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He was sleazy all right. But he had a nice hairstyle. I had to have that hair; it's my weakness. As a child I was molested by a Vidal Sassoon salesman. I'm actually not sure whether that really happened, but that's far more interesting than the alternative stories, and it makes a passable excuse for my hobby. I smiled and let him order another drink. I had pegged him from across the room as the sort who would lure me with sugar, a gummy worm at the end of his line. But instead of a dacqueri I found straight-up bourbon on the tray.

Lucky, in some ways now, others later? I wonder if he has any pets but then assuage my conscience with a quick check for cat hair. If he has any pets they're bald or hamsters. I hate hamsters.

Surreptitiously, I entertain a fantasy. I imagine following him back to his hamsterless abode where we draw up a plan for world conquest incorporating the twin gods: molotov cocktail and french poodle. I snicker and he looks up, curiously. My glass is empty.

I brush his hair out of his eyes and he puts his hand on my knee as he orders another. A pro. Good.

Seconds elapse and we are out in the taxi cab. Some ambiguous star reminds us to fasten our seatbelts and I smile, acutely aware that this is a crash no seatbelt could prevent. Right on schedule he notices my scars. Right on cue he coos and touches them reverentially. This always makes me cringe a little. I sigh and finger my impatient knife.

When the blood comes it comes willingly. It comes deeply. I've seen this before, back in Omaha with a waitress from a misplaced delicatessen. Sometimes the lonely ones, they understand.

Which is, I hope, enough, as I only hope to one day understand. Generally I think only of the touch of hair, the thrill of more to the story, the morning light in another someone else's apartment. Then, the prize. In the midst of sacrifce there comes a smell drawn from the depths and fastened to my psyche like some lost child. In the midst of sacrifice there comes the smell of cold porcelain. A cold, non-reactive solid - all I could really ask for. Fuck Vidal Sassoon.

And I did. I think. Yeah.

Because that is when the night gathers around me, a duststorm of stars and acrid smoke, and I lurch into the light of the washed-out street. I hang back in the shadows. The dirty air reminds me of what I always forget in preparation: the disappointment. All the passion and large words, and I'm left with my "prize": a handful of someone gone, the sense of ending, and a big dry-cleaning bill.

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