“I want to do a thing,” N says as we walk, scarves tight, cigarettes cupped against the wind.
“You want to do a thing?”
“What sort of thing?”
“A thing, thing.”
“A thing, thing.” I think about it.
“Like an interesting thing?”
“Yeah, we always do the same things,” he says.
“So, what should we do?”
N shrugs. We walk on, slowly, looking around. N stops.
“I’ve got something!” he says.
“Yes, a thing. This way.”
I follow. We go down a few alleys and find ourselves standing in front of a shop window.
“You want to buy a wedding dress?” I ask, eyeing the mannequins.
He shakes his head. “This isn’t a shop. This is the house of frozen brides.”
It looks like a shop, I think.
“It looks like a shop,” I tell him.
“No, this is what happens in Russia when a woman is left at the altar. She turns into a statue and they carry her here. To wait.”
“Wait for what?”
“For a man to come and kiss her.”
I frown at the closest bride. “Bit sexist, don’t you think?”
N shrugs. “Maybe they shouldn’t have tried to marry dirt-bags.”
“Dirt-bags,” he says it again, “dirt-bags, I like that term.”
“What if the husband just died or something, like, on his way to the wedding?” I ask.
N sighs, “you’d be the worst to watch a movie with,” he mutters.
“Okay, fine, so what is the thing?”
“Kiss one,” N says, smirking.
“Yeah, let’s go in and kiss one.”
“Like, the same one?”
He shakes his head. “No, no, you kiss one then I kiss one.”
“We run,” he says, and without waiting for my response, he goes in through the glass doors. I follow. It is bigger inside than I thought. The frozen bride army stretches back at least fifty meters, all lined up and silent. It’s creepy.
“Okay, let’s just do this and go,” I whisper. N nods. He approaches one of the brides.
“On three,” he says. I find the closest bride. Her face is smooth and plastic.
“Man, these are mannequins,” I tell him.
“No harm then,” he says, then without pausing, “one…two…three…”
I kiss my bride. It is dusty and cold. I step back. Nothing.
I turn to N.
But, N isn’t looking at me. He stares ahead. I sigh and look back at the brides, who are of course, moving.
“Huh,” N muses, “now isn’t that something.”
“Well, shit,” I mutter.
To be continued…