Sallow knew imbibing in his own product was foolish. Absinthe is a potent mix of wormwood, hyssop, lemon balm and aniseed macerated in alcohol. Bohemians and creatives named it, The Green Fairy. In the early twentieth century, absinthe was banned in America after reports found it had psychedelic properties that led to violence.
“What for?” says Cash.
Sallow pours him another. “They were sniffing around for free product.” Sallow spits.
A few more swills, then Cash’s tongue flops out of the side of his mouth. He looks like a tired puppy. His eyes bulge, and an explosion of excrement soils his pants. His lifeless body slumps forward. .
Eva raps on Sallow’s door. “Hey, Sallow. It’s me, Eva. Is my husband around?”
Sallow’s gunmetal eyes peek through the peephole. His mouth breaks into a rictus grin. He opens the door.
“He’s not here,” sneers Sallow.
Eva lowers her voice. “Oh, I see.”
Sallow offers her a drink. She slowly nods. He fetches a bottle of absinthe.
“Say, that’s a strange place to keep..."
“La Fe`e Verte… The Green Fairy. I keep it for special occasions.”
Sallow’s hands tremble as he measures shots into Tarragona glasses. He pours water over a sugar cube resting on a flat slotted spoon. The contents turn from natural green to opalescent white.
Sallow gestures towards a cream chaise lounge. A dusty painting of Camellias hangs crooked against paint-blistered wall. He hands her a glass.
“How sweet.” Eva smiles. “And, an afterglow of herbal aroma.”
“Doubles.” Sallow adds.
“Sounds wild,” Eva teases. “Do you often have friends over?” she inquires.
Sallow smiles inward.
“Rarely. Some appear, for various reasons. And some remain underground.”
“Ahh… absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.” She twirls her hair like a schoolgirl.
If she keeps wringing her hair, I’ll hang her from the chandeliers, Sallow muses.
… ever married?” Her dark eyelashes flutter like butterfly wings.
“My ex tried to poison me forty years ago. I don’t know why… I was busy poisoning myself.”
She jiggles her empty glass. Sallow pours.
“Thanks, you are so kind.” Eva’s voice scales the walls. She slips off her shoes.
Sallow remembers a similar tone, years before.
“And yourself, Eva. Ever married?” Sallow inquires.
“Oh, my shex-husband was alcoholic. The current one is, shoo. The firsh was dirty rish.”
Sallow envisages a coat hanger around her neck.
They stare at the fireplace. Sallow goes to the kitchen and pours her The Extra Green Fairy, and himself, The Green Fairy.
He returns and hands her a glass. “There you go.”
Sallow stokes the fire. He hears the clink of a glass and catches a blurred motion of Eva’s hands in his peripherals. He hesitates before returning the stoker to its holder. He sits then takes a deep slug.
“So, you’ve been married twice.” Sallow affirms.
“Yes, twice. It’s me, Evonne.”
Sallow’s jaundiced face shrivels with recognition. He collapses before he can reach the stoker.