.

Well, that’s quite a question! Might as well ask my age, mightn’t you? Never mind when.

What’s that now? A reward?

Ho ho ho. Yes. Haruum. I think we can find something… suitable.

Give me one moment.

Ha! Found it.

Oh no. Don’t try to run. The door is locked, I’m afraid.


Hold still.

Roads At Night: Passing Lane
Bart via Creative Commons

Your face reflects, partially transparent against the passing streaks of streetlights, as if you were hovering just outside the car. The song plays with a beat that could be the rhythmic rumbling of tires over regularly spaced joints in the bridge, the lyrics morose and incomprehensible yet somehow you apply enough meaning to them that they become personal.

Beyond the bay, the city sins in its determined fashion, letting serious crimes go unpunished while minor travesties scandalize. Ideally, you could cry to complete the scene, even just a teardrop or two to reflect the sequins of night and make stars on your cheekbones, as temporary as your tattoos.

Your wardrobe suggests bigger plans than you have. The life inside your head is more meaningful than the macabre reality of banal work and forced frivolity with people you purposefully keep at a particular distance. You pick up the lyrics and sing along, watching your superimposed self like a music video and you think, I would make a good superstar because I am both attractive and yet relatable. These days, talent is optional, though yours is more than sufficient.

Wishing for a bathroom break or stop for gas, you sing on.