possible non-homogeneous planes by Frank Hinton


Slow. Always slow here. A girl peers around a boy’s doorway. A sliver of her body, her face slides into view. He looks up, knowingly. He’s chewing on a toothpick. He’s holding it in his mouth. His face is bright, directly under bulb light. He looks at the peering girl and the toothpick in his mouth changes its angle. He’s got a paintbrush in his hand. There are little globs of acrylic paint around him: blue, black, orange, white.
     “What is that?” the girl asks. “What did you paint?”
     The boy smiles. He stands up and tilts the painting, delicately, to a horizontal 90 degree angle.
     “It’s a 1991 Dodge Spirit.”
     “Why did you paint that?” she asks.
     Slow.
     He smiles.
     “It’s an ugly car,” he says.
     The girl laughs. Half of her face is still covered by wall. She hasn’t stepped into the door-frame yet.
     “Don’t make me laugh,” she says. “I had oral surgery today.”
     She puts her palm to her cheek. Pale hide all over.
     The boy sets the painting down. He wipes his paint-y hands on his jeans.
     “You had a filling put in,” he says. “One filling.”
     “Major surgery,” she says.
     A creeping shape on their faces, a trace of something known appears. Smiles.
     He steps into the hallway and the girl disappears into the shadows. The hallway is so dark you can’t see a thing. It’s black and it’s cold. There’s nothing hanging on the walls.
     “Which side did they fill?” he asks. He moves his hand in the darkness.
     She points to her left cheek but he can’t see where she is pointing.
     He kisses her left cheek without pressing his lips deep.
     Tissues connect, of his and hers, some wounded, wet or in repair.
     He says to her ear, “silver or white?”
     “What?”
     “The filling.”
     “I couldn’t afford the composite,” she says.
     He breathes on her from his nostrils. This part of the city is quiet now.
     “Can I come in?” she asks.
     He moves away, enters the bathroom and washes his hands. He cleans his fingers and wrists. With a nearby metal tool he scrapes the paint from beneath his nails. He is meticulous. Every fleck is drained away. He looks at himself in the mirror and then back at her through the angle of reflection. Something of her is alive in the dark hallway, more than just regularly alive. Half of her eye is moon-white. Bone white, maggot white. Her lips are painted and glistening. They are moving in the dark, lips looking at him, saying things that aren’t words. Creatures living at her mouth, vestigial things.
     She tiptoes into his room and rolls her socks down. One is the color of rainbows, each bar a spectrum of light. As she rolls it down it slides away, until a cloth-red donut of sock drops to the floor.
     Water running down the sink. Paint drying on brush hairs. Her toenails are unpainted. He turns the light off and finds his way through. The entire house is dark now. They are the only ones awake here.
     
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Frank Hinton lives in Nova Scotia and edits the litzine Metazen and alt lit gossip. Her first novel Action, Figure will be released in June by Tiny Hardcore Press. Visit Frank here.