She had disco in her hips and wants to dance. Tells me her name is Sheila, but wishes it were Flannery. Naturally, I assume she’s a writer. “No, I sell shit on eBay for people,” she says.
Two Mojitos later, she tells me that back at her place, she has a Cheeto that looks like Marlon Brando.
“Streetcar Brando or Godfather Brando?” I ask.
“More like Superman: The Movie Brando,” she says.
We leave together hoping that two people are half as lonely as one.
Sheila takes me home in a Hummer she’s selling for some tweaker who’s facing serious jail time. The night is dark and the streets are empty. We pull into her garage, and I hear this awful metallic scraping sound.
“This thing’s a bitch to park,” she says.
I want to ask if she’s ever been in love, but I ask if her insurance is paid up instead.
In her living room, Cheeto Brando glows orange under a small glass dome. She’s asking eight hundred dollars for it.
“People really collect Cheetos?”I ask.
“Oh yeah, it’s a whole thing,” she says.
Her entire house is an eclectic menagerie of stuff she sells for people on eBay. Everything has a price tag. Basquiat paintings with sketchy provenance, a copy (original?) of Kurt Cobain’s death certificate. A first edition of The Bell Jar. She hands it to me. There’s an inscription inside: For Hilda + Vicky with lots of love from Sylvia January 1, 1961.
I trace my finger lightly over the handwriting and lose sense of where I’m at.
“Do you want to sit down?” Sheila asks.
The couch has a plastic slipcover. She kisses me. Starts to unbutton her sweater.
“Do you mind if I take this off? I’m shipping it to a woman in Schenectady tomorrow.”
She leads me to her bedroom. In the dim light, there’s a set of drums she’s selling for her cousin and a bare mattress on the floor. That’s it. There’s no room for anything else, except for the moonlight, and two thin lengths of loneliness.
First appeared in New Flash Fiction Review