I didn’t intend to write a sequel to “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” I really just wanted to write a story that pivoted around this ridiculous delay I faced on the train the other day. But Aidan and Swann showed up for me again, so, here you go.
R Forest Hills-71 Av12 minutes
It’s the middle of rush hour, and I need to be at school in less than an hour for the chemistry Regents, which I will probably fail. I drag myself to the far end of the platform so I’m in the right car when I get to the stop near school.
Aidan said he’s not going to take it. He said this last night— his parents weren’t home, and I was testing the limits of my curfew the same way I tested my alarms this morning, which is to say pretty fucking stupidly in both cases— “I’d probably just bomb it,” he chuckled, reaching for another handful of Skittles from the bowl on the coffeetable in front of their ginormous sofa. “Fuck it. It’s not like you really need it, either.”
“It’s just good to have options,” I’d replied, lamely, as he tossed the Skittles in his mouth and held back one of the green ones, my favorite, and slipped it between my lips. “I should be studying,” I added, even more lamely, after I chewed it and swallowed it, soft even just from that moment or two in his hand.
I said to Dakota, “What should I write a story about?”, and he said, “Write about the time Sookie got out.” So, based on the very true story of when I lived in Greenpoint and Sookie escaped for three days, this is “Bartosz and the Cat.”
Bartosz and the Cat
Bartosz was already running late, his paint-spattered boots smacking a staccato beat against the steel plates on the stairs, when he saw the cat, sitting under the stairs, her eyes wide and stupid. He remembered the face and the red collar from the flyer slipped under his door— “Lost Cat,” his daughter Kasia said, in her loud, clear English, “oh, Papa, ktoś stracił kota,” she translated into Polish for him. “Dziewczyna numer cztery.” He only nodded, grunted, “Hmmph.” The girl in number four. Why Cas had rented to an American girl, who could say. Probably she could pay. Greenpoint was getting more expensive by the month and, with one of those Brooklyn girls in, Cas would probably get greedy and see how much more he could charge.
And now her cat was missing. Except it wasn’t, because there it was, sitting under the stairs.