Short story: From Russia with Love
Trina lay in bed contemplating whether she should get up and go into the bathroom or if she was going to get dressed, walk down the hall and out the front door. Limbs tangled in the sheets, evidence of the previous nights efforts were plain to see- the bottom sheet near her right hand had come untucked and exposed the graying mattress below. The patterned comforter was obviously laying the wrong direction- the brightly colored stripes tipping over the side and spilling on to the floor. A sigh escaped her lips as she surveyed the room, still weighing the options- including the least likely third choice, she could wait for last night’s catch, Greg, to finish his shower and return to the bedroom. But Trina was a woman of action and wouldn’t wait for the situation to unfold, she would make things happen. Casting her gaze around the cramped, unfamiliar bedroom, she waited for something to catch her eye, something to tell her which way her morning was going to go, and then she saw it- the book that told her she would, as a matter of fact, be staying for breakfast. Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita”, one of her favorite books of all time, was laying on a shelf- obviously well-used, and a book that you had to be a very specific type of reader to have. It wasn’t some bullshit gimme from a reading list like “To Kill A Mockingbird”- no doubt a great book but where was the imagination in having that lying around? And it wasn’t the dreck that passed for popular fiction like James Patterson, if she’s spotted that she would have her clothes on and the door closing behind her in 2 minutes flat. No, Bulgakov’s exquisite, surreal novel was the sign of a man who had some chops, someone willing to take risks and immerse himself in a book that would make you squirm and laugh by turns. This was the kind of man she was willing to spend a few more hours with.
Given this new insight and direction, Trina stretched languidly, turning her head so that her nose was buried deep into her own dark hair fanned out against the pillow- inhaling the story of the previous evening- the fading smell of clean, bright shampoo overlaid with the more pungent smells of beer, stale food, and gritty, grasping sex. She smiled and grabbed a few of her curly dark strands in her teeth. She loved the tiny, grating sound that biting her hair made and wondered what sound Greg’s hair would make. Rolling out of bed, a rumpled white t-shirt falling to just even with the curve of her butt, she walked toward the bathroom door. As she passed her old friend, Bulgakov’s brilliant novel on the shelf, she let her fingers trail across the spine and thought to herself, “you can’t go wrong with someone who has read “The Master.”” Steam escaped from the bathroom as she slipped through the door and shut it firmly behind her.