Issue 2 Issue 2 Fiction


By Riley Quinn Scott

Simone has very little will to do anything but contemplate life’s progression

Simone has a lot to do, a lot on her mind, a lot of caffeine in her system, and very little will to do anything but contemplate life’s progression. She wonders if the stories she writes are worth reading, and if maintaining a friendship with her ex-lover Aldo is retarding her development. Aldo is the coolest man Simone ever met. Aldo has a sublime sense for aesthetics. Aldo wears unisex perfume and fucks so well it is an art. Simone fell in love with Aldo in the span of a month. She has not stopped weeping since. He says they share an artistic sensibility and therefore must stay friends. Simone texts Aldo about literature. Simone is 12 years his junior. Aldo believes she is too young to be his lover any longer but a good age to be his assistant. Simone acts older than she is but knows she has a long way to go. In life. In love. In ways of being. Simone can’t stop writing about Aldo. Two weeks ago Aldo moved to Paris. He texts Simone he is having an existential crisis. He wonders if he’ll ever achieve anything to demonstrate his specialness. He says he knows he is very special. Simone once felt she was destined for great things but Simone doesn’t know anything anymore. Simone feels sad when she sits still so she won’t let herself sit still. If Simone sits for too long she will inevitably wish for a man’s tongue to slip up her legs and flutter at her concentrated center. But it is Aldo she visualizes when she touches herself before bed, and Aldo told Simone today he has a new French girlfriend. Aldo cannot be alone. Aldo does not think about Simone romantically anymore. Simone works overtime at the coffee shop, bookstore, and art gallery. Simone skips meals and drinks excessive cups of matcha tea. Simone starves herself to avoid feeling. Simone is scared of regression. Aldo lives off of cigarettes, bread and black coffee. Aldo makes friends with therapists and Balenciaga goths. Aldo doesn’t think twice about having sex with strangers on cliffs. Aldo is looking for that missing thing. Aldo wants a baby. Aldo wants to make $200,000 in passive income. Simone doesn’t sing in the shower. Simone makes it through one more hour. Simone doesn’t know if she is a writer anymore because she only writes about interiority. Simone knows a story should move. Towards what? Simone picks up the phone when Aldo calls. Simone wants to end it there. Simone laughs like she likes being his friend. Simone cries at the end. Simone pushes 100 on the freeway asking Aldo about his day. Aldo says he is well, very well, maybe he has never been better. Simone says good. Simone switches lanes. Simone doesn’t tell Aldo about her day because he doesn’t ask. 

The Pleasures of Drawing

May I have that? 

The little boy stares at her from behind embarrassing glasses. His eyes puppy-dog her, an effective strategy in his experience. He and her don’t often speak the same language. He speaks her language when he wants something from her. Otherwise, the little boy sticks to his mother tongue. She considers his miniature hand, its pink completeness as it points at the sheet of paper in front of her. She is in the process of drawing a heart, or her idea of one. She is not thinking too much about what her hands are creating. The heart in her drawing has many jagged lines spreading out from its center. She realizes she has drawn a heart of broken glass. Some shards of the heart have been coloured in so they are full of red. Other shards have been left white and alone.

You want my drawing?

The little boy’s careful race car blinks upside-down at her from his side of the dining room table. 

Yes. I like it. I want it. Can I have it?

The boy speaks her language politely. She thinks his face looks cute asking her for things she doesn’t have to give. She, as his au-pair, feels indebted to him for giving her a place in his life. She slides her drawing over to him with curled fingers, hiding her bitten, raw fingertips. The little boy pulls the paper towards him. He is excited to leave his mark, and begins using a green crayon to fill in the shards she left alone. 

The au-pair takes another sheet of white printer paper from the stack she left on the table. Paper is the same weight, size, and shape in most countries. She enjoys how when they draw, they sit in silence. This is a time to feel happy and not like they are pretending. When they draw, they agree without words on the pleasures of drawing, of clean sheets of paper, of sharpened crayons and pencils. Drawing protects them from language.  

She places her phone in the middle of the table and presses play. Minimalist synth music quietly seeps from its speakers. The little boy doesn’t react to the music, too engrossed in coloring the shards of her heart green. Under his hands, her broken heart grows to resemble a Christmas ornament. It is the middle of May. When she first became his au-pair, she would ask the boy what music he liked to listen to, and he would pretend he couldn’t understand her question. She understood. She also wouldn’t like to have a stranger living in her home. In her time with him, she learned the things that matter to the boy most are yoghurt, where his mother and father are, and activities demanding intelligence. This little boy is different from her brothers back home. Those little boys spent their days running and filling the air with foul language. 

Taking in the bug-eyed boy in front of her, the au-pair decides he will emerge from childhood a stoic man. She imagines him seeking a quiet partner to live with in a place populated by trees instead of people. She pictures him taking the train into the city, where he loosely makes use of his creativity working at a profitable business. He could be an architect, she thinks, as the little boy looks up, not at her, but to stare at the ceiling for a moment, before reaching for a different color, blue this time, to shade in around the edges of her broken heart. 

Blue, she thinks. InterestingI wouldn’t have chosen that.

Riley Quinn Scott is a writer from Los Angeles. @stuff3d_rabb1t