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Matryoshka Avenue sparks.

The street was cool in the evening time. This meandering track of stone was the river. All the tributaries fl0wed into it and made it a great rushing torrent. Above the noises and acrid smells Cliff sat in a metal swing on the wraparound porch. He ususally sat out here for hours watching and listening. Not vigilant and expectant like a sentry, more like a girl on a boring date watches the movie. Cliff unconsciously picked at a hang nail with his thumb and watched fireflies swirl. It is a pretty sight. Those bugs. With only a few days to live, they flew around lit up like chemical Neon and fucked anything that would let them.
This though reminded Cliff of his own sexual drought, and he sighed gazing out upon the asphalt. Across the street, right on cue, Old man Benoit turned on his Zenith color-mate 301. Jerome Benoit had watched the same show at the same time for 5 years. Right on cue, the host Rich somethingorother shook off the applause, and fat housewives with too much makeup and teased hair clamored for more prizes. Cliff wanted to dislike Mr. Benoit. He was a curmudgeon and used to go out on the stoop and yell at kids on his lawn. One day one of those kids threw a newspaper and broke the front bay window of Mr. Benoit’s breakfast nook. The glass broke, and the kids scattered like roaches. After that, Benoit never yelled at the kids anymore. He just stood out there glaring. Not so much rage inside, but not a quiet aquiesance. Just smoldering eyes under unkempt white eyebrows. An ice cube silently fighting the hot coffee around it.
The sodium lamps flickered on along the sidewalks, and now the fireflies, spent, were becoming scarce. Probably shacked up smoking cigarettes and fighting over the Big Spoon.
Cliff sat there and gazed left. Gazed right. Empty. And the paperwork was almost done. Diana the Huntress dotted a few more eyes, and the street was his. The street was motionless. Still life in suburbia. Quiet and clean. No sound. Cliff strained looking for a Cricket, anything alive. He sat forward in the swing perking his ears to the night. A scraping sound as a dry leaf blew by but that was it. No dogs. Not even a rustle in the leaves. Looking into his lap, Cliff picked up the glass pipe and studied it up close. Red swirls on a milky background. It was solid in his hand; very real. He lit it and took a draw. The weight of the pipe gave it an almost visceral quality despite the mist pouring out of the mouthpeice. He took another draw and began to feel the effects. The wind picked up and carried the smoke swirling and dancing down the river.
“Cliff is out on the porch again” sandy told her mother. I see him watching the neighborhood almost everynight. Sandy was an amateur astronomist, and liked to sit at the window stargazing until bedtime. Mostly. Some nights she trained her magnified gaze toward the house across the street. She would watch Cliff sitting there. Sometimes smoking. Once rubbing himself inapropriately for public view. But mostly just watching. They had talked before. In fact, he said hi to her several mornings a week while grabbing the paper in a faded Dallas Cowboys robe. But it was never real. It might as well have been a recorded greeting on the flesh and blood answering machine. Stepping away from the eyepeice, Sandy flicked on her bathroom light and began to squeeze out some toothpaste.
10:51 PM. The neighborhood was dark. Not a grimey dark like a mechanic’s fingernails. A cold and pure dark, like a thin layer of outerspace had descended over the silent landscape. Cliff, now on bowl number 3, cracked open a 24oz Steel Reserve High Gravity and kicked his feet up on the porch railing. His mind drifted to thoughts of mortality. Girls for making new people, and grandparents to get rid of the old ones. And he gazed out starry eyed and innocent into the abyss.

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