Her Own Private Rapture – By Philip Gaber

She’d be sitting alone, smoking a cigarette or drinking a glass of red wine in some sparsely-populated bar somewhere uptown, staring into the strained and obvious light.

Inevitably, some guy with beer nuts and Budweiser on his breath would accost her with some line like, “Let’s be laughing together next year,” and flash her a smile that usually reminded

her of those photographs her dentist would show her, depicting the beginnings of periodontal disease.

“Thanks,” she’d say, “but it’s not the right time in my life to be lowering my standards.”

Sometimes the guy would laugh.

Sometimes not.

Usually not.

Which was fine with her.

What did she care if she pissed some guy off?

It was her life’s work, in some ways.

After sitting and drinking for several hours, she’d gather her stuff, and walk to a coffee shop or

an all-night movie theater.

Sometimes she’d go home and get her pocket-size Bible, bring it with her and during especially boring moments, turn to the Psalms or the Book of Daniel, chapter 6, which opens with the tribulation days, when the anti-Christ comes on the scene riding a red horse, and ask the nearest stranger, “Have you had your own private rapture yet?”

Most people would squint hard, shake their aching heads, and mutter something over their breath like, “what a tormented soul.”

She’d smirk at them, sometimes show a toothy little grin, and close the Bible, walk to the nearest payphone, and dial her latest lover; usually a guy without disposable income, often on disability from some accident on the job or while serving their country.

“Yo,” they’d say.

“What’s goin’ on?” she’d say.

“Shiiit…”

“Any news?”

“Bout what?

“I dunno – just lookin’ for a little good news…”

“Good luck,” they’d say.

“You drunk?”

“Nope…”

“Sounds like it…”

“Little wine’s good for the heart…”

“A little…”

Usually a long pause here, followed by a silence known only to lonely women and fallen idols.

“I’ll be home in a few minutes…” she’d say.

“Take your time…”

“Why?”

“Just kiddin’…”

“Did you feed Roscoe?”

“Sure did.”

“Half a can of Alpo, half a scoop of the dried food?”

“Yup.”

Small pause here.

“I’ll talk to you later…”

“Adios.”

She’d hang up, go back to the sparsely-populated bar somewhere uptown, waiting for the next

guy with Budweiser and beer nuts on his breath to buy her a drink and say, “Doesn’t the rain make you blue…?”

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Philip Gaber is a freelance writer working in North Carolina.

4 Comments
  1. Reply
    JJ Daniels
    March 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Enjoyed it. Succinct while still conveying a powerful feeling.

  2. Reply
    Roberta SchulbergGoro
    March 17, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Brilliantly written vivid scene of no land AND no employment. Well-wrought terse construction.

  3. Reply
    grace rudolph
    March 18, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I liked this one. You caught her feelings of emptiness and loss of hope with a few well-chosen words. Good job.
    Grace

  4. Reply
    Bob Burnett
    March 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Nice piece of work.
    Bob Burnett

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