A friend mentioned he thought my Drops were getting a bit predictable, so I figured I’d rewrite the last one and take it somewhere different. Click here for a comparison, and let me know what you think of this second version.
‘Where d’you want your drink?’
‘Oh, wherever, Don,’ she says, bouncing from bed back to dresser. ‘Jesus. Just put it down and help me choose. We’re running out of time!’
She’s a whirlwind of muscle and tanned, smooth skin in tiny pink underwear. She’s worn her heels for what seems like hours: indiscreet YSL numbers, all strap and suggestion.
The bed is flush with dresses, skirts and tops that haven’t made the grade; other castaways lay crumpled on the floor.
‘What about that blue one?” I ask.
‘Remember where we’re going, darling. I couldn’t show up in a drab old rag like that— Christ!’ She looks at her phone. ‘We have to leave. We’re late.’
‘We have a few minutes.’
‘I still have to do my make up, and hello! I’m still standing here in lingerie.’
‘What about that polka dot one?’
‘That’s a summer dress, sweetheart. Nothing season appropriate here. Half my wardrobe’s still in Geneva—and look at you, all dressed already, shiny shoes and all!’
‘Just had to shave and step into my suit.’
‘Dashing. You’ll kill tonight, I’m sure.’
‘As will you, no doubt.’
‘I should hope so, or we’ll have a problem.’
She looks great exactly like this, feverishly dancing all that skin around the room. I wish, as I’ve done often lately, we could take a break, stay in and just be alone together as a couple, without always having to go out and play these roles.
She slips into a gray skirt, then a maroon blouse, looking in the mirror, one foot forward, tilting her head. ‘God, why is everything so wrinkled? It’s unacceptable!’
She’s out of both in a second, now yanks an olive green dress off a hanger. She veers one lithe leg curtly into it, and then the other, like an aggressive gymnast.
‘That’s a winner,’ I say.
‘Seriously?’ She strips more pointedly still, kicking the dress away. ‘Come on, Don. Why are you settling? I need you to be on form tonight. To stand strong beside me. There’s plenty at stake.’
She stares at me for a silent second, then sits on the bed, palms in eye sockets, glaring blindly up at an invisible God.
‘This is ridiculous!’ she says, standing back up. ‘Nothing fits. Nothing works. I feel like an idiot.’
‘How about the jumpsuit?’ I say, scratching my old shoulder wound, which has started to itch.
‘The cream jumpsuit.’
‘The jumpsuit! Of course!’
She’s into the dresser headfirst, like a vulture into carcass, emerging triumphant and climbing right in.
‘No wrinkles,’ I say, smiling. ‘And it matches the fall foliage.’
‘I think you’re right,’ she says, passing a final test in the mirror.
She looks incredible: a woman that can do any man’s task. She’s too good to be my partner, really, but I am not allowed to think that way.
‘I did it, honey,’ she says sarcastically. ‘I found something to wear tonight! Let’s celebrate—oh, where’s that drink?’
I hand it to her. The three ice cubes have only shrunk six or seven percent.
‘Oh Campari soda, you ruby jewel, you bitter bitch, come to me.’ She grabs it greedily. ‘How I need you now!’
She takes a small sip, speaking again as she does: ‘thank god for this jumpsuit. Can’t believe it was the only thing that would get the job done! Literally the only thing I could possibly wear tonight.’
She smiles that preposterously alluring smile, her first in an hour, then takes a bigger gulp, not quite connecting with her mouth, but gaining back control with ease. ‘This is one well mixed drink, Don,’ she says, almost finishing it.
‘I try,’ I say. ‘Stirred; never shitty.’
‘Time check,’ she says, all business, and I tell her: ‘twelve of eight.’
‘Good. Alert The Fat Man that we’re a go.’ She yanks the weapons drawer open and grabs her customized pocket pistol with silencer, slipping it into her Hermes purse. ‘I’ll do my makeup in the chopper.’
I make the call, then pick up my trusty Glock.
‘I doubt we’ll need them,’ she says, admiring herself one last time in the mirror, adjusting her bangs. ‘If I do it right, it will seem like a heart attack, and we’ll be long gone already, but better to be prepared.’
‘Yes.’ We won’t need them, I’m sure. In the sixteen jobs we’ve done together, she’s never come close to making a mistake. ‘Better to be prepared.’
By E.M. Vireo