"Yes? Are you lookin' for something…?"

Simply being here besmirches white attire. Sickening entropy ravages my senses, the ugly stench of sex stiffening my mind. Plastic petals reeking and churning rancid honey, exhausted beauty spits from the smokestacks in this city of purged flowers.

"I am looking to make a purchase. I should hope that this is enough."

Scrabbling through my gilded sack, his depraved eyes glitter, catoptrical coals charred by years of greed; the rusted ruby riddling his veins awakens upon sight of kin. Men like him can only see the gold in a sunbeam.

"Pardon me for asking, but are you blind in one eye?" The tarry stare engulfs my infantile iris. Strangely, he only lifts the dubious lashes, squinting a spindly exploitation at my question.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Fluttering my long lashes, I am hardly taken aback. "I was simply observing a peculiarity, nothing more." A tinsel stripped, taffeta twinkle, my supple smile can taunt the thickest of minds. "It's just that your left eye is glassed over, the notice of which prompted a bit of curiosity in me; it was merely an innocent inquiry." Floridly, I leer.

He laughs rather harshly. "Don't gimme any of your frilly talk, pretty boy. Now—"

Light splinters in his eyes, its sole value lying in minted reflection. Abruptly retying the satin drawstring and drooping against his right elbow, he slicks up his speech, each new word oozing and glistening in the steamy Florentine lamplight like fresh vomit festers on the sullied lips gasping to die as the battlefield rots. "This is quite the sum of money."

I run my hand through my strawberry tresses. "I know."

In a pitiful endeavor to emulate me, he thoughtfully claws at his thinning hair. He is barely more than forty, I would estimate, so I suppose fallacious frivolity indulged it all away. "Don't act smart, kid. You don't know what you're getting into."

How trite. "I see. But is it wise to caution your customers? Manipulating my naiveté could help you immensely. After all, profits were never obtained through honesty." Daintily poking at the corner of my eye, I flick something away.

Searing my vision with solidified soot, he grins. "Hah, clever. Did the last guy to cheat you teach you that out of pity?"

"Well, it's only common sense." I place one hand on my hip, lightly arching the other.

He sneers, a filthy smear curling up in smoke. "Cute, real cute. Look, how 'bout if I give you some advice? Pissing off someone you want something from isn't exactly a good plan, especially when you try to tell him how to do his job. That, depending on how nice he's feeling that day, either lands you in a harder deal or at the bottom of your own grave. Get what I'm sayin'?"

I know this all too well. "Of course."

He skims his leather tongue across rare teeth. "Don't suck up either." His utterances settle about the scented bands of greasy glow, undulating to each perfumed coil--offerings to sacrilege. I deliberate between repulsion and arousal. "So, what exactly are you hoping to buy with this? Do you just like to toss your money away obscenely, or are has all your own preaching gotten to your head?"

This man is beginning to aggravate me. "I already told you: I wish to make a purchase."

"It isn't customarily called a 'purchase,' church boy. You're even more naïve than you look." How can holy robes insinuate ignorance?

I could have killed him then, the omniscience falling down my sky-tipped sleeves.

"It can be deducted easily then that I seek something unconventional." I clear my throat indignantly. "I tire of this quibbling, entertaining as it may be. If you so wish, I shall be blunt. I want one of your girls. I was here the other night and have decided that I shall buy her."

Immediately repressing humor below an oily derision, he shakes his head and buries his black eyebrows in his filth quilted hands. "Hm." I bite my lower lip.

"I am offering a perfectly reasonable price for a child her age, and I am sure you can easily find another to be equally profitable." I can taste the blood in my mouth as he snorts irreverently.

"Have you drained the chalice a few times too many today, or what?"

The Lord's blood breathes infallibility. "What do you imply?"

Rolling his pupils above to the sleekly creaking ceiling (I have no idea the type of wood—carpentry is beneath me), he pauses drolly. His awkward laugh ensues, and he whispers something resembling "I bet God's blood is some potent shit…"

Clandestine as my emerald cast may be, he sees right through me. "Would you at least allow me to tell you whom I seek?"

Stroking his bristly chin, absorbed in its static asceticism, he shrugs. "Go ahead, kid."

I could reminisce for hours. "Good." I stumble in lack of proper language.


"Patience is a virtue, sir." I adjust my angled pendant. "Sh…she's…young, about this high, (I lithely mark my hip in a manual gesture) and she is marvelously beautiful—" Her intricacy, the canon's bell and the snapshot, bronze candles burnishing everything into jealousy, I would kill her just to hold her one more time. "One look from her and the entire world burns away, leaving only those perfect green eyes." I cannot continue, the memory crippling my logic.

He has no idea. "She got a name?"

"I…" Absolute captivity stole my mind that night. Longing to know, the viscosity dreamt my sentence; she blinds me with her glare.

"You don't know?"

The floor, a lurid haze sparkling between the riveted boards, turns away. "I…"

"Didn't bother to ask, eh?" I can't even look at him. "I guess that is the point of a whore. Screw 'em and run, no commitments. You did good, ignoring all your morals."

Still staring at the ground, I close my eyes. "It wasn't like that."

He sighs. "Don't act all self-righteous on me. Don't get me wrong; I'm not judging you, but don't lie to my face."

It's quite filthy, all slathered in morning's stubble. I distrust utterly the efficacy of his razor, of his battlements. A diffident general would hardly hesitate to steal his boots from a creamy deathbed, I would think.

"I certainly hope you aren't buying your own crap. You're tryin' to buy a little girl for god knows what—I'm sure he wishes he didn't know. Not only that, but you don't even know her name, because you were too busy fucking her to ask. You're a damn hypocrite—I can see right through that holier-than-thou face, so you shouldn't bother to keep it up." I wish he had a pipe to smoke, to blur those stark blue jeweler's glasses. "You'll get tired after a while."

Slamming a festooned fist into the table, the sprinkling torrent barely shattering his silhouette, I can smell his cigar-speckled breath branding my perfect lips. "It wasn't like that! I--" He nods, a smile shimmering ineffably. "…I would know her if you could let me see her--" He has already lit up.

"I'm sure ya would." I'm gritting my teeth behind closed lips; their peripheral sheen leaks still, more strongly now. "Look, kid, don't start crying on me or something. I'm a businessman; if you want her, I'll give her to you—for the proper price, of course. Now, I don't like ambiguity."

So I tell him everything, entwined by my own voice.

His knuckles cradle a moderately sharp chin, creaking as he sparingly flexes them.

My jewelry dwindles from dazzling, crushing the branches and dashing my cheeks in slashes. Fear ignites with pride, and I cannot remember.

"Oh, I know who you mean. That pretty thing? My cute little virgin? Well, former virgin anyway." Torrid splices slicing, stupidly spellbound, I wipe my eyelashes. My index finger stings my eye; he examines me momentarily. "She musta cried somethin' awful." He chuckles briefly, a slight nasal gust rustling his moustache.

"…" Hypocrisy seizes me. "Stop it."

"Now, now, don't get worked up. I'm just saying…"

The left corner of my mouth curls disgustedly, my nose crinkling as my fist tightens around my clean shirt's hem. "I know precisely what you're saying, and I would appreciate it if you didn't say it."

Cocking his brow, sensibly he pauses. "Good." He turns impassively, ostensibly leaving me abruptly alone in my polished boots.

I blink, deflowered in shock. "Wait…! Wh-where are—" Nothing. Forgetting that he has already accomplished it, I fruitlessly fasten the white ribbon around my money and immediately ignore it thereafter. I scamper around the plain chair after him. "Where do you think you're going? We aren't finished yet."

"I am." He continues.

"Well, I'm not!" I embed my slender nails into his sparsely jacketed shoulder, twirling his body with my wrist to face me. (He is a few inches shorter than I am, so despite my deficiency in physical strength, this task is hardly problematic).

Scarcely fazed, he stares me down, baffling me. "That doesn't really matter though, does it?"

I release him and step back, once snapping argent. "What do you mean?"

"I'm the deciding party, and I've decided that I don't want to make the deal."

Who is he to— "You cannot honestly tell me that I'm submitting a price below inconceivably staggering."

"You don't—" A fused sigh and molten laugh weave through the glass. "I don't want your money. There's no way I'm selling her to you." Someone opens my mouth to speak, yet the tides steal it away. "You don't need to know why. There is nothing you can offer me to change my mind."

"What in the devil are you talking about? I thought you said you were a man of business!"

"I am." He brushes some stray grays, brooding.

"But—!" He steps further, dragging her away with every movement. I can hear her tears from last night juxtaposed with today. A vineyard spangled foxglove teacup dangling deeper with every swivel of the chain, I sense the poison's lullaby's vanquishing my heart, and I imbibe it all. "Where-d-answer me!"


"You can't possibly mean…"

He nods again. How many times is that so far?

Stumbling to my knees and wrenching at his grizzled jacket's eaves, I reduce myself to mankind's level, a disheveling disgrace. "P-please! I'll give you anything! My clothes, my jewelry, (I sinned to wear it anyway) the money, I—"

A gentle gesticulation blossoms from his hand like a wing in the wind. "Don't disgust me. I already told you, there is nothing—"

I fumble with the sheath, unearthing a crumbled spirit's last attempt to bleed a stolid god. The holy whispers, silver gashes sealing the sordid kiss, my fallacy crashes down. The steel shines in his fleeting eyes.


Raising myself to one knee, I then shatter to the ground. "How can you refuse me!?" Lightning screams within me, the perfect forge smothering anything left behind. "You—"

He is bored. "Would you kill me, then?"

"You thieving bastard!"

Incongruous, the western carillon chatters in glee, clattering, crooning to kill any life. "I have taken nothing from you." He closes the slowly paneled door.

The shining seizing me, elemental downpours razing belief to seething sunless sapphire blistering heaven, I sweep in loveless stupor. Duality doubles back, and divinity takes me, weeping a siren's curse.

It is only my inability. As I lie, she owns me, crying against my impure soul and cleansing me in vain, the sweetest savior's sin. Slaughtering my heart on star-bleached impossibility, I love her.