Thursday, March 19, 2009


Dust kicks up in the wake of the bus and, turning her head North, Krista tries to close every orifice but involuntarily licks her lips and tastes powdered sugar.  Looking up and to the South she catches them, giant rotating snow machines sprinkling sugar from the rooftops.

"Gak," she clears her throat in disgust, and an elderly man nods in agreement, or in time with headphones.  Tiny blondes are dressed for the club, swathed in unnatural fibers and ringed by slouching striped-shirted men whose belts match their shoes.  Sweet dust settles in their sticky hairdos and they do not notice that it glows in the light of their Bluetooth headsets.

The elderly man's mp3 player gives out with a click and he pulls it from his too-tight corduroy pockets and shakes it.  When sugar comes shivering off the square screen along with the usual lint, he scowls up at Krista with mucusy eyes.  She just wrinkles her nose at him and scratches her chin, but he thinks this is a gang sign, a rallying cry to the girl's hidden henchmen, and he lurches behind the lone, iron-fenced tree.

Hurt, Krista recedes from the curb and strides up the street through the sweet mist in search of a more personally conducive stop.  Approaching the homeless man who halfheartedly hocks Streetwise outside the smoke shop, she imagines herself opening her wallet to him, emptying all of her cash, probably over forty dollars, into his faded paper cup.  His squinty, sweaty face would light up at her and he would stammer appreciative words in a tumble so confused and excited that they could not form themselves rightly into sentences.  He would praise God, undoubtedly; bless Her, personally; call her beautiful, likely.  He would tell her she had a beautiful smile, as people always did if she were smiling, or beautiful eyes, as people always did if she were not smiling.  

But she had passed him now without a nod or smile, and without money in his cup she was beautiful to no one.  No matter.  With sugar falling from the sky today, flour yesterday, it was liable to be eggs or yeast tomorrow and soon enough he could make all the meals he needed from the dust shaken off of tourists' umbrellas as they stared, giggling, up at the clouds.

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