(Timed 15 minutes. The picture is “Hot Date” by Matt Waggle)
It was lovely, the way she burned. She lent a warmth to the walls and the windows and blended with the tablecloth he had bought from Vienna. The smoke curled in rings, like opium burning in the Orient.
He took another sip of wine. 1964; it had been a good year for sauvignon blanc. He was a man of exquisite taste, particularly with his women. He liked those with fire in them, whose eyes flashed, “No man can have me.” Separating true firebrands from imposters was like inspecting tanzanite, but he was well-skilled. He charmed them by provocation, making them feel loathing and fascination for him, until they could bear both his presence and absence no longer. And he was a handsome man, was he not? A connoisseur who excited the delicacies presented to him, making them want to be eaten.
He emptied his glass and leaned back, marveling at the colors before him. The clock chimed ten times and woke him from his thoughts. It was still early, and there were still many more women he could charm. The scent of burning oil stimulated him, sharpened his senses. He put his glass down and gave a last look at…her name had been Maria, hadn’t it? Then he started looking for his hat.