top of page

The Show

By Robert Russell


Bass battered the bathroom walls, vibrations pulsing visibly shaking, protruding through. Black sharpie graffiti lined every crevice–psalms of debauchery, slightly prophetic and presumably prescient. One stall behind the left wall and a dirty sink below a murky mirror. Alone she reapplied her lipstick in a blurry reflection, the alcohol loudly making itself known.


Behind her body in the mirror the door opened amidst disapproving clamor outside and he entered.


She quickly whipped around and leaned, resting against a grimy counter, she stared towards the sauntering silhouette slowly approaching. He was daunting, dark in the red fluorescent bulbs that send shadows dancing down his face and his tall arch. He was a monstrous dream. She wavered in between fear and safety, her ambivalence looming heavily, shooting electric sparks through her body.


Their eyes locked and he inched closer and closer until she could feel his breath on hers. She leaned forward and fell from the counter just as he reached up with his right sinewy arm and closed in around her frail neck. His hand was warm, strong, and his clench was forceful yet somehow gentle and loving. His face held a passionate countenance, his eyes, two dark daggers, his lips quivering slightly parted. For a moment she was without air and she tensed signaling him to alleviate his grasp.


She slapped him, hard, with her right hand across his cheek, swiftly. Surprised, he smiled and violently threw his lips onto hers. Shocks, warm and inviting, shot down her spine. Rush with the vibrating walls, intensity, and passion, she was lifted by his embrace onto the dirt-laden counter edge. He moved, his arms flexing and strong, his mouth, a paintbrush, drew from her lips to her cheek to her neck to her chest, her skin his canvas. Dimly lit under the dark red lights of the dark room, they danced in sync, two souls in a moment succumbing to the libertine tendencies they had stifled for so long. Like serpents, they slithered in tandem with the shaking walls. Time ceased to exist. A drop in the offing, their vocal crescendos, uncontrollable tumult and cacophony, proved impossible to smother. The bass grew louder and louder and a second later, like falling off of a cliff, with sweat and heat, came a climax lifting and transporting the couple to another place. Ecstasy filled their entangled bodies, electrifying and euphoric. She had never experienced anything like that, and he the same. No words had been uttered, no introductions, nothing. Two animals in an ocean of sound, intoxication, and hedonistic exploration.


She emerged before he, ordered another whiskey, and rejoined her table. Seconds later, he did the same joining his table. Seated diametrically opposite, they both retrieved cigarettes and lit up simultaneously. With quick glances, she tended to her boyfriend on her left who was still glued to his phone. On the other side, he kissed his girlfriend’s cheek seated on his right, who asked what had taken so long. He responded with a “long line at the bathroom” and within the arrhythmic light sporadically illuminating the room, his girlfriend noticed a slight grin appear the face of her sister smoking, seated diagonally across the table.

bottom of page