Playing dead [pt.I]













They, Mikhail and Noé, are fooling around on the couch. It is huge and black and leather and ideal for fooling around because soft and free of any sharp edges upon which eyes could be gouged or teeth broken. She’s only wearing a light green spaghetti-strapped tank top with a couple of yellow stars above the spot where her heart beats. For some reason this doesn’t look tacky. Plus then also Noé, in her early twenties, an avid runner with a spine-grade affection for modern French philosophy [though she makes her living doing double duty at both a tiny, local bookstore and as a photolab serf], with an easy smile planted among broad, enchanting features, long, limbering limbs, this Noé backs up the tank top with identically green undies.

Their appartment’s thermostat is crappy enough that this is her standard clothing, so that whenever someone rings the buzzer it will take quite some time for the door to pop open [the appt has a weird sub-pressurization so that the door always flies open with the pop of opening a cracker pack]. Mikhail, 5 years older, used to work as an assistant curator at the prefectural museum for indefinite history but one and a half-years ago he won 423’ 001 $hilling in the lottery and has decided to take some time off. He is splitting 90% of his time between chess, calligraphy, bike riding, sleeping and on a few occasions getting up on different neighborhood roof tops to shoot paintballs at unwitting pedestrians. If Noé happens to be around to give him hell he replies

–       What do you want from me? I won the goddamn lottery, I can have a little fun.

–       I would like you to show a little decency Mikhail. Shit.

The lovely Noé states categorically that she wants none of his money and she really doesn’t. Her father is a rich, abusive prick whom she doesn’t even call for X-Mas or B-Days and she would rather shit her own heart out than ever be financially dependent on anybody ever again. Mikhail couldn’t give a flying fuck. Deep down he thinks that if worst comes to worst, he’ll always have to fend for himself; he likes Noé, he thinks that he’s even pretty damn close to falling in love with her but she’s still hNoén, as is he himself.

Right now though the beautiful lady and the skinny, short guy are messing around on the couch. Noé has him in a headlock and Mikhail is struggling pretty badly to get out of it, though the sounds both of them are making are still those of good, clean fun. Noé knows that she is stronger than him and could probably keep him in this position indefinitely but then he would be a pest for the rest of the evening and challenge her to all types of idiotic games. So eventually she lets go.

–       Ha! A little exhausted, are we? Now for my backwards driving power-arch suplex!

Mikhail exclaims as he undwinds from under her arm, pretending to do so under his own power. He gets his arms under both of her shoulders and stands up and lets himself fall back onto the gigantic, plush leather couch in a spinning motion that sends reluctantly collaborative Noé sprawling across it.

She lies there, motionless, playing dead. Her fiancée smirks: he knew she would do this, they both knew it would come to this eventually. Noé playing dead.

–       Ah, lovely, finally I get to do whatever I like.

Mikhail declares, turning her over and arranging her arms straight along her sides. He briefly puts his ear to her mouth and she holds her breath.

–       Yep: dead, cold as ice. Sleeping with the fishes. I thought I would never see the day. Thank you Lord Jesus, thanx.

She holds back a smile. This time she will win, no matter what.


About tmabona

writer, reader [bolano, DW, bellow, deLillo], runner, badmintoneer
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