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Happy Hour

December 3, 2010

by Lynda Fleet Perry

Breasts thrust from tight
dresses, the sharp
features of forty-something
party people perfectly
coifed and lacquered,
ubiquitous dark-manicured
toes gleaming from black
sandals. Everyone miles tall,
nibbling straws
at the edges of their glasses.
Gloss and tussle, harsh
talk and laughter,
everyone louder than
the other, life at a dull
roar. The ice clinks
in the glass. The red
wine seeps into upholstered
barstools. The muscled
bartender with tattoos
smiles politely, not very
brightly, explaining
four hundred thousand dollars
in renovations. This grotto
could be someone’s comfy
basement—sofa, pool table,
and bar—but the edges are
hard as the eyes of the thin,
determinedly sober women
who drink like pros, alternating
muscular martinis and geometric
glasses of iced water and
lemon. Always with lemon.
They laugh while their husbands
gaze, with each drink
tossed back the gaze a bit
emptier, the talk lingering
on coke-soaked parties, ski
bums, and mountain biking.
The breasts tilt towards them, always
peaking, pushed by wired bras,
miraculously expanding spandex.
Conversation grows more about
less as the evening pours on. A
handsome-as-a-model man
whispers his lust for women
who look like tramps—his
words, tramps—with slits
in tight skirts up to there. They
must be blonde, with bodies
to kill for
, he says. I lean back
against the excavated columns,
palming the same glass of wine
I have sipped all night. We are
way past happy hour now.


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Lynda Fleet Perry lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and daughter. She has worked as a freelance writer and communications consultant for nonprofits. Her poems have been published in Lumina, New Zoo Review, and The Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering.

Categories: The Crowd Tags:
  1. December 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Cool images, Lynda.

  2. Lynda Perery
    December 6, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Thanks so much, Judith!

  3. Jennifer
    December 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Your words truly brought this evening to life; powerful images.

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