Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fragment No. 3

He wants to look sharp. I can see it in his clothing. The slacks are perfectly pressed and break at just the right place above the gleaming lace-ups. The Windsor collar of his dress shirt has been starched stiff as a board, and cuff links glint in the French cuffs. A gold watch gleams on his wrist.

Yes, it's supposed to impress. But I lean back in my chair. I look at him rather than the apparel. He has belted in the waistband tight to keep the slacks up, and the shirt hangs on him like a sail. Both were obviously intended for a larger frame, yet they can't conceal the beginnings of a paunch. Stubble shows beneath his chin and around his Adam's apple. And when he smiles, the desperation fairly leaps out of his eyes. It's an unmistakable look. I should know. I see it in the mirror most mornings.

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