Displaying myself for the auction of love, I stand poised in the light of anxiety.
"we'll start the bidding off at ten dollars, do I hear ten dollars?" cries the auctioneer. I run my hands down the buttons of my shirt making sure it's neat and straight. "come now ladies, surely one of you lovely creatures would trade ten dollars worth of paper and cloth for this tall drink of water! Do I hear ten dollars to start the bidding off?" I use the sweat from my palms to tame my hair down. Scanning the crowd from under his sharply slanted brow the crier retreats a step, "alright, how about five, do I hear five dollars?" I put on my brightest smile, conjuring every ounce of good-heartedness I have in me. The room is silent. No hands go up and it's clear that lowering the price of bid won't change it. The auctioneer bangs his gavel and declares 'no-sale,' then gestures for the staff to remove me from the stage. Two sharply dressed men then lead me to the back for 'processing' where I'm told that 'someone will be along shortly.'
Behind the door is just an alley with dumpsters and trash bags full of glass bottles. They shove me out with a pat on the back where I land right next to another man dressed just like me, only much older.
"how long you been waiting, pal?" I ask him as I sweep away the garbage from me.
"any minute now," he says weezingly.
"come again?" I say.
"she's going to turn that corner," he says, raising a brittle finger towards the end of the alley. "I've been expecting her for some time now, but you know how women can be, she's probably just doing her hair." he laughed and it turned into a hard cough.
"look buddy, I don't think..." I begin, but just then a beautiful woman comes around the corner and starts toward the gentleman caller.
"ha! I told you, didn't I tell you!", he says through a mostly toothless mouth. "My lady, you are truly a vision, just as lovely as I remember!" he proclaims, holding up a bouquet of long-dead flowers. When she reaches the man she pulls out a pistol from her purse and sends one straight through his flowers and into his chest. He falls back into a bed of garbage bags still holding the flowers, his last smile frozen on his face.
I look at the woman and she winks at me as she puts her pistol away, turns and walks out of the alley. I stand there for a few moments, processing what just happened. Then I bend down and pick up the dead man's flowers, run my hands down the buttons of my shirt and tame my hair. "Did you see that," I think to myself, "she winked at me!" A smile stretches across my face. "I wonder if she's coming back? Better wait here, just in case."