Art, Fiction, Short Stories
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The Dreamers

She smoked Marlboro Reds. That was the first thing he wrote about her.

“Got a light?” she asked.

Mike lit a match and held it to her cigarette. She took a slow puff.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

Serena. You always come to this bar?”

The place had brick walls and a wooden floor. They sat at the counter. Around them men played darts and pool. Classic rock blared from the speakers.

My first time.” Mike wore a gray hoodie with the word EVERLAST printed on the front. He had greasy hair and a handsome face. “So what brings you here?” he asked.

“I don’t know who I am,” she said. She’d make a perfect blonde, he thought, but she reminded him of a brunette.

“I think you’re lost,” he said. “Good thing you met me.

The bartender, a bald man in his 40s, leaned over the counter. “What are you two daydreamers having?” he asked.

“She’ll have a rum and coke, on the rocks,” Mike said.

“It’s assumed that it comes with ice,” the bartender said.

“Right,” Mike said. “I’ll have a Heineken.”

The bartender walked away.

“You read my mind,” Serena said, as she took a another puff. She blew a ring in Mike’s face and smiled.

An hour passed as the two drank and chatted. She started to tell Mike about her job but her words passed through Mike as he stared at her legs and face. She had an elfish face and thin frame. He ordered another drink for Serena and told her she was beautiful.

It was cold and raining as the two stumbled out of the bar. Mike’s arm was around her, and both were laughing as the rain slapped their heads. He now had on a sports jacket and a crisp pink button up with navy blue jeans. He wore black boots.

“I’ve always wanted you,” she whispered, stumbling down the sidewalk towards a taxi.

 “You’re drunk,” he said.
She opened the back door of the car and fell forward. As Serena leaned over, Mike could see the trace lines of her thong through her satin dress. Mike helped her get in and sat next to her in the back of the cab.
“Where to?” the driver asked.
“East 71st,” Serena said.

Upper East Side it is,” the driver said as he hit the gas.

Mike and Serena held hands as the cab drove down the streets of Manhatten. Rain splashed against the windows around them as they passed Times Square. Mike couldn’t peel his eyes away from the flashing signs. He was a aspiring writer from Ohio. Fresh out of college and with just enough loan money to spare, he decided to take a trip of a lifetime and see the Big Apple. It was all one big dream.

“You know, I’m pretty horny when I’m drunk,” Serena stuttered.

“I’m not that kind of guy,” Mike said.

She lay her head in his lap and sighed, her hand reaching underneath his socks. She pulled at his leg hair. “Will you at least tell me a story?” she asked, holding back her tears.

“I’m afraid I’m lost in one already,” he said, stroking her hair behind her ear.

“Say, you two look kind of famous,” the driver said as he gazed at their reflection in the rear-view mirror.

Serena lifted her head up and leaned in between the front seats. “Who do I look like?” she asked, fixing her hair.

“Audrey Hepburn.”

“I was hoping you’d say Jackie Kennedy.” Serena leaned forward and wiggled her ass in front of Mike.

“Oh yes,” the driver said. “She was a beautiful woman. But your eyes, they’re so wide. They could make a man want to change his ways. You’re definitely Audrey.”

“That’s very poetic,” Mike said. His eyes traced their way around Serena‘s outline. He thought the image could’ve made a Hollywood poster. She wore a little black Givenchy dress and sported a beehive. As Mike finished the photograph in his head, Serena smiled at him. She was Audrey Hepburn.

“So who do you think my friend looks like?” Audrey asked, sitting back down in her seat.

“Him? Why I’d say he was the spitting image of Clive Owen.”

Mike looked in the mirror and saw the reflection of Ernest Hemingway. “You know, Owen once played a great part in a film called Hemingway and Gellhorn.”

Audrey and the driver shrugged. “Why, I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen it,” she said. “In fact, I’m absolutely positive I never have.”

The cab pulled in front of the brownstone apartment complex. “Well, here’s your stop,” the driver said. “Home sweet home, as Dorothy would say. That’ll be fifteen bucks.”

Hemingway reached into his back pocket but felt nothing. “My wallet’s gone.”

Audrey put her hand under in his back pocket. “It really is gone,” she said as she pinched him.

Just then, a man knocked on the window. Hemingway rolled it down. “Yes?”

The man wore a gray hoodie with the word EVERLAST printed on the front. He handed Hemingway a twenty dollar bill. “From one dreamer to the next, may one of use wake up,” the man said.

Audrey squeezed Hemingway’s hand. “See, this was meant to be.”

The man walked off, his hands in his pockets, whistling “Moon River.”

“That’ll be twenty dollars,” the driver said.

“I thought you said it was fifteen,” Hemingway said.

The driver grabbed the bill out of Hemingway’s hand. “Gotta make a living, Mr. Owen. I tell ya though, she’s a pretty gal you got there.”

Hemingway and Audrey got of the cab. The driver sped off. The rain snapped as it hit the concrete around them. The two stood in front of the steps to the apartment, drenched, staring into each others’ eyes. In the distance, a song played on an accordion, which reminded him of a film he had once seen.

“You going to take me upstairs, sailor?” Audrey asked.

“It’s getting late,” Hemingway said.

“But I insist,” she whispered in his ear. She kissed him and just as she pulled his hand between her legs an orange cat fell from the sky and made a squish sound as it hit the street.

“Oh, cat!” she said, her hands around her face.

A pool of blood spread around the flattened piece of fur. Hemingway closed his eyes and hugged her.

“How old are you?” Serena asked.

“Twenty-two,” Mike said.

The place had brick walls and a wooden floor. They sat at the counter. Around them men played darts and pool. Classic rock blared from the speakers.

Mike wore a gray hoodie with the word EVERLAST printed on the front. He had greasy hair and a handsome face. The only thing he knew about Serena was that she was a blonde, pretending to be a brunette. That and she was drinking a rum and coke. She took a sip and smiled at him.

The bartender leaned over the counter. “That’ll be fifteen bucks. I gave you a free drink on account of your girlfriend.”

“We’re not together,” Serena said.

“Either way, you’re an honest beauty,” the bartender said.

Mike reached in his back pocket for his wallet. It was gone. “I must have left my wallet at home,” he said.

The bartender grabbed Mike’s hand. “One of you two’s gotta pay up.”

A man sitting next to Mike slipped a twenty dollar bill to the bartender. “Keep the change,” he said. He smoked Marlboro Reds. That was the first thing Mike noticed about him.

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