A half-wild peacock and a winded dog took to talking late in a hotel bar, neither as drunk as they pretended to be. The dog wheezed a hello and the peacock nodded and allowed him to buy her a drink. “I’m falling into a life crisis,” the peacock said. The dog thought that might signal an in, so he ordered another round and they moved to a booth.
The peacock wore earrings of the sort he could never buy her and a strapless sheath that left her shoulders exposed as warm, naked pearls under the lights. The hound only looked good when his face was touched with stubble and his clothes ruffled. Though he knew that she deigned to talk to him only because she was desperate, he still appreciated it. He had been desperate for a long time, and he could see that she was new to it.
“The relationship’s been bad for about two years,” she said as soon as they’d sat down.
“How long has it been a relationship?”
“About two years.”
He nodded. “He buy you those earrings?”
“You want them?” she asked. The dog shook his head.
“He’s married,” he half-asked.
“No, he was only married for the first year.”
“She die or leave him?”
“No. He left her.”
“For a while, I thought it meant things would change.” He nodded to show he was listening and had nothing to say, held his hand up for the waiter.
“They are nice earrings, though,” the peacock said, stroking one, looking at it. It was a tower that stretched halfway to her collarbone, a portal for the eyes to glide on along her neck. “Nice dress, too.”
“It ain’t money that makes a man,” said the dog.
“I prefer whiskey to champagne.”
“That,” he said, “I can get you,” and motioned for the waiter again.
She smiled, “I wonder if I’m older than you.”
“Either way, talking ‘bout that will just depress both of us.”
“What kind of girl do you like?” the peacock asked.
The dog chewed his lip and leaned back in thought. “Take the earrings off,” he said.
When the waiter finally came, they asked for the check.