Downward Dog by Melanie Browne

Wendy was proud of her victorian-era mourning ring. Her ex fiancee had given it to her one Christmas wrapped in red tissue paper. It displayed a skull and eerily shared her own initials. A strange thing to give a loved one on a Holiday celebrating the birth of Christ, but she adored it. When they broke up a year later, he had asked her to return it knowing its value but she had adamantly  refused and quit returning his phone calls. After a few  months he gave up entirely. She wore it to teach her tuesday night yoga class, and to dinner every night with her vegan friends. She never took it off.

Recently she had started chatting with a man over the internet. He had so far not asked her to purchase him an airline ticket, so she was not that worried. He claimed to be a vegan, but she noticed on his Facebook page he had claimed to “like” Stubbs Barbeque sauce, and that gave her pause. Even so, she let him talk her into meeting up at a bar on 7th street. Being new to Austin, she didn’t own a car but could easily walk the few blocks required to get anywhere she needed. The night of the blind date she selected a black  strapless dress and a pair of wedge heels. It was a beautiful night and Wendy sang softly to herself as she strolled  toward the bar. She kept her expectations low but was looking forward to a few drinks and hopefully some good conversation.

Wendy could see a few drifters sharing a cigarette as she got closer to the restaurant.

One of them was watching her and so she held her purse a little tighter to her chest and walked a little faster. She was getting nervous and was thinking about the conversations she had shared with  the man who called himself Tribang64. She wondered why she never asked his real name.

Maybe she just liked the intrigue. As she walked across the street to the bar she decided not to judge herself too harshly. It wasn’t like she was looking for a long term relationship.

She wasn’t looking for a one-night stand either. Tribang64 said in an email he wrote yesterday he was about six feet tall, medium build, with dark curly hair. He told her people told him he looked like an actor that she had never heard of. He told her he would be sitting at the bar and has asked her what her favorite drink was so he could have it waiting for her. She emailed back that she wanted a screaming white orgasm just to trip him up to see what he would say but he just wrote back that he would have a fresh one waiting for her .She wasn’t even sure if it was a real drink but someone had told her they had ordered it at a fancy resort once and it was a great icebreaker so she thought she would try it.

As she walked into the bar she nervously twisted the mourning ring around  and around on her finger. She scanned the bar and could see a man turning around to face her. She waved at him nervously and he waved back smiling. She wasn’t sure if he had waved her over but she walked to the bar and sat on the seat next to his. He looked her up and down carefully like a piece of meat. He actually looked a lot like he had said he would. He was handsome with a muscular jaw and intense eyes.

“Hello doll,” he said.

“Hey. Have you been waiting long?”

The man looked confused . “ah, no actually. Just got here.”

Wendy looked around for her drink but it wasn’t there. He pulled a long drink from his beer and looked at her again.

“Can I buy you a drink pretty lady?” he asked her.

“What happened to the screaming white orgasm?” Wendy asked in return.

She didn’t wait for him to reply. “Nevermind.  I’ll have a Jack and Coke.”

The man waved over the bartender.  “She’ll have a Jack and Coke.”

When her drink came Wendy stirred and drank several large gulps.

“I’m Tim.” He said holding out a cold hand.

“Wendy,” she said, not taking his hand, still angry about the drink.

“Are you Tribang 64?” she asked.

“Well, now, moving a bit fast aren’t we?” Tim said.

“It’s just that I ‘m worried I’m sitting next to the wrong person.”

“Oh, the handle, yes, of course I’m Tribang, are you Mytwitchingmistress?”

Wendy nodded.

“Thank God. I’m so relieved,” said Wendy, finishing off her drink.

They sat there awhile nursing a few more drinks.

The conversation wasn’t as lively as Wendy had expected, but she wasn’t exactly bored either.

After a while Tim looked at her and said “I lied about the vegan thing. I like steak.  I also lied about studying under Sting’s Yoga master, I suffered a slipped disc last year and became addicted to Vicodin, I haven’t done any yoga. I’m not sure I can do a yawning dog or cat or whatever you call it.”

Wendy listened and smiled. So he lied, she thought to herself. So what? It was just to get to know me better.

“It’s ok,” Wendy said.

Tim touched her elbow. “would you like to go back to my place. Honestly, it’s nothing but  a hell-hole but I have some good tunes, some good booze, and we could get to know each other a little better.”

Wendy glanced at her watch and then looked at Tim. He was so good-looking.

“Ok,” she said.

They walked to Tim’s car and after a few minutes Tim was weaving all over the interstate.

They pulled in front of a tiny house with potted plants and a wrap-around porch.

“is this your place?” she asked him.

“For now,” he answered.

They walked inside and Wendy plopped down on the couch.  Tim fixed her a drink. He put some Mountain on the stereo.

“Mississipi Queen, If you know what I mean.”  Tim sang.

He moved closer to Wendy on the couch.  He put his hand on her thigh. Wendy coughed and pushed his hand away. Tim moved it a little further until he could feel her silky bikini. This Time Wendy let his hand stay. He pulled his belt away and unzipped his pants, pulling Wendy down on the couch. He pulled her bikini down, easing himself inside her.

“Oh, “ Wendy moaned.

“That’s right, MytwitchingMistress, moan for daddy, “ he said.

It was over quickly. Tim fell over in a heap on the floor and Wendy pulled her clothes back on.

She could hear him snoring as she walked over to refrigerator and peered inside. There was some Stubbs Barbeque sauce, a 24 pack of Amstel Light, some eggs, and a carton of milk.

Wendy lit a cigarette and opened her mourning ring. She swiped at the white powder inside with her pinkie finger and knelt next to Tim. She pulled down his lower lip and smeared the powder around his gums. He stirred a bit but was snoring so loudly Wendy knew he was blissfully unaware of her actions.

She stuck her hand in his pocket and pulled out Tim’s wallet. She grabbed Tim’s car keys and walked out the front door.

The next night, Wendy received a terse email from Tribang64 asking asking Mytwitchingmistress to return his car pronto in the next 24 hours  or he would be calling the police. The email also suggested that Tribang felt he might have been poisoned and /or possible robbed. The email ended with some foul language being thrown about and some threats of violence and retribution.

Wendy deleted the email and prepared her bean salad. She had to teach yoga in a few hours and wanted to detox herself of that kind of negativity.

Melanie BrowneCo-editor of Leaf Garden press
Heaven is a Giant Pawn Shop/ Poems by Melanie Browne

& has a new mag The Literary Burlesque:

One thought on “Downward Dog by Melanie Browne”

  1. Melanie, Melanie, you evil girl. Loved this naughty piece of work! I actually had a dream once of a muorning ring that is similiar to yuor description. It was given as an engagment ring, only the second I slipped it on my finger, the skull (crystl) turned red, and the man I was with eyes rolled back in haed. We were in a basement, I tried to run up the stairs and the last thng i remember is him grabbing my legs and the door slamming shut at teh top of the stairs, he drug me down… and tht was the end of the draem. I like yuor version of the ring far more.. 😉

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