When N carries her in, she has a sagging trash bag duct tapped around her bottom half. Her top half is delicate and soft everywhere but her eyes. N puts her down and lets out a breath.
“This is V.”
V didn’t smile. She began fingering her way through the miscellaneous-crap bowl we keep in the center of the table. She then lit a cigarette and began ashing into the bowl.
N came over to the fridge next to where I stood chopping vegetables.
“What is with the bag?” I whisper.
“She’s a mermaid. And, she has fantastic hearing.” He winks. I look around him and glance at V, glowering at the end of her cigarette. She turns, I look away.
“You have shit for beer.” N decides. “I’m going to go get something decent from the shop, need anything?”
I shake my head. He turns to V. She stays silent but holds up her pack of Parliaments and shakes it to show how few cigarettes remain.
“Got it,” N says and departs. There is silence in all but the soft crackle that proceeded the twin puffs of smoke that seep out from two slits under each ear. I turn and smile. She raises an eyebrow. I notice a series of black spikes sticking out from the top of her shirt.
“What is that?” I ask.
She responds by pulling down her shirt and displaying the top half of a massive tattoo.
“What is it?”
The Hyena stares at me. One side of its face is all scrunched up as though it’s chewing on something. Probably her nipple I think. Suddenly I can’t stop thinking about her nipples. And now she is looking at me as though she knows I’m thinking about her nipples. God dammit stop thinking about her nipples.
The Hyena winks at me from the cusp of her neck-line before she finally lets go, returning it to black spikes.
“So, how did you meet N?” I ask, shakily.
“At my wedding.”
“Oh, you’re married?”
“Where is your husband?”
“I do not know.”
“Oh, are you divorced?”
“No, I hate him.”
“Huh,” I say, still trying avoid the nipple thought as it chases my tongue around my mouth.
“What are you doing up here, you know, out of the water?”
She fingers the duct tape holding the trash bag in place. “I am avoiding my husband.”
“Oh? Why are you doing that?” I ask. I stop cutting vegetables out of curiosity and take a swig of my “shit” beer.
“Because he wants to divorce me.”
“So, why don’t you divorce him?”
“I want him to suffer,” she says, lighting her last cigarette. The smoke coming from under her ears make it look as though her hair is on fire. She responds to my frown.
“He wants to re-marry, but I will not divorce him so he cannot marry, so he will suffer.”
“How lovely.” I say. She nods. N reenters the kitchen like a sitcom character, on queue. He drops a bag of beer down on the table. He tosses a pack of Parliaments to V. He looks at me and the beer I’m drinking.
“Pour that out.”
He cracks open a “better” beer and puts it in my hand.
“Ah shit.” He says, looking down at the floor, it is soaking wet. We both look up at V. She is beginning to turn pale and yet, lights another cigarette.