Zen and the Art of Unliving

From Evernote:

Zen and the Art of Unliving

It is Friday night at the Sloop, a mix between a bar and a cafe, a local hangout for the tragically hip. ??Perhaps for the sake of irony, the Sloop had no decor really associated with nautical paraphernalia, except the singing fish hanging above the entrance. ??A shadow crossed the door and it creaked as it swung open. ??Short haired, scraggly beard and glasses approached me with a hand extended. ??

"I’m Leonard. ??Sorry, " he paused, "I don’t know why I’m always late these days. ??You must be Molly."

I return to my seat, suddenly noticing a nervousness fluttering in my stomach and rising to a lump in my throat. ??Perhaps it was just some bug I caught.

He continues to gaze at me for a few moments before taking his seat. ??"Can I get you something to drink?" ??

He laughed a throaty laugh. ??I cleared my throat and agreed. He slid his chair back, taking his dirty fingernails off the table, and sauntered toward the man behind the counter. ??I could hear his throaty laugh cut through in the din as he exchanged pleasantries with the bartender. ??When Leonard returned, he pushed an opened bottle toward me. ??He took a swig from his mug. ??"You’re a quiet one. ??Or maybe you’re shy. ??At least you’re a pretty one to look at."

I felt my cheeks heat. ??"Well, ahem, Leonard what do you do for a living?"

He smirked, "Oh, ah, your a lady with priorities. Well, honey, I’m doing a bit of temp construction work on the side. ??I don’t know how long that will last though. ??I won’t be much of a meal ticket unfortunately."

Some alcohol glistened on his coarse beard and the hairs seemed to crawl on his face. ??

"What about hobbies? ??You must have time for some of that?"??

"Well I’m a mean chef. I can cook a fine borsht any day. ??Have you had dinner yet?" ??He looked hungry. ??He wiped some dribble from his mouth with the back of his hand.

"No, not really. ??I guess I shouldn’t be drinking on an empty stomach." ??I set down my empty bottle. ??I could not remember drinking it.

"Let’s ditch this joint and go back to my place. ??I will make you a dinner for winners." ??He grinned his coffee stained teeth. ??He scratched his beard and squirming bits peppered the table.

He extended his hand to help me stand. ??I stare a moment at his dirty fingernails and noticed that he was missing his pinky finger. ??How did I miss that when we shook? ??Something was oozing from the end of his pinky stump.

He switched hands apologetically, "I lost it in an accident. ??How are you feeling? ??You don’t look well."

We stagger arm in arm to the lot outside. ??There was a single street lamp reaching to illuminate his old truck. ??He pulled the door open for me and slammed it after me. ??In the dim light beyond the glass pane, I thought I saw something shaped like a hand on the ground. ??After what seemed like ages, the drivers door opened and Leonard clambered in cursing to himself.

"Seems I’ve lost my arm." ??

I look at Leonard in the shallow light. ??He looked like death. ?? I pat him on the shoulder, "It’s alright Leonard, we all have those days."

"Who’s Leonard?" He glared at me, half of his lower lip drooped revealing his teeth.

I fumbled to find the door latch. ??Finally releasing the door, I scrambled out tripping over his arm.

"Wait don’t go, Molly," He cried frantically, "Have dinner with me. ??I’m still here yet. I promised you a dinner."

I pick myself off the ground and back away from his ancient truck.

"What? I’m too ripe for you?" His voice was rough but hurt, "Who are you to judge? ??I can see the maggots under your skin. ??They just haven’t burst yet!"

??I took my maggots and ran.


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