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  • The opening of a short story, in which things do not turn out to be quite what they appear.  It is (perhaps) in the speculative fiction genre and is set in the present day.

    Joe Cortanna

    Just one hour ago, I had been warm and calm and comfortable, swaddled like a baby, high in the skies in my aluminum cradle.  From LA to JFK, I had boozed and snoozed across the continental divide until the thump of the wheels on the runway cleared my gin fogged head.  Now, driving north on Broadway, the billboards whispered to me in the darkness of the night.  No PowerPoint needed, they pitched their deal in compelling fonts of pink and neon, their unique selling point a fragile, desperate promise of intimacy amongst the city millions.  As I left the rental in a parking lot, the pavement released its heat into the late evening, filling my nostrils with the acrid taste of cement dust. I set off towards the brightness of the lights, ready to settle amongst the other moths, thirsty to drink the nectar of companionship.

               I was on my third Manhattan when the blonde breezed by - her sky-high heels heartache red to match her lips, hair tumbling onto her shoulders in a way that made Niagara look like a shy rain shower. She paused and then poured herself onto the bar stool next to me.

                ‘Hello, stranger.’

                I was not surprised. My Alan David suit, Gucci diamond cuff links and old school Paul Molé razor cut all signalled - 'I have it all -- come flutter with me'.

                ‘What will it be?’ I said.

                She let me take in the full view before replying.

                I added up the numbers.  She was just under six feet in her four-inch Jimmy Choo stilettos.  Waves of blonde hair lapped gently on her shoulders.  Her Pearl Rose cut-out tulle gown did not so much clothe as embrace and caress her perfect hourglass figure.

                ‘Vodka, straight, one ice cube.’

    For the full story, see here.

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