LOADED QUESTION Excuse me, but do I have a spare cigarette? No, I don’t. Well, then, do I have a match so she can light the cigarette she already has in her mouth? No, I don’t have that, either. She walks down the stairs anyway, a little uneasily, and strolls along beside me. Do I want some company then? What kind of company does she mean? The friendly kind, she says, and I feel her hand touch my wrist. The question she asked and the answer she gave float through my head. Doesn’t everyone want company? I think to myself, especially the friendly kind? But I don’t think that that’s what she wants to hear. I’m not a wise guy, and I don’t want to be rude. Instead, I smile dumbly. Finally, she explained her interested more clearly. I was thinking of a photograph by Brassai, and Parisian women with thick calves who stood under lamplights smoking cigarettes in the 1930’s when she asks me if I want to have sex? And I don’t know how to answer. It’s really a very loaded question.
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