• Another recycled piece of writing, this was a writing exercise for one of my workshop classes, and the point was to incorporate the following three images:

lips without chapstick

freshly mowed grass

black-and-white stripes


Two sequins fall onto the concrete, and when he notices them having gone astray, he hastily scoops them up and drops them in the dumpster for good measure. The remainder of the garment they fell from is shredded between his stained, shaking hands, and he separates the pieces into two piles. He specifically picks out those whose geometric black-and-white designs are disrupted by sweeps of bright sticky scarlet, and stuffs them feverishly into his pockets. His tongue darts out from behind his teeth to wet his chapped lips as he nervously wipes his sweating palms against his dirtied shirt; anxiety pulses off him in waves, and his rolling, frightful eyes sweep up and down the dark, unoccupied alleyway several times before he dares to check on what he’s discarded.

Over the lip of the massive garbage bin, her porcelain skin stands out among disposed heaps of fresh lawn clippings. He wrinkles his nose at the unpleasant combination of her thick, metallic scent underneath the earthy smell of the mowed grass. When he pushes himself roughly away from the wall of the dumpster and attempts to stumble away, he only finds himself rushing back in a more urgent state of alarm, frantic with the thought that his desperate job is only half complete. As he clumsily paces across the wet, black concrete, the static hum of a happy tune buzzes faintly from the radio of his still running truck.

Finally he heaves himself back up against the side of the dumpster, but the sight of her makes stinging bile rise in the back of his throat and his hands grip the green metal tighter, knuckles burning white through the skin. Empty, emerald eyes stare through him – carved into a rigid face – the light that teasingly reflected off the irises has evaporated, leaving the flat and hollow replacements of a caught fish’s pushed in above her marble cheekbones instead. With his right hand, he grasps for a better hold against the giant trash bin’s wall and braces himself as he reaches in with his left. Moving slowly and stiffly, he buries five crooked fingers in one of the mountains of grass, and tosses a bundle over her face. Handful after handful he covers her up, fumbling inadequately from the awkward angle, a hushed, insistent whisper repeated from his dry mouth.

“It wasn’t on purpose, it wasn’t on purpose…”