You're my other half, he tells her. Would you have sex with me? Ginger
asks. He tells her yes, of course. Damn all the men he's been with
before, Darren would absolutely make love to her. She's stripped down
to threadbare pink panties and a white tank. He kneels over her on the
bed, shirtless. His jeans dip below his hips. There is flesh, and there
is flesh you can possess. She wraps his fur coat around herself and
rocks back and forth upon the bed. She is alive and safe and a thousand
clever gods watch from above. His small hairless dog yaps beside her,
climbs over her. Darren, she says, you're saving my life. I don't know
where else I would go. Stay just like that, he tells her, holding the
camera. Ginger poses inside the coat. Its lustrous trim surrounds her.
She tilts her head toward her shoulder. Her cherry red curls fall into
her face. That's hot, he says. You look amazing. He takes her picture.
There's a quick, dim blast of white. A frisky bass line scampers
through his bedroom. Darren needs music while he tumbles down from his
high. The silence—please save my life. He waits for the image
to appear in the camera's display window. Am I beautiful? she asks.
You're gorgeous, he says, before the image appears. Then he sees it. To
his relief, he was right. She looks like a slinky pin-up girl snatched
from a long-ago cigarette ad. Darren hands her the camera. You see, he
tells her, I'd never lie to you.
Thomas Kearnes’ fiction has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Dogzplot,
Night Train, Bound Off, Blithe House Quarterly and others.