Sequence: Rite of Spring (part one)
Not much, I know you prize/What pleasures may be had
Who look on life with eyes/Estranged, like mine, and sad
“From The Hymn of Empedocles”
Talou had not, after all, tracked his prey to a pick-up joint of the city’s underbelly. But his first impression—like the crocuses in O’Hara Park that ringed the sycamores—had opened outwards, a thing of simple beauty gone blowsy, as he’d gained a fuller understanding of Curtis Boardman.
Rob Healy lounged aloof at Boardman’s left.
He was a few years older than the other students. These aspiring dramatists might note Healy’s technique, while absorbing Boardman’s instruction, thus gain from both the showing and the telling.
One of the young men, the four of them clustered apart from the three girls, waved with a rude pretense of friendly differences. “I couldn’t hear what you said.”
The girls ringed Boardman’s feet, hung on his burdened pauses, intent eyes following the trail of his cigarette smoke.
“I said…” Healy didn’t move a muscle, but made his voice loud and distinct. One of the girls, whose drabness to Talou’s eye looked a studied effort (hair pinned to lopsided effect, cardigan a brown bag over a black linen sack), even wrenched her gaze from Boardman’s mouth, and glanced at Healy.
“…why not begin with a murder?”
Boardman looked long at him. Talou thought, what choice does he have?
Healy nettled, Healy obsessed Boardman. But he had given Talou a gift. Positioning himself to his own profit, Rob left at his rear a clear field within Boardman’s line of sight, and not within his own. Talou, drawing Stanley by the hand, found an iron bench, on a rise that overlooked both the class, and the canal. He stopped here, bending, elegant and slender, to brush with an unworkman-like tentativeness, at a few leaves and a dusting of chimney grit. Stanley stayed him, backed him away by the elbow, and with a gallant doffing of his cap, used this to sweep the seat clear.
And this bit of theater was the first disruption to fall between Boardman and Healy, though Healy had not yet realized it.
Rite of Spring
(2016, Stephanie Foster)