The Town: Part 3

“I don’t know, Jac’n… she… she smells like the forest.”

“She looks like a horse gal.”

“Oh, yeah. She loves ‘em.”

“So when’s this wedding happening again?”

“Spring.”

“Hmph… I still can’t believe you married a girl.

“Is that right?”

“I don’t mean it to be sideways, Zackhy, but I… I find it real unfair with only a handful of us living in this town, you get to pick the prettiest one.”

“That fella Carter isn’t half bad lookin.”

“I said I ain’t being sideways, Zackhy.”

“Well, neither am I.”

“Hm….”

“I swear!”

“That makes it worse than, Zackhy.”

“Cry all you want, my Evgee is mine, ever since I saw her. Me and E.”

“Well… does she got any friends?”

“If she did, you would know them by now.”

“Hmph… so, this ‘fella Carter.’ What’s he all about?”

“Well… I was being sideways, Jac’n. He’s an old friend of mine—not that I’ve known him long. He’s just old.”

“I’m never getting my hopes up again… Skies above me, I’m desperate. Every night, I can hear echoes of my sobbing self bounce off the edge of the earth. Do you know what that can do to a man, Z? I can’t live like this much longer… if things don’t change soon… I might lock myself up in my room and hope I die.”

“I hear you, and I feel for you, but there’s nothing to be done. It’s you, me, E, and twelve others, with only two of those twelve not being some stuck-up guard type.”

“That female guard is quite nice on the eyes.”

“There are five women guards, Jac’n. All of them are old.”

“So what? I’ll be offing myself soon anyway! I’ll have them all.”

“That one creature—the one with blue eyes and those wavy curls—that thing might be your type.”

“Oh, that… gal… fella… human… thing. What is that thing anyway?”

“Ha! You’re sideways.”

“What? Am I the only one who doesn’t know what that hot thing is?”

“Probably neither… seems quite flat all around.”

“You’ve got a girl, chief. Should you be saying stuff like that?”

“I’m loyal to E. I’m just talking.”

“Fair. So should I ask her?”

“Her?”

“The… the neither-thing.”

“Oh, right. I guess. Unless it’s taken. You should probably ask what it is first before you promise anything. Might be something kinda—”

Sideways, I know. Skies above me, why are you so keen on that subject?”

“I like making you mad. See, your face is getting red… if you admitted it I would stop saying it so much.”

“Say it as much as you like. It’ll give me another reason to end it.”

“Why’s that?”

“… I’ll kill you.”

“Ha! So you do remember!”

“What?”

“Oh, you’re quite the… interactive drunk, Jac’n.”

“Desperate drunk.”

“No… you’re desperate without any alcohol. You admitted that yourself. But when you have something in your system—well—it’s hard to keep your hands off of people. Especially me.”

“You shouldn’t have told me that.”

“Yeah… why’s that?”

“Because I can ruin you and Ms. Forest-Horse Gal and tell her you’re sideways.”

“She wouldn’t believe you. Besides… I’m not. You, though, I don’t know. Maybe diagonal-ways for you, Jac’n.”

“Fair. In any case, tell me more about your gal.”

……

 

To her feet ran millions of gold threads from her tiny head, flush against pallid, chalky skin. Like anyone in the town, she had two eyes: one eye a solid green; the other a dense brown. It was the charm and utter magnitude of her naked feelings that made her such an extraordinary spectacle; the way she was able to wink with sea-like tranquility and yet still grip the blessed individual with a perceptive, earthy-brown sort of captivity was what made her the top 6% of the town—with only she and she alone.

Alone.

That was what she would describe herself as.

It was not because of this unconsented ranking, rather it pertained to her own self judgment. She knew all that had ever walked in this town, and knew enough of the animals to fill a few notebooks. Even the man she had a slight interest in—the phrase “until the sun stopped their hearts” made her want to slit her own throat, however, and was merely a disgusting assumption by the narrator—had become another passing creature, another experience she would file in the part of her brain she wish she could burn, another animal to scribble onto a notebook.

Yes.

Zackhy meant as much to her as heaven meant to the damned.

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