by Adrian Fort
We met in a bank.
Sure that we knew each other, you and I. You smiled and I tucked my chin. Your thin legs were naked under a yellow sun dress and the way you clasped your hands behind your back made you stoop just a little. You looked nervous, clucking around like that.
"The feathers never fell so softly," I said. I pointed at the second teller and smiled back.
The way you looked at me, scared not confused, I knew you knew me. I sat my briefcase in front of the first teller as you walked to the second.
"I need to make a withdrawal."
"Is this where you save?" the first teller smiled.
"All of it," I smiled, my chest puffed. Opened the briefcase. "Bullets reach about five-hundred degrees. The worst part of being shot is molten metal tearing right through you, Love."
The way they always blush before their eyes widen, they turn stiff and sudden like a spider, that's how you can tell they know before they understand. The funniest part is how upright they stand after that part, proud to be a taller target. But the one in front of you is never the one you have to worry about. It's the others you have to watch.
I knew that but you didn't. So you stood there like them, tall and sweaty. Not sure where to look, what to do.
And we didn't know each other, you and I.
But everyone in the bank? They knew we knew each other.
Your teller pulled the alarm and I shot him.
So when the brief case was full and I ran, you ran too. When we were leaving I saw the woman I was supposed to know. She wasn't as pretty and I shot her.
This was my kiss-off job. Nice knowing you, thanks for your soul, lay the eggs and kick the nest. That job.
It was supposed to be.
You closed the passenger door and looked at me, the police cars playing our song in crescendo, your eyes five-shot Americano, your lips caramel latte. They dipped and soared, plucking my kiss-off and you said-
"de omnibus dubitandum"
I was driving faster than our song was coming. You listened harder, but we were flying. It was gone and the day was bleeding out.
You put your left hand in mine and reached your right out the window, grabbed the day's windpipe and squeezed to be merciful. The way a good sniper is merciful. You killed for me like I'd killed for you.
"I do," you said.
"I do," I said.
The sun turned stiff and bled pale and when the sky put on its funeral jacket the sun became our honeymoon. Where the city kisses the country, that's where you poured a glass of you for each of us. When I was plenty drunk you grabbed the wheel then a little of you, sweet and potent, poured on us both. I was still the speed, still the go, but you were the direction. You couldn't have known I was an angry drunk before you poured. And the more I drank, the faster we went. So fast I didn't notice where we were going.
Not until I heard our song playing in crescendo.
"Your wings will catch fire."
"The sun was the first cliché."
"There's grandeur in this view of life."
"Let the weakest die."
Flashing lights, red and blue, crawling toward what I've done. Flashing lights, dead and true, follied under the horizon.
I pressed the pedal and you cocked the wheel and we spun fast enough for the tires to flutter but we never took flight. Just spun all the way around until the car regurgitated and died. Red and blue growing larger. The car roared back to life, but we weren't going anywhere.
Our phoenix facing the flickering false-sun that rose in the distance, I popped the driver's door, you popped the passenger door, our wings were spread and wide. I popped the hood and our phoenix screamed into the rising dawn.
From each other's mouths we learned ourselves, both of us so drunk, so soaked, we were 100 proof, but more clever still.
And now we know each other you and I. So we dance. To our song crawling louder, we dance. Our song plays grander still and when it reaches us we keep dancing, wings spread and wide, dripping a flammable type of devotion. The funniest part is how tall we stand.
Bullets reach about five-hundred degrees.
They're there, all of those thunderclouds, their boomsticks readied.
We don't ignite as much as we explode.
The feathers never fell so softly.