Saturday, April 28, 2012


By: S.T. Cartledge

Lou married a small apartment building in Downtown, and the next thing, she's invited him over for dinner with his new tower-in-laws.

Her name was the Claire Street Apartments, and they took the number six bus to meet up with her parents, the Pegasus Towers. Claire was pretty big, but her parents were massive. They were right on the foreshore, two big shiny silver buildings that punctured the sky. Over time, they had grown closer to each other, with a number of bridges connecting the buildings to each other, and the creeper plants climbing up the walls and getting tangled.

This was the first time Lou met the Pegasus Towers, and the first thing he did when he saw Mrs. Pegasus was pull a cat face. She laughed and invited him into her elevator. Claire smiled with her windows and Mr. Pegasus nodded with his doors and gave Lou the go-ahead. Walking into the elevator was like giving Mrs. Pegasus a kiss on the cheek, without the grimy building after-taste.

The inside of Mrs. Pegasus Tower was completely different to the Claire Street Apartments. It was like walking into a kitsch museum. Pink floral wallpaper and polished timber pedestals with ceramic dogs and clowns and milkmen, and framed embroidery artwork of cats with captions that were supposed to be funny, but were only really funny in that warm-and-fuzzy kind of way that appeals to sentimental old buildings.

On the forty-seventh floor, Lou came out to the balcony and Mr. Pegasus was right there, his radio antenna blinking and Claire was a little way down and her fiery red roof tiles were as beautiful now as the day Lou met her. On their first date they went to the Sistine Chapel and Lou climbed onto Claire's roof and picked boogers from Adam's nose. She giggled and the windows rattled. Then they went to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and pushed it over. Just pushed it the fuck over. One thing lead to another, led to a train entering a tunnel, and then smoke was billowing out of her chimney.

Lou said to Mr. Pegasus, “are you excited about becoming a grandfather?”
His rooms shuffled awkwardly and said, “sure, why not.” Lights flickered. “Are you thinking of having kids soon?”
Claire looked up at Lou, big flickering lights and heavy curtain cheeks.
“You didn't tell them?” he said.
“Tell us what?” the Pegasus Towers asked.
“We're pregnant.”
“Claire,” her father said. “Is this true?”
Claire whimpered and burst a water pipe. It leaked through her floors and soaked the carpets and dribbled down the side of her face. She was an ocean inside.
“No,” she said, in her little night-time voice. “I'm not pregnant.”
The towers went dark and cold and silent.

“What happened?” Lou asked.
“Nothing happened,” she said, sniffling.
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing happened! I'm not fucking pregnant, I never was, ok! I was scared. Can we just drop it?”
“What were you scared of, Claire? What were you scared of?”
“I was scared you would leave me.”
“So you lied to me? About a fucking child!? You're insane.”
“Don't do this to me. I knew this would happen. Stupid fucking chimney-sucking prick!” Her roof-tiles trembled and started coming loose.
“I can't take this... I was trying to do the right thing by you! I can't take this any more.”

He climbed over the balcony. It was a long drop. The impact was forty-seven floors worth of splinters and broken porcelain. It was like a hurricane came through. But it just came through right there and touched nothing else, even though it felt as though the geography had been permanently altered.
Mr. Pegasus turned to Claire with a twitch of a grin and said, “honey, baby, clarinette, my little fairy princess... that boy wasn't right for you.”
 Bio: S.T. Cartledge is a professional flรขneur, part time turtle-trainer, and part turtle. He enjoys long turtle walks in the park, long turtle walks from the beach to the ocean, and occasionally snapping at leaves and old people. He has also made a habit out of writing things he sees. Everything he writes is some variation of the truth. You can visit him and his turtle friends at Turtle rides: $5.

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