Face Flowed Into Her Eyes
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area
Clovis Finnegan was an acolyte of the Church of Bowflex and a devotee to the Cult of Creatine. He wasn’t quite ripped enough to be a professional bodybuilder but he packed too much muscle to ever be taken for ‘just some guy who does pushups’. The fact that he was closer to seven feet than he was to six and thus his muscles were stretched across his long frame made his sheer mass all the more daunting. As a fellow tall person I knew all too well the difficulties of putting mass on, and was all the more jealous of Clovis for it.
He wasn’t just a big guy. He was a handsome big guy, the kind who comes to a party and makes every other man groan when he steps in because they know that just like that their hopes of scoring just got flushed. He had newscaster hair for Christsake. Sitting across from him now it was all but impossible to not internally fume over the fact that in addition to being more than capable of breaking me over his knee Clovis could probably steal my girlfriend if I had one for him to steal and then still have time and energy left to crush me in an informal Spelling Bee.
Clovis was a lawyer; they tend to be good with words.
He wore a crisp blue suit with shimmering gold cufflinks (seriously, who wears cufflinks these days?) and a scarlet tie. His shoes were probably made from the hide of a now-extinct mammal from one of those countries with an unpronounceable name. You know the ones.
He sipped from his expensive cup of whateverccino, seemingly relishing the taste if his little lurid smirk was any indication. Or maybe he was relishing the fact that I was here to ask him for a loan. Yeah, probably that one. You don’t pop the facial equivalent of an erection over coffee; I don’t care how good it is.
“How the mighty have fallen,” he said, his Irish accent more annoyingly smooth than usual as his pale eyes met mine, “Why just last month you told me in unequivocal terms that you weren’t the type to look for a handout, least of all from—what was the soubriquet you used--?” he paused, acting for a second like he didn’t remember what I’d called him at the conclusion of the hearing when my brother was cleared and Clovis lost his first case in ten years as a Federal Prosecutor, “I think it was ‘Douchey McToolbag’. Were you under the impression I was Scottish?” He snorted, the sound at once amused and irritated.
I felt my fingers digging into the table. “Just tell me what I have to do, tell me how much crow I have to eat and I’ll do it,” I hissed from behind clenched teeth, trying not to lose my temper on the one man in town with enough cash to pay for my mother’s surgery who wasn’t (as far as I knew) a criminal. True, he’d probably be just as ruthless and implacable as any loanshark, but at least I knew that his money was clean. Relatively speaking.
The look of pure, malicious satisfaction that grew on his face could have killed puppies and caused miscarriages in pregnant women if they strayed in its path. It almost made me shudder. “Hmm…one must wonder what would cause such a dramatic reversal in positions,” he tapped a finger to his marble chin, “No doubt something to do with a relative. Your mother no doubt.”
I felt my muscles tense up. I hadn’t told him why I needed a loan yet.
He continued, and with each word I felt my dread grow. “If memory serves she was experiencing unfortunate complications with her recent surgery and a certain oversight in her records caused a breach of contract that invalidated her insurance,” he steepled his fingers and leaned back and I had to wonder if he practiced looking and sounding like a Bond villain, “One must wonder what kind of man would be so very spiteful as to painstakingly search through her records for an easily overlooked but damning discrepancy.”
Some guys have slow, seething anger. Guys like Clovis. Me? I have anger like burning alcohol. Quick, intense, and when it passes there’s no smoldering coals left over. I entertained notions of throwing hot coffee in his face that I hadn’t ordered, stabbing him with the knife I didn’t have, shooting him with the gun my record wouldn’t allow me to purchase, or just punching him with my fists that would have probably just split on that marble chin of his. A few seconds passed and that intense, impotent anger fizzled out. I just sort of slumped in my seat. Clovis flashed a victorious grin, stood up, and paid for his coffee with a crisp fifty, telling the girl to keep the change.
“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."
-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.