September 28, 2012

Excerpt From "Private Transit", by Amy Bright

 The launch is in a week.  An excerpt a day until then.  Enjoy!

  The first time I saw him, he had a black eye.
  “What a shiner.”
  He looked around, the old, hey, you talking to me, but who else would I be talking to through the smoke cloud. I disarmed him with my finger guns, one of them pointed right in line with his bruised melon. His swollen socket.
  He put his free hand up to his face. The other hand was holding a guitar case, slick and new.
  “I don’t even remember it happening,” he said.
  “That,” I said, “is not the end of the world.”
  I pulled down my sweater and showed him the bruise on my arm. I wore it proudly, tank tops, shoulders bare. Doesn’t everyone want to show that they are loved so hard that there is someone out there who will not let them go, not even for a second?
  “You got his fingerprints on there?” the guy asked me.
  I pinched my skin and revolved it around my arm, taking a closer look.
  “They are there,” I told him. “In case a crime is committed.”
  He raised his eyebrows and I lowered my sleeve and we went back to not talking. If I am alone outside of the bar, I hold my breath very tightly in my chest and count out easy numbers in my head. My specialty is reaching thirty exactly every single time. When I am finished counting, I open the door and go back inside.
  Tonight I am breathing. In, out, in, out. It’s heavy humid, Florida-style. We rode the roller coaster at Disney World, me and my sister, when we were family-vacationing on a high school Spring Break. Our hair was wet where it touched our scalps and the ends went curly like it never happens anywhere else in the world. We fell out of the sky and dropped very quickly, safe inside our safety harness, our extra-strength plastic seatbelts.
  “I’m Tom,” he said, offering that spare hand. “Tommy.”
  Woah there, buddy, I wanted to tell him, hang onto your name. Don’t you read fantasy books.

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