Erika S.’s face was as long as the day is long. Its structure was geometric and angular, with features seemingly crafted by hammer and chisel; high cheekbones that threatened to tear through her skin and looked like they might hurt to kiss; a chin that came almost to a point. Erika’s profile reminded more than a few people of a children’s book’s drawing of a waning moon - the kind that always looks sleepy and is apt to wear a nightcap with a fluffy pom at the end.
She was not, however, an ugly woman. If her face had just been a bit shorter, it would have made all of the difference. As it was, she lived somewhere just south of pretty.
Erika got down off of the kitchen table and put her shoes on. She bared her teeth at the mirror in the hallway to make sure that there were no breakfast remnants caught up anywhere. Wedging a thumbnail between two incisors, she pulled something loose. She examined it for a second before trying to flick it onto the floor. When it refused to come off the side of her thumb, she wiped it on the wall.
Grabbing her keys, she yelled loudly up the stairs, “Going to work Ma, don’t forget to take your medicine!” knowing full well that she would anyway, if she even made it out of bed by the time that Erika got home.
Outside, the sun was already out and doing its work. Erika walked over the still snarl of traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge; the pungent tang of exhaust fumes rose up to the walkway and followed along. Once on the Manhattan side, she headed north. This was her commute in the spring and summer and she enjoyed the long walk very much.
Erika had something wet and meaty in her pants pocket. It had been in there for a little over an hour now and was starting to give off an unpleasant odor. She walked up First Avenue and the June heat wasn’t helping one bit in regards to the wet Meaty Thing’s smell.
She waited for the light to change at 20th street to head west. While she was stopped, she waved her hand in front of her thigh to keep the flies away. No one stood anywhere near her. The Walk sign flashed, and Erika made her way across First Avenue. The street’s hot, soft asphalt was reluctant to let go of her shoes and her steps made sounds like Scotch Tape being pulled from skin.
The outside of Erika’s pants pocket had become wet to the touch.
Erika was the first to arrive at the school’s cafeteria where she worked. This was good because no one would smell the wet Meaty Thing.
She went into the bathroom and put on her button-up uniform shirt. She pinned her hair up and put the cap on her head. Before leaving the bathroom, she went over to the sink and scrubbed her hands like a surgeon.
Back in the kitchen, Erika began to prepare lunch. It was Sloppy Joe Tuesday, and in two hours, there’d be two hundred and fifty some-odd students stuffing the cafeteria, making her afternoon miserable. Erika S. reached into her pants pocket with her transparent-gloved hand and took the Meaty Thing out.
"The Meaty Thing"
Copyright: © 2010 Edward Raso