That Mocking Pretension

Another night, another party. Drinks are everywhere, left sweating rings on a dark end table, held loosely and sloshingly in argumentative hands, raised cool and collected to lips pressed together. The colours are bright as sin, sizzling like the jazz music that streams from the stereo, the necklines and hemlines high, the suits loose and flowing. Three men, in emerald green, garnet red, sapphire blue have cornered Leslie, pressed him back into a corner by the patio, and are trying to get his opinion on some political thing or another. He is bored, bored, bored, and cannot keep it out of his face or his voice. He doesn’t try.

He yawns, presses long fingers against his mouth politely. “It is not sadness that prepares us for tragedy,” he says, and chews on a cocktail onion. “Nor melancholy, nor suffering. Only the joyful contented are ready for revolution.”

The men are baffled and angry and leave loudly. He eats another onion, pleased at its sharp bitterness.