Quicksilver. The word rocketed through Jason’s mind like the gasp through his lungs as he saw the thermometer broken on the floor. Instantly, he stooped, eyes as wide as doubloons. She went rolling, seemingly helplessly, like a martyr, over the red linoleum. He gave singularity to her, a personality, an entity. Glistening like nothing else he had ever seen, she, Mercury, played with the light. She invited it into her being to roll it raucously around and up and down her body as her silver hips tumbled about on the floor. The sight of this seductively silver confidence buoyed him like a balloon of hot tea in his stomach, the peppermint kind that rich distant relatives had given him the one time he and his mom had scraped up enough money to visit.

What a contrast Mercury was to Jason’s everyday life! A life of grime-coated apartments, nightly gunshots, rats scuttling in the walls, an empty pantry, second- or third- or fourth-hand everything… Somehow, Mercury represented freedom in Jason’s subconscious mind. Freedom, vitality, energy, power! Everything. She incarnated everything that was denied to him at school by the bullies, uncaring teachers, and empty pockets.

He wanted to touch her. He wanted to imbibe whatever simmered beneath her surface to make her burst so with vitality. Marveling turned to enchantment, and Jason’s perception narrowed. Mercury piped a lilting tune, slovenly and sexual. She tempted, “Drink me in. Yes, drink deep of my truth tonight. You are a fool, and you are mine, adulterer.” His hand made contact, and the demon of Folly laughed.

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