clean the drafts

2

Sankta, they cried. Sankta Alina.

My eyes burned with the smoke. The smell was sickly sweet.

Sankta Alina.

No one knew his name to curse or extol, so I spoke it softly, beneath my breath.

“Aleksander,” I whispered. A boy’s name, given up. Almost forgotten.

3

I have this horrific thing where I’m really bad with names and faces. I have an appalling memory. Someone will come up to me in the street and go, ‘Eddie!’, and I’ll try and give myself time by going into overdrive, ‘Hey, hi! Nice to see you!’ and start a whole conversation because I can’t distinguish between who I know and who I don’t.

The invitation comes hand-delivered by a man in a suit. Bitty’s the one to open the door, and hesitantly affirms when he’s asked if he’s Eric Bittle. The card is handed to him, and the man politely leaves, heading back to the black Lincoln idling outside. Bitty catches a few LAX bros peaking out their window, drawn to fancy cars like moths to a flame. 

“It wasn’t a lawyer,” Bitty calls, and five giant men unfurl themselves from where they’ve been cowering. 

He turns the card over in his hand. It’s thick, off white, bordered with metallic gold that looks suspiciously real. The whole thing is written in twisting calligraphy, so ornate he wouldn’t have been able distinguish his own name if he didn’t know to look for it. The flip side contains an invitation to Kent Parson’s housewarming party with the time and date, and RSVPs can be made via twitter. The card smells of Chanel No. 5.

Bitty Skypes Jack about it later that night. It’s a bit frustrating, because Jack doesn’t understand the subtleties of passive-aggression and keeps insisting that Kent just likes fancy things and genuinely wants them there at his party.

“It’s a game to him, Jack!” Bitty half yells, the card pinned to his wall as a reminder of what he’s up against. “Well, he has the resources, but I have the brains. Do you think you can find out what color his bathroom is? I want to give him clashing towels.”