The soft hum of the motor soothed Steve’s burgeoning anxiety, even though he knew the danger in what he was about to do. Tanya lay asleep in the passenger seat, her soft breath upsetting the delicate strands of hair that lay across her placid brow, and her calm seemed ironic due to tonight’s extraordinary circumstances.

Stopped at a red light Steve took time to take Tanya in. Never had he been so lucky in his life. An average Joe, he had never slept with, let alone dated anyone half as gorgeous as Tanya. How he managed to keep her around he had yet to figure out. He was a simple guy, and she was not his normal type. Designer jeans framed her long legs, and her manicured hands splayed in his lap. She was a high society girl and he was a nobody from Queens. What made their relationship even more interesting was that she was paid. Not in the rich daddy sense, but in the rich family sense. She never worked, her parents didn’t work, and their parents didn’t work. She never had to work for a dime, but her heart was as pure as gold.

…after effects…

11:00pm – Impatient fingers tap invisible scales on a chrome table in the dining room,  smoke drifts like a druid in and out of time – a man checks and rechecks his watch – powder is being softened into skin, ten minutes away…

11:30pm – A wife is being forgotten while two people laugh a raspy laugh – the kind that sounds like air being forced through a throat that has smoked for too long; into and out of – because of nerves, and frustrations.

The woman wishes she had painted her lips red instead of a demure pink, cuz she is sure she will go the distance, and she wants to be certain that he will think she looks Hollywood enough to play the part of a mistress.

12:00am The wife is in a room of a big house, eating one, and then another pill of eternal damnation; cursing her husband and all of her choices to be his trophy of atrophy.

The man wonders if the woman will think he is a superman and tries to appear confident like an Olympian racing towards Athens – a pulse of sweat descends his forehead rounding his left eye and into his ear causing a sensation – but she does not notice; she is counting dresses and bow tie diamonds – and the other expensive shimmers she will receive as compensation for the fruits of her submission.

12:30am – The wife dreams of a little girl chasing a butterfly, a pink one that landed on a flower and then there are inexplicable sounds and waves of sounds crashing around her – like she is in a deep water ocean bobbing like the jettisoned (only really in her house sprawled on the floor like a fish wanting absolution).

They agree to leave, and arrive a little later at his pied-à-terre – a place with walls that have witnessed so many of his titillations that they literally now yearn for pleasurable sounds and their attendant reverberations.

1:00am – The wife, whose child by another man had been sleeping, remembers that he is thirsty and goes downstairs for a glass of water, and finds a trail of her clothing, a bottle…a few pills, and his mother sleeping in a heap of distraction. And he thinks “Is she only sleeping…?”

“This woman is like butter” he things – “soft and warm like a fantasy of opportunity” – and just after he has forgotten her name, he slips off the last of her clothing like a surgeon. For her part, and it is a part, she sighs and politely protest, before succumbing, as if she had not practiced this artifice in the mirror while applying makeup daily.

1:30am – A siren visits the wife and her son with an antidote of resuscitation and she brews the strongest pot of coffee her bitterness at living can imagine, and she drinks a cup, making plans for escape, revenge and evasion. Her son can tell that he will be making new friends in a different school or maybe this time they will move out of the country.

The man, a lover of fiction imagines him self sturdy like a farmer – a plow- that she is his fertile valley and she ask “When will this be over?” but not out loud…never out loud, for she is the perfect picture of composure.

2:00am – Back at The Orchid Room a busboy drops a tray of glasses and shatters and shards pierce and stick into the dance floor, before the sound of them can be heard or even expected…