Saturday, May 13, 2017

and then he said

That evening, I was perched on the edge of my chair, tapping away on Tanya's keyboard, ignoring his presence on purpose. I was avoiding any attempt to appear attractive. I could have been wearing a lampshade, for all I cared. And he probably felt much the same. 

Out of curiosity, and for the sake of politeness, I inquired shyly if he had a favorite word. There was a bit of a cynical spark of acuity to him. 

And then he said --

However, in decent circles like this, you see, I can't repeat what he said. It was an off-color phrase consisting of 10 cryptic syllables, muttered in ironic iambic pentameter. 

What? -- I asked, unsure if i had heard him correctly --

And then he said it again.

It was a clap of thunder mixed with the honking of a flock of geese returning to their nests.  It was the musty scent of the soil after the snow has melted. It was the pungent and tender new needles on the tips of the spruce branches. It was the brash defiance of a man who had spent the bulk of his life with the chill of an Arctic wind nipping at his up-turned collar. It was the mother-tongue. 

I giggled. 

I don't know how he did it, it must have been a secret of his trade unknown to outsiders, a singular talent, like the ability to defuse a bomb. It was the sort of obscenity that might have distracted Amaterasu from her grief long enough to crack open the cave door. 

I had not expected him to be so dangerously funny. 

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