The lights go down, the audience hushes singularly, as though their murmurs were a group effort and not individual conversation. Soft music pipes from somewhere behind, some sort of jazz, fast paced yet slow enough to keep the moment. The lucky patrons in the front row can smell the faintest hint of cigarette smoke floating behind the curtain. It opens, then, when no one is expecting it, flung back with a great flourish. The light comes from somewhere above the stage, no shadows, only the four players gathered around the little coffee table and on it, the board.
One of them rolls, haphazardly, her eyes twinkling mischievious as she stares in his direction. The hotels are upset by her dice, flying everywhere, causing the blond one to yell in frustration. It’s girls against boys, and the tension in the room is obvious. Back and forth, the money changes hands, back and forth. They roll, move their little pieces down the allotted number of spaces, letting fate choose for them. He’s unlucky, they’ve decided, every roll of his brings the impending disaster of financial ruin closer and closer to their team. Blue eyes find his brown, and she giggles, knowing he knows there’s no way out. She shifts, the floor suddenly too uncomfortable for her, sliding her foot under his leg and letting it rest there, as if she doesn’t feel his weight on it. She waits, taking a sip of her poison while the brunette rolls. His hand finds her ankle, then slides up, silent acknowledgement of her move. There is more than one game going on at this little table, and they are lucky players, testing strategy versus fate. This continues for some time, the rolling, the yells, the agony, the joy as the girls finally begin to take the upper hand. Their properties are all bedecked with hotels, while the unlucky boys have been forced to mortgage most of theirs. When they concede, the girls high five and hug, pulling their piled money closer to them to take the final count. There is no uneasy silence, only the soft moans of defeat and the ecstatic squealing of girls who came back to take it. She’s lucky, and she knows it, sitting there, slididng her foot up his leg.
The fan is on, the windows open, so the three of them, two pretty girls and the unlucky man, find themselves sitting out in the perfect city night. There are no stars, obviously, city living takes the wonderful away, but the sounds of distant sirens and cars bring another feeling to the situation. They are comfortable, surrounded by darkness on their well-lit porch. They wait, and then throw the remains as far over the fence as they can, hoping they’ll land in the street and be forgotten until morning. The brunette with the brown eyes makes her excuses, blaming the need for sleep, and goes inside. The two of them, both dark haired, somewhere between black and brown, sit there a minute longer, lingering over nothing.
She takes her spot, perching on the couch under piles of blankets and stacks of pillows. He joins her, unexpectedly, but to her delight and hopefully his. They put in the movie they fell asleep to the night before, and wait as the blond one checks his email and goes to sleep. They lay there, on the couch, under the blankets, and let their hands find each other. He puts his hand on her shoulder, rubbing gently, as she puts hers on his stomach, unmoving but comfortable. And when he is finally gone, and they hear the door down the hall close, he leans in toward her face and kisses her. Her eyes close, and for the next few minutes, or hours, they make the soft advances they are allowed. Just kissing, only eyes and ears and lips and necks, hands find backs and shoulders and arms and finally other hands, and she opens her eyes and stares into his. They laugh, there’s something funny now, a giggle here, a whispered word in his ear.
And they fall asleep content.
As his slow snore fills the little liviing room, the jazz music that had faded after the Monopoly game slowly starts to overtake their breathing, and the curtain drops.