harry looked on with disapproving face muscles. she couldn't see them but she could hear the squelch of his fat face as it wrinkled up in anti-satisfaction. it didn't make any difference to her, she knew however well the track was laid there would be something to pick up on. and it came. a little longer than usual, but as forthright as ever.
'let me show you'.
'if you take a parallel siding off there, it won't meet the regulation length of an actual train, and we're going for authenticity, aren't we.'
'that's right, it should go this way'.
he intentionally brushed he breast as he put his cubby arm under her body and placed the plastic onto the mat.
'don't you think that looks more orthodox'.
'i'm not sure i'd know the difference, but i'll go with what you're telling me.'
'isn't that the reason your mom and pop, put you in my team'.
'to learn off the best, i know'.
'no i know, six years track layout champion, without a close contest'.
a few of the other modelers overheard this intentionally loaded comment, and started up the annual harry hate lines. it wasn't as though the arena couldn't hold this collection of collectors, but the organizers thought closer confinement would make for a better contest, even if a good twenty percent spent their day moaning about elbow room.

as there was a good third of the basketball court left free of plastic buildings, scatter grass and electric components, she wandered off to get some space. harry was tearing himself up inside when a old rival, came over to bait him.
'not you usual partner this year'.
'gretna would have wanted me to carry on. she always said the passion of my heart was 51 per cent taken by my rotating head and she'd settle for her 49.'
'well the replacement sure don't look like she'll be clocking off as soon as gretna'.
'she too young for you, jim'.
'maybe, but it they aint no harm in my thinking something else'.
'as long as you keep those thoughts away from those hands'.

harry cut it off as quickly as necessary, and looked back to see her talking to a boy about her age. his head made his legs respond.
'none this messing, we and you got to finish before four. 'they serve food at for and i'm not missing my free meal'.
'i know your free meal, its all that you come for'.
'that's damn right, winners privilege'.
she didn't respond, that avenue had been walked far too often.

after an hour and twenty three minutes an incident finally occured.
'someone's coming over to see you'.
she looked up to see her new acquaintance wandering over.
'hey that's some display'.
this pissed harry off. he had spent a full twelve hours on this piece to have some know it all punk kid come over and use it as a way in on his partner.
'don't get close to the set kid, its not ready'.
the eyes ran over each, but didn't resolve with more words and they were left alone again.
'jees harry, he was only saying hi'.
'that little pick was trying to sabotage our title little miss'.
'harry, he was doing no such thing, don't accuse people of things'.
'i've seen him lingering of there with his fucking dad, they want something off us.'
she chuckled.
'i'm meeting him for a drink later, that's why he's looking over'.
'a drink, you're fourteen for fucks sake, you're not old enough to go on dates'.
her face went red as quickly as harry's plan fell apart.
'you're not even fucking family harry, who do you think you are telling me what i can't do.'

he was left to finish the diorama alone while the local eyes ran their lips to comfortable companions. he knew, or thought it a near possibility that this was an inevitable outcome. it had been useless hoping for one opportunity to show her a difference in him. the chioce was ignoring her oblivious indifference to his increasing exuberance, but had to keep a check on ever letting truth come to bear. 'gretna always said not to hang on' was the recurring tread running through a mix of hope, and blindness.

gretna turned, and kept turning, earth moved with her. how the fuck could he do this to her memory. the legacy they'd built. the titles and joyous moments they had shared on the platform, now falling to nothing to the face of this girl. it pained her to she him like this, a mess of a man. not the man she had sharpened into the six year title holder. her memory was now held in direct comparison with this mess. this sight that creased the corners of all eyes on all sides. this pathetic pervert lost in his dead wife's memory. the anger built to a head, and she forced herself out at him. the scalpel moved off the table and fell point down, sticking into the wooden floor.

For the Win, & Her . 1998
© eric pentle. all editions signed by the artist.
Words written by the artist.