Viscosity Breakdown
By Jason Price Everett

She had sublet some friend's intimate little boxlike pied-à-terre (what was her name?) in some hideous angular apartment building (what was her name?) somewhere along the sterilized nether stretches of the Boulevard Raspail (it might not have been Raspail it might have been something else and what the fuck was her name?) she was older than he was and he had timed it just right an evening out with the rest of the students summering at the university and as the less adventurous talkative bibulous types evaporated he allowed himself to get drunker and drunker more rapturous without actually becoming disjointed so much so that when he claimed to have forgotten the RER shutdown time and accidentally missed his chance to ride the iron millipede back to his suburban cyst of a room (no phone and riddled with cats) she believed him implicitly and offered to put him up at her place for the night she was drunk too on wine and conversation and she was a tall redhead and her cheeks glowed with the redhot malleability of her emotions and the glow was reflected in his eyes as he turned away to hide the twisted grin of success the first blow had been administered to her finely folded matrix sprinkled with dust of rubies: access.
He bought a packet of Gauloises Blondes at a tabac near the Metro station and followed her through the hollow junctions of the weeknight to her apartment she glowed the entire time she was tall not fat not thin she was defined by what she was not except for all that red he imagined her nether parts lit up like the power indicator on a graphic equalizer blasting out pink noise drowning out her fiancee deafening her to all save him and his purpose as they entered the apartment he found to his perplexed chagrin that her aged mother was visiting for the week couched in shock he chatted amicably before the sleeping arrangements were decorously calculated (he got the couch; she got her room; mother got the guest room -- enough taxonomy) he removed his shoes and lay curled on the couch like his missed train under the damp mossy rock of a roundhouse of expectation accurate on cue she flowed out to him in the dark he could see the burn she gave off on the back of his retinas (rods and cones) she led him to her room and his forgeries were vindicated and his penis turned the color of her hair and his body turned the color of her body and everything was red in the clustered darkness of her narrow bed except the reflected chartreuse light of the neon sign crowning the chain drugstore across the street and four stories down.
She made him go back to the couch after they had finished in order to preserve appearances he went but grudgingly.

In the morning before her mother awoke she put on her bathrobe and made him coffee the robe heightened her pallor she burned no longer she had gone out he was chilly on the balcony at the little glasstopped table his clothes reeking of cigarette smoke and spilled pernod from the bars of the night before her coffee was the worst coffee ever to defile the earth with its blasphemous presence to a consistency of diesel fuel and cemetery dirt such as one finds in nearly all alien coffees was added a foul flavor compounded of equal parts Worcester sauce ashtrays and vaginal secretions he choked it down straight through his vitals it drilled its own hole like gay bikers on acid lapping each other in the velodrome of his intestines marveling at her transformation in the night she had exploded and her skin was soft with the corrosion of maturity in the morning the scattered smoky tendrils of her explosion had been dispersed on the pale winds of her skin coarse and weathered like a bedspread as he sipped the atrocious bile she had prepared for him she leaned against the railing of the balcony her robe parted to reveal her genitals (which did not aid his appreciation of her coffee genitals and breakfast are best kept separate) and her newly prosaic pubic badge of hair and a notch carved in the glacial meat of her upper thigh which she showed to him and explained was the result of the removal of a malignant melanoma occasioned by too much sunbathing in Florida conjoined with her pale freckled skin she was especially susceptible to skinbased suncancers she said.
She saw him to the door he said goodbye (he never saw her again after that he avoided her at the university and after they all returned home her destination remained unknown he presumed she got married after all she never gave him any indication of memory or permanence) and wobbled down the Boulevard Raspail (or whatever street it really was) to the nearest Metro station under the impetus of a spin imparted by hangover coriolis and the weather was rather gloomy that morning he thinks he remembers but he can’t remember her name.