Three Seconds Four

So amidst writing Seeds of Hate, I took a little break and wrote something short and completely unique. I submitted it to the San Diego Writers, Ink. organization and will find out in December if it gets selected to be published or not. The basis of this piece is a foundation for another book I want to write after I’m done with Part 1 and 2 of Seeds.

Again, it’s another dark piece. I can’t help it. It’s all I know to write. I don’t know why I operate this way, but it is what it is. I had a lot of help so my thanks goes out wholeheartedly for those peeps who helped me critique this piece. I’m quite proud of it and I hope you enjoy it too.

I would love to hear feedback. How it made you feel, what you thought it meant, the picture I painted. What you think of the title… Good, bad, beautiful, ugly. Share it with me. It’s how I learn.

Three Seconds Four
Walls of anger cry out, exposed once more to the rhythm of desire. Darkness encases me as lights flicker across the empty stage. One second, two seconds, three seconds, four. My fingers brush the midnight stitching of fabric unwashed. They trail down my naked flesh, along the valleys, over the hills and across my thighs. I reach the delicate bones at the base of my foundation. Securing the buckles into place I move forward, confident I won’t fall.
My lips part as the speakers drown out all conversation. The silence of words, an eerie calm. Breathing in, I taste the salted atmosphere – money saturated with an inkling of lust. Six more hours and exchanges will be made. Pockets pay for a moment of pleasure, leaving empty wallets and tightened trousers.
Pushing up and onto shaky ground, I feel bricks on my shoulders holding the weight of my choices. I settle in, check myself in the mirror, and wait for my cue.  One second, two seconds, three seconds, four.
Searching around, I look for me. The me who isn’t this. When I find her, I gently pick her up and slam her behind the door – the door to our soul. The long, heavy skeleton key inserts, my wrist creaks to the left and the bolt slides into place. I drop the key and smile. It’s easier this way. The me who isn’t this is not safe. She’s never safe outside.
Slowly, I shake the nerves from my fingertips and place my hand over my heart; willing it to swallow blood at a slower pace. I visualize the approaching atmosphere. My eyes flick open and squeeze shut. Flick open. Squeeze shut.
The image never changes. It never will.

In the corner, through the slit of red curtains, a man stands next to his world of buttons and knobs. With a flip of a finger, the music changes, the lights soften and the ceiling pulsates against the strain of hungry emotions.
That’s my cue. Our cue. Everyone’s cue. The herd moves forward as the curtain unveils. Our six-inch teeth unsheathe, biting hard into the floor. A family behind, we’re alone when beyond.
As we move out and into the wild I find my location – my home away from home. I look around and check on the herd. My body responds and I let the distasteful music wash over me, leaving behind dribbles of dirty water. The lights stream across my skin, illuminating the glitter. The dirty water takes spotlight, beckoning thirsty men to snatch a drink. One second, two seconds, three seconds, four.
The routine kicks in, my muscles guiding along a known path. Involuntarily, I lock eyes with the isolated souls. Two seconds here. Three seconds there. More than five with any one person – a sense of ownership is drawn.
A contract made.
Signed, sealed and delivered by a beautiful man in a black satin cloak. He says he has all the answers. He tells you he will provide. All you have to do is listen and everything will be alright. I’ve tasted his words. They go down like chocolate and digest like fire. One second, two seconds. I’m still exhaling smoke.
I bend down to the floor, my fingers graze the tips of painted toes. Pulling back up, I brush a trail of need. It follows the arrows of want, lingering here and there. I sell myself piece by piece. Finalizing each individual transaction with a crumpled scrap of green paper.
The music shifts and the atmosphere thickens, it’s time for my close-up. I sway down the steps and on to the sticky floor. One second, two seconds, three followed by four. Small tables cluster my surroundings. Chair legs sound the alarm as they grind backward against the floor, dinner is here.
Appetites empty and ready to be filled, shifting in their seats they make ready fork and knife. Here comes the cutting. As flesh to flesh grazes I feel it burn and scour. Acid to bone, each touch brings bile to the surface. Will I ever heal?
I make way through the labyrinth. One second, two seconds, four then no more. Reaching out, cold hard hands grasp me. The door starts to jiggle. The handle twists and turns. Feet kick at its center. The me who isn’t this wants out.
Four hours, five hours, six and it’s over. The herd is led back into the corral. We meander in our dressing rooms, counting our paper, sizing up our sales, comparing conquests. Giggling slips from our lips and bright lights saturate our eyes. The mood shifts, the sounds change and the night is over.
Girls dress up or dress down. Some move on to greener pastures and others run home. I pick up my key from the floor and place it in my pocket. The night is not quite done.
Grabbing my bag, I pull on a sweatshirt and toss away my heels. As I exit the back door, the alley is coated with black satin cloaks and dirty eager deals.
I make way to my car as propositions unfold. For some, an answer to prayer. One second, two seconds, three and four. My fingers pinch the handle, I toss myself in and lock the door.
My hand beats on the wheel. “This was your last night. Your last night. Your last night.”
I roll my eyes. We’ve been saying this for five years now. Every night was my last night and yet, every night was none.
If you need something to make you feel warm & fuzzy after reading that watch this.
If you need something to make you laugh after reading that watch this.

6 thoughts on “Three Seconds Four

  1. Dark? This kind of "dark" is reality for millions of people who feel trapped doing something they don't want to do or being someone they don't want to be. They don't know freedom. And I don't think "millions" is an overstatement. The valleys and hills in the first paragraph I saw as an allusion to Song of Solomon, like Chapter 4:6, but is ironic because in S of S it's between a bride and bridegroom. What a striking contrast. So well written! Each sentence is significant that you can't grasp it all in one reading. And I like the title. I think it's very appropriate.


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