Tennis shoes with a glazed finish and unscuffed soles. Pants, slack and held up by some unknown mechanism under his buttocks. A crimson, numbered, and named red jersey over a white t-shirt, both obscuring his underwear. A bright red baseball cap angled obliquely on his skull completes the ensemble.
“What’s wrong with my clothes?” He asks.
“I’m not in the mood to write an essay, James.”
“It’s James. Go back to your apartment, get some denim and a shirt you can get paint on, get torn up, and generally, you know, ruined. I have a pair of gloves you can wear.”
“Blue jeans. And leave your cell-phone here.”
“This is work, not a vacation.”
“This is bullshit.”
“Cassandra not being able to pay her rent because you. Stole. From. Her. Is bullshit. You can keep your cellphone and your clothes and walk right back to her apartment with an eviction notice pinned to the back of your shirt if you’d like.”
James' lips curl into his mouth and he bites down. “Fine.”
She takes another sip of coffee as he shuffles forward, one hand plumbing his pockets, the other countering gravity and force’s effect on his pants. He pulls out a cheep, sleek clamshell phone and holds it over the desk. He drops it after the antique clock in the corner of her office tocks twice.
He turns around and shuffles out.
Marina listens to his footsteps attenuate before grabbing the phone, flipping up the screen, opening the dialed numbers list, and scrolling through every call and text he made for the past week.
She gets out a knife-sharpened wooden pencil and starts writing down the unnamed numbers. Then, named numbers that were called rarely, again for the numbers he rarely received calls from.
She writes out categories and frequencies before copying the commonly called numbers. She exits the the main menu, claps it shut, and sets it precisely where James dropped it on her desk. She tears off the page, folds it, and sticks it in the oiled, aged green metal file cabinet.Marina takes a long sip from her mug as she hears Jame’s footsteps scuff across the linoleum.
“And boots. Don’t forget boots.”
He whispers, “god damnit.” She hears him.
She picks the phone back up, and navigates to the text messages. She selects a few sent by a girl named Alexandra.
The ones with pictures.