Contributor: Anthony Merklinger

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But sleep won’t come the whole night through...

There is a rapping at the door.

She turns her head from the bathroom mirror and listens as each knock fills the void in her apartment.

“Marra!” calls a voice from behind the door.

She refocuses her attention to the mirror. Behind the lipstick stains and fingerprints, there’s a beautiful young woman.

The rapping continues.

She picks up a stick of black eyeliner from beside the faucet and removes the cap. She inhales and tightens her face.

“Marra,” says the voice again, “I know you’re in there.”

She tilts her head and applies the liner.

The rapping continues.

She closes the cap and places the liner back on the sink. She reviews herself in the glass.

When tears come down like fallin’ rain…

She walks into the living room and lifts the needle from the turntable.

“Marra,” says the voice.

She puts on a pajama robe and tightens the belt around her waist.


She opens the door.

“Thank you,” the man says, lowering his clenched fingers to his side. He stands back and reviews her.

“Well?” she says.

“I, uh… I need your rent money.”

She tilts her head. “I thought...”

“Not this time.”

“You say that every time,” she says, running a finger up his torso.

He tightens his posture. “No. I need the money.”

“I don’t have it.”

“What do you mean?”

She loosens her belt.

“Look, Melissa…”

She wraps her left hand gently around the back of his neck. Her fingertips nestle in his hair.

“Melissa…” he says.

She presses herself against him.


He pushes her against the doorframe. “That’s it. I can’t do this anymore. You have a week to clear out.” He wipes his mouth and walks down the hallway.

She looks up at the ceiling and exhales like a teapot ejecting steam. She runs her tongue against the inside of her cheek and walks into the room.

A gust of wind surges through the hallway and slams her door shut. The needle on the turntable falls.

You’ll walk the floor, the way I do…

She walks to the turntable and snaps the needle off.

Static fills the void in her apartment.

She removes her robe and collapses onto the air mattress. Her body fills the sweat-stained sheets.

A pigeon flies onto her windowsill.

She stands up and overturns the mattress. She grabs her pillow and swings it across the coffee table, knocking capsules of lipstick and fashion magazines across the room.

She stumbles and breathes heavily.

A second pigeon flies onto her windowsill.

She walks into her kitchenette and opens a box of cereal. She tilts the box and a wave of Cheerios crashes against her face. She opens the fridge and empties the remnants of a carton of milk into her mouth.

She stumbles around. Her feet crush the cereal against the floor, and milk trickles down her legs.

A third pigeon flies onto her windowsill.

She takes a vase of flowers and throws it against the wall. The glass shatters and the flowers spill onto the floor.

There is a rapping at the window.

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Anthony Merklinger is a full-time undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Full Sail University in Creative Writing for Entertainment.
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