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City In Heat (standard:drama, 1379 words)
Author: Bobby ZamanAdded: Jun 15 2002Views/Reads: 1923/1140Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Now these hot days is the mad blood stirring.
 



CITY IN HEAT by Bobby Zaman 

The woman crosses Lincoln Avenue in a lazy and relaxed stride and
drivers on the road have no problem slowing down and letting her pass.  
She's quite a sight.  The late afternoon sun is graciously highlighting 
her jet-black mane and her flapping red dress stops just above the 
knees keeping her well-shaped legs exposed. 

She scans the strip of bars for some moments, and then continuing her
languid walk eases into a chair outside the Red Lion pub.  She sits 
facing the sun.  A light film of sweat makes her skin glisten under the 
golden, late-afternoon rays. 

The Marine takes his eyes off the TV above the bar and peers outside
through the set of glass doors that have been left open letting an 
occasional cool breeze stream in and revive the air of the packed 
barroom.  He sees the woman as she settles in her seat and slides her 
sunglasses up and fixes them in the midst of her thick curls. 

Charles doesn't like that the Three Penny has merged with the craze of
mainstream commercial films and dropped the art films it used to show 
round the year, and he could spend whole summer afternoons inside the 
air conditioned theatre.  The only feature he cared for since the 
removal of the art films was A Beautiful Mind.  He checks the posters 
just in case they'd gone back, but is disappointed at the billing 
because what's displayed is his idea of trash.  He wants to be inside, 
in the cool comfort.  He doesn't have air conditioning or a fan in his 
apartment.  It got hot and suffocating the night before and gave him a 
treacherous headache.  His unit heats up easily because it's on the 
third floor and faces east. 

His shoulders sag and he wipes his forehead with the back of his hand. 
He starts walking along the strip. 

Charles likes summer, even though hot weather keeps him perpetually
nauseous and wreaks havoc on his appetite, for which he looks nothing 
short of a walking carcass by the end of the season. 

While she waits for her drink, the woman tilts her head back and rests
it against the back of her chair.  The sun feels good on her neck and 
face. 

The Marine asks for a refill.  A good buzz is settling in.  He always
finds himself more confident and eloquent after a few beers. 

Thirteen cruisers, with screeching sirens and throbbing lights atop,
converge in front of a three-story apartment building in Roger's Park.  
Swarms of blue-clad boys and girls spill out, wielding guns and clubs 
and barking into walkie-talkies.  A red-faced Sergeant, too large for 
his shirt, surrounded by detectives, is standing by the entrance to the 
building guiding the SWAT team that is snaking its way up the stairs to 
apartment 309. 

The young man that has his terrified girlfriend and whimpering daughter
pinned and tied against a wall with a shotgun pointed at their bodies 
was a high-school football star and several colleges, including one Ivy 
League recruiter, had seen him in action and offered him full 
scholarships. 

He knew police had the entire block surrounded and men and women were
sitting at bars and restaurants watching the live televised broadcast. 

The Eisenhower Expressway mirrors a parking lot, with bits of mirages
pinched between vehicles.  Traffic choppers hover above like 
scavengers.  Cars edge along less than an inch at a time.  Heads pop 
out of driver's side windows to see what's creating the congestion. 

The well-dressed yuppie's had a bad day.  He got laid off fifteen
minutes after showing up for work, picked up a phone with trembling 
hands and relayed the news to his fiancé in search of empathy, and was 
summarily told that the engagement was off.  Goodbye. 

Her words play back in his head like the schoolyard taunts that spewed
out of tormenting little brats because he was fat and pimple-faced 
throughout his childhood. 


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