Fake Diamonds Scrape the Sky

By Martina Zanetti

There is a floating cafe near the old port. Ten plastic tables on a raft, half-asleep in the sun. I sit alone and let the wind ruffle my hair.
Anita blows me a kiss from the bar.
“Tanqueray and Tonic?”
Little waves go up the canal. A yellow glimpse. A candy wrapper drifting in the water below.
“What are you reading today?” Anita sets my glass on the table, swift bubbles swimming up, like the silver fish of San Pedro.

A couple of Russians drink beer next to me. The man has blazing blue eyes that shine in the sun. The woman draws idle shapes with her fingers, her fake diamonds scraping the sky. I light up a cigarette and close my eyes.
Venice Beach, the sun bleeding to death. The restaurant is monochromatically blue. Hands in his pockets, Johnny Depp stares out from the wall. The waitress is a nice girl from Pasadena. Slender. Big hips. Tight dress. Everybody calls her Malice around here. She slides two Margaritas across the table and wiggles her hips away. Some salt falls off the rim.

The Russians rise slowly. A girl wearing a saffron yellow shirt and matching sunglasses dances her way through the tables. She falters soundlessly on her pumps. Plastic green pumps and red lipstick. She is a rich, saturated image of a parrot. Her cell phone cries one time. “Hi, baby”—she waves a bee away—”are you coming over?”

Martina Zanetti splits her time between New York City and Trieste, Italy. A political scientist turned stylist, she loves disco balls and plastic palm trees.
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