HIGH MAINTENANCE - PHIL BELOIN JR.
I ain’t one for formal weddings. Too much ballyhoo. My singular pleasure, watching the dance floor—the young, the tattooed, your brunettes and redheads, though I’m settling on the blonde with long hair restrained and tamed by a pro.
She’s the tallest by inches, six-feet in the stiletto heels, killer legs creeping up to the hem. My gaze jumps to the bared, sharp shoulders, and she spins, revealing the hard line between her breasts. The eyes, though, they are her forte, delicate amber, rich with excitement and champagne. They’re a false invitation, too. Just ask the fellows trying to do the Cha Cha with her.
There’s a glass of the good bubbly in her hand, held high above her head, and as she shimmies down, her rear wiggles in tempo. I should get out there, join in the merriment, but the open bar has me bogged down in mercurial liquids.
Besides, I have things to contend with—folks are prattling to me, crushing my face with their rancid breathes, and I nod and smile, can’t hear a word they say over the vibrating speakers. Madam blonde has gotten herself surrounded by ogling singles, maybe a disgruntled spouse. And you thought weddings were supposed to renew everyone’s vows. Forget it, man. Her gang moves about her like a surly, needy beast, and she revels in their unfulfilled desires. She chuckles when the song ends the hunt.
I’m handed a drink, something dark with ice shavings. Yummy. Coming out of the slug for air, I lose her, panic quick timing through my core. I scan the overdressed broods and find those shining locks with some of the wedding party at the dessert bar. She goes for gelato. Surely, an unwise combo with champagne. I’ve stayed with the bourbon. I know the dangers of mixing.
I notice that I’m on my feet and have stumbled near the dance floor.
I get caught in a drift and I’m flailed around in a bizarre pantomime of dance.
It’s exhausting, pointless, but there’s no out. The blonde’s on the move again—she won’t stay still—towards the corridor leading to the restrooms. A dank recess implores me to follow her down that path. Is she getting sick? Or taking a powder—up her nose as I suspect?
Tall as she is, I spy her return, bopping through friends and family, more socializing, more flirtations, more, more, more. Her energy is unmatched. The music is fading and the DJ is babbling over the tune—he needs the bride and groom on the dance floor. Time for parlor games, he shouts, the garter, the bouquet.
The masses part and the bride arrives upon the stage, sitting on a chair that has appeared in the middle of the floor. The groom approaches, kneels. The newlyweds lock eyes, then turn and grin for the official photograph. The flash is blinding.
As the cheese ball music detonates through my head, I reach my hand up the blonde’s incredible leg and I’m thinking I should have murdered her instead of this charade.
BIO: This is not how Phil's wedding went all those years ago... His novel, The Big Bad, awaits you on Amazon. He also recommends the fiction on microhorror.com. There are some brilliant gems over there.
The Irish Times’ Crime Fiction ‘Best Of’ 2018
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