Cleopatra

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Inside the nightclub under the bypass.  It’s rough – there’s trouble outside; inside, the lights flicker as trucks rumble on the ceiling.  The tables and chairs are screwed to the floor, so elegant ladies and pig shit gentlemen have to stretch to reach their drinks.  I pass my Religious Education teacher table dancing, hips writhing like eels, lifting her dress to show it all.

I put the drinks down, as a pair of hatted dicks duel the house pianos.  This crowd isn’t in the mood for some hoedown, but they tolerate it for now.  This is the next round/toilet break part of the night.  I’ve squeezed past my friend with his fists deep in a co-worker’s slacks.  A shirtless man asks me to shave his shoulders.  Someone else licks my cheek.  I don’t see faces, I just look straight ahead.

On the dancefloor, I see her with the weird guy in class.  Always getting nosebleeds in Geography, or accidentally setting fire to his tie in Chemistry.  She keeps him at arms length – I’m sure – to protect her toes, but her grasp on his fingers is tight, and in her eyes is only compassion.

They break from dancing and he looks dazed.  Stars fill his pupils.  I jack-knife over to take the next dance and she accepts, smiling.  Within ten seconds I’m whispering you’re a princess.  Her face displays the agony of knowing she has to let me down too.  That evening she climbs into a cab, never to be seen again.

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