His heart beat metronomically, like the wrist of a fly fishing pro or a goiter on a jogger with an enlarged thyroid. He put his hand against the cool surface of the bathroom mirror. "High fives. All around." he whispered.
Margaret studied the "You Are Here" icon on the Emergency Escape Plan mounted on the back of her door. It looked like she felt: like a target. On the TV behind her and to her right, James Carville yammered on about something or other. In the war of the talking heads, we are all losers. She had no idea what he was talking about. It may as well be a diatribe on the dangers of kite flying for all Margaret knew or cared.
Margaret was burdened by the Great Eternal Truth: we're all transitory. We're all going to die someday, somehow, whether it's by accidental lobotomy, getting shivved in a prison shower by Martha Stewart or a long weekend at Neverland Ranch, eyes heavy with wine and opium.
A chewing gum commercial came on with that "Way You Walk" song by that band, Papas Fritas. Margaret had seen them in concert years ago as a student in Quebec, before everything got so scary. Before anthrax in the mail and airplanes used as bombs and removing your shoes at airports. Before now.
She sat down on the end of her bed, sobbing.
"Take that ridiculous hat off. You look like a Rastafarian or something."
"Well, that shirt makes you look like an extra in a high school production of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. And you managed to slop tiramisu all over it. Nice."
"Whatever. Wait, who are you calling? Your mom? It's been what, 10 hours? Geez. Yeah, I guess you're about due. What's the matter, the umbilical cord pulled too tight?"
"Oh go pop a Valium or something. I should have listened to my mother and married Jerry Washington. He wouldn't have brought me to this crappy motel in who-knows-where and insulted by shirt and bored me to tears with details about fungus and whatever!"
"Um, it's called xylan. It's a polysaccharide found in plant cell walls and some algae. Freaking zoology majors."
"I'm sorry. Your hat is nice."
"I'm sorry, too. But your fungus is still boring. And Jerry Washington is a doofus."
And that's the end of the words and the end of April. I'm not doing the "Voices" thing for May, so, business as usual. I'll post the new mix soon.
This list is courtesy of Caitlin. Thanks to everyone who participated. If I didn't use your words, don't take it too hard. You just weren't good enough. (I kid, I kid!)