this is me
alex loves stacey more than pinball
(authors note : i was watching MTV2 (it could have been MTV
actually) and peoples messages were appearing across the
bottom of the screen. this one caught my eye and inspired
me to write the following. i'd love to hear one day from
whoever sent that message and what it meant to them.)
he pulls back the smooth red knob and lets go, slamming the
ball up and around the top of the machine and watches as it
slows slightly before accelerating back into the game,
bouncing and spinning, flipping and falling among the gaudy
colours and flashing lights. the score display's bright
orange dots change constantly; strobing in front of him
words and figures flicker, reflected in his eyes like some
dot-matrix firestorm. his hands twitch over the flipper
controls like dying fish, sweat forms on his top lip. this
is the last ball. this is the last chance.
on the other side of the room the girl sits, slouched on
the bench seat against the wall. knees together, feet
apart she twirls a plait in her fingers absent-mindedly.
heavily made-up eyes - thick black kohl and bright green
shadow - stare out the window into the middle distance. a
yellow cab slides by as if on ice. stacey is dressed like
one of pops lost pixies. rainbow tights crawl up her thin
legs out of battered converse sneakers topped with fraying
purple laces and slide under a ripped denim mini-skirt
crowned with a studded lime green belt that lies low over
her hips like a fallen halo. her thumbs poke through holes
in a long sleeve black tee that hides under a fluorescent
pink crop-top over which a crumpled brown shirt, buttoned
once beneath her small breasts, looks faintly embarrassed
to be there. stacey's hair, dyed black then blonde then
pink then black again falls over her forehead in a roughly
cut fringe and down past her shoulders in two plaits (she
looks like the evil offspring of kurt cobain and pippi
longstocking is how alex described her once) that are tied
with numerous bright and fluffy bands. around her neck a
tight black choker dangles a small purple jewel
threateningly, accompanied by various beaded necklaces and
a silver cross. a black studded bracelet is backed up by a
chorus of thin plastic bands in a multitude of energetic
colours on her right wrist. a plain black digital watch,
upside down, adorns her left.
suddenly she jumps up.
"alex honey," she intones, in mock Nu-York, "oim gonna get
a soda honey, ok?"
he glances over. the ball falls between the flippers and
is lost. game over flashes repeatedly on the screen as a
hollow, electronic laugh erupts from the machine. alex's
head snaps back.
"shit." he looks back at stacey and smiles. "sure."
(C) mike curd 2003