Just Another Spaceport Bar

I came to the sticks of Ecuador to get away from civilization; I opened a little bar out in the middle of nowhere and adjusted to scratching out a subsistence living where things were simpler.

Then they built the spaceport.

I get it: you want it somewhere near the equator, in a politically stable country, in a politically stable region. I understand the economics and the politics and even, just barely, the physics.

But now I have to keep hundreds of things in stock that none of the locals would ever order, and that’s just for the transient humans. The stuff the aliens order is expensive, often revolting, and in some cases even poisonous or toxic to my staff. I have to keep a special cooler just for the live reebt the Plogonree order, and I have to keep a net handy if they happen to get loose from the table before the Plogs can stun them for cooking. One of them bit Sheila once. And then there’s the per-booth climate control, and the translation computer rental fees. It’s a headache on any number of levels. And the insurance

Maybe going back to Wall Street lawyering would reduce my stress.

Dress Form

Where are we going? Not back to the store…

“No, of course not. Never. Don’t give it a second’s thought.” She pulled out her ipod, began scrolling through entries, looking for something calming and familiar.

What will they say when you go back tomorrow without me?

“I quit. And anyway, they don’t know I took you, they think I threw you in the dumpster. I told Maurice—”

They think you what?

“Relax. I told Maurice you were broken and hid you in the loading dock, and then put out another mannequin. Maurice didn’t seem to care.” She shook her head.

Typical Maurice.

“You’ll like it at my house. There are friends for you, and lots of clothes — I made them all myself — and no kids to knock you over or look up your skirt or anything.”

I’m so glad; I can’t wait. And you didn’t even have to kill anyone.

Artist’s Model Needed

Phone numbers typed on little slips of paper torn from the bottom of flyers thumbtacked to bulletin boards have never once, in all my life, failed me.

Things I did not say to Gloria: “You have a grandma name, what’s that about?”; “You remind me of Katy Perry, especially in the chest.”; “Is this whole art class thing just a way to get people naked so you can get laid without going to frat parties?”; “Can I bring my boyfriend next time, this whole thing is weirding him out?”

She painted me four times over the course of two months. She didn’t take reference pictures and then paint from that. I sat for her, long afternoons bathed in light spilling in through the high-set studio windows. She introduced me to her teacher while I was wrapped in a sheet, which he affected not to notice.

After the third time, she took me for coffee. “I have to stop painting you. I’m attracted sexually and it’s distracting me from the work.”

We agreed that it was best to stop the sessions. We made small talk and finished our coffee and went our separate ways. She showed up at my dorm room five hours later and knocked on it and when I let her in, she kissed me without saying anything.

We dated for six months. She painted me one more time, after that night, but it wasn’t the same; she wasn’t painting me anymore, she was painting this version of me that she loved and fucked and argued and made up with.

I’ve shown my husband those paintings. The last one, the fourth one, is his favorite, I think because that’s the wife in his head. I can’t stand it, myself; I like the third one, because it’s all about unrealized longing.