"But first, baby, as you climb and count the stairs (and they total the same), did you, sometime or somewhere, have a different idea?
Is this, baby, what you were born to feel, and do, and be?"

-Kenneth Fearing

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Noir Sestina


Noir Sestina

The smoke from her cigarette followed her curves

and I didn’t blame it. But a dame like that is always

almost more trouble than she’s worth. She spoke in whispers

to see if I’d lean in closer. Then cue the waterworks.

Sure, she’s hiding something, or she wouldn’t be here.

She’d be talking to the cops. Just take the check.

A man who doesn’t notice her should be checked

for a pulse. Quite a story, but full of detours. She curves

around the truth like it was a tree in the road. Here,

take my handkerchief. Stop the sobbing. “Always

assume the worst.” I tell her. “That way if nothing works

You won’t be disappointed.” There are whispers

in the street about her and Robbie Chambers. Whispers

that she not only knows what happened, but gets a check

out of it. Lot of money, enough for fur coats, cars, the works.

But something went wrong. Somebody threw a curve

when they were supposed to throw a fastball. They always

do. That’s why the cops can’t help. That’s why I’m here.

I call her on it. I say don’t start the crying, I’ve had it up to here

with the grieving widow bit. That’s when she whispers

an offer we haven’t discussed, then says “Stay with me, always

I don’t know why, but I trust you.” Problem is, I’ve never had to check

my pulse, it doesn’t go much faster. Next thing I know the curve

of her back is wrapped up in my sheets, I’m thinking, this won’t work.

Her story’s still got more holes in it than her husband did. Work

it out, what happened? Maybe Chambers can tell me, since I’m here

already and his main thug just shortened the learning curve

by walking into several bullets. Chambers denies, whispers

“Please. please believe me. She can have the check

I just wanted my cut.” Maybe so, but Chambers was always

clumsy, until he tripped into an elevator shaft. It’s always

something though, isn’t it? That’s why I’m careful. After all, work

stops coming in if you’re wearing a toe tag. She’s got the check.

cashed, and a gun pointed at the glass in my door. She’s here

alright, the money’s with her. Her perfume in the stairway still whispers

the way she came in. My hand cups the curve

of the doorknob and it turns like it always does. I know exactly why I’m here.

I pull the trigger, and of course it works. “Stay with me…,” she whispers

and she’s gone. I don’t need to check. What a damn waste of those curves.

1 comment:

  1. Ah,wonderful, i was caught up from the first sentence...