A cold wind blew past my face, forcing me to huddle into my scarf for warmth. The middle of January in upstate New York might as well be living in some kind of Ice Age for the sheer level of ice and snow that blew around this time every year. Guess it could be worse though, I could be living in Canada, perish the thought.
I looked up into the night sky, a full moon shining overhead, giving me blessed illumination as I walked through the park on my way home from work. Another long, grueling day of menial labor at a computer which would end up being compiled and lost in the system alongside all the other bullshit my co-workers did. It was a paycheck, but not much else, and it always left me tired and annoyed when I went home, needing some kind of release.
I shuddered against another cold blast of wind, the sound of it whistling through the trees made my spine shiver. Creepy ass park was always like this at night, and I can’t ever remember actually seeing anyone in it despite the playground equipment and jogging track. Taxpayer money well spent, huh?
“I need a fucking girlfriend.” I mumbled to myself, for perhaps the hundredth time. Wouldn’t that be nice? Returning home from this bullshit job after trudging through his bullshit park through this bullshit weather and having a nice, warm, loving girl to greet me? “Yeah right, like I’ll ever get off my ass and get dating.”
It’s the same fucking routine every week, and it’s only Tuesday. I can already feel a headache coming along, so I guess my night of Netflix and shitty Boston Lagers is going to be cancelled. Maybe this is some kind of blessing in disguise, eh?
I stopped and cocked my head, listening to the wind. That almost sounded like a word, didn’t it? Man I really was out of it, hearing things blowing in the wind. Christ, maybe I did need some drinks after all. I lingered on a moment longer before shaking my head and continuing to walk down the path, under the dim illumination of poorly maintained lights.
Once more I stopped, looking all around me. This was starting to get really, really creepy. Was there some kind of mugger out there? Or maybe some of those damn kids playing a prank? Fuck them, I’m only twenty-four, those little bastards should pick on the actual old people. Damn, did I look old to them?
“Fucking hell.” I muttered, shivering. This was no time to go off on a tirade about my own lack of self-confidence, this could actually be something serious! I looked about one more time and saw nothing before I shook my head and walked at a slightly faster pace.
The lights flickered all around me and then, all at once, went out.
I stood in the darkened, now slightly panicked. Fuck me, the power out, now? This piece of shit grid was always doing this, but why did it have to be on a night like this? At least the moon was full and gave some illumina…
Clouds moved in out of nowhere, blocking the moon and casting me into pitch blackness. Well shit, that’s just what I needed. I took a steadying breath to calm myself. “It’s alright, everything’s fine, you’re going to be okay.” I repeated as a mantra, trying to soothe myself. It was… moderately successful. Enough to allow me to take another step forward down the familiar path anyway.
A light before me flickered, the bulb sparking back and forth between life and death, casting vague images that my mind could comprehend. I stood there, waiting for some reason to see if any rays of light, the safety for my mind, would return to help guide me home, but instead of the path before me, I saw something else.
A gentle wind blew about, swirling around to caress my face with the bite of the Winter’s chill as I stared blankly at the flickering circle of light before me. In the fleeting spaces of vision, I saw a shape, thin and ephemeral, floating gently in the breeze. It stayed there, twirling back and forth across my vision, and I felt as if time had slowed, showing me the gentle movements dancing upon a soft, fluorescent stage.
It looked like some kind of white cloth which was playing in the wind, caught in some kind of up-draft, however the more I watched, fascinated by the way it sinuously moved, the more I realized something was wrong here. Why hadn’t it blown away already? How did it just stay there under the light, never moving away, merely twisting in place like a dancer upon a pole?
The light stabilized then, and I blinked at the sudden change allowing me to see clearly. Yes, it was a cloth, white as the snow all around me without a single stain to be seen. It flapped about, yet it always seemed to have a defined… shape? Like, it almost seemed to look like a woman’s body, with accentuated hips and delicate breasts, as if it was a garment made to be worn over some dancer while she worked in the kitchen.
“Uh…. hmm.” I said, looking at it curiously. It just floated there, twisting about in rather provacative ways if I thought about it as a woman, which I was having trouble doing. “Clearly this is the product of my lonely mind.” I said, shaking my head. Well, as strange as this was, I really needed to get home, so I think I’ll just start walking here…
The cloth turned directly toward me and said, “Wanna get high?”
I froze, body going rigid. Did… did this cloth just talk? I stared in horror as a fold of fabric seemed to twist and dance until a head of a rather beautiful woman appeared, long hair made of the white cloth flowing delicately in the wind. The thing, for I did not know what to call it, danced softly in the breeze as eyes which glowed a soft and gentle blue, the only color upon the thing, looked at me curiously.
“W…what the fuck!” I shouted, taking a step back and holding up my briefcase. “D…don’t hurt me!”
The thing twirled upon itself before cocking it’s head, the motion looking like laundry fluttering on a line. “Wanna get high?”
Heart thundering in my chest, I couldn’t comprehend what exactly was going on. I had heard it say this before, but only now did it really occur to me what it was saying. I furrowed my brow in confusion. Was that some code word for eating my soul? Had to be, why would some kind of crazy cloth demon want to smoke weed?
I licked my lips, figuring I had to talk my way out of this. Worst case scenario, I run like a little piece of shit, right? Right. “Get… high? What do you mean?”
The cloth thing twisted upon itself and what looked like drawstrings appeared from behind, slipping into pockets I hadn’t noticed before. They slipped in, rather sensually I thought, damn my sex-deprived brain, and pulled out a joint. Not like, a small little joint either, but a god damn doobie. It floated about in those thin arm-like flaps, somehow being held in place despite its size.
“You… you’re serious. You actually have fucking weed.” I said, staring in disbelief. I mean, I guess I didn’t know what to expect from this whole situation, but it actually pulling out a joint wasn’t exactly what I had expected.
It looked at me and nodded its head slowly before offering the joint to me. Sure, in college I had smoked, I mean, who hadn’t, but it had been years since I’d gotten high. I looked nervously at the thing and it merely proffered the joint again. Maybe this was a ploy to weaken me, and then eat me or something, but why would it need to me to be high for that? It made no fucking sense. This whole situation made no fucking sense!
I took a deep breath and, shuddering against the cold, took the doobie from the thing. As it did, the drawstring gently caressed my hand, and it felt like fresh socks washed in fabric softener. I blinked, confused for a moment at the sheer comfort of that touch before I realized that it was… smiling at me?
I looked down, feeling my cheeks warm for some reason. Obviously it was just the cold making them get red, that’s all it was. I patted at my coat pocket for a lighter, and realized that I didn’t have one, of course, and I looked up at the thing and made the universal gesture of needing a light by flicking my thumb. It nodded and reached into its other pocket, pulling out a pink Zippo with a heart on it, flicking it open with a dexterity I had no idea it could have and holding the flame out toward me.
I cautiously lit the doobie and brought it to my mouth, puffing upon it in a familiar gesture. Getting high was like riding bike I guess? Except, you don’t want to ride a bike while high unless you’re going through the drive thru window of White Castle at 3am. Even still, probably wouldn’t recommend it.
The old sensations of smoke flowed through me, my nerves subtly becoming eased as the rich flavor washed over me. This… this weed was miles above anything I’d had in my past. It was so much smoother, richer, more calming than I could remember and I somehow forgot the cold all together as I basked in the simple warmth of the delicious herb.
I opened my mouth, thin wisps of smoke escaping as I said to the thing, “Dank.”
About an hour later, I sat on the monkey bars and passed the joint, which was almost gone by this point, back to the cloth thing, which hang loosely over the bars, laying on what could be considered it’s back. Somehow the damn projections of breasts where still there, despite that it looked mostly like a towel hung out to dry, and it was really, really confusing my deprived and high mind.
“You’re like… a towel, right?” I said, trying to be philosophical.
“Nah.” It said, blue eyes now a shade of red as it looked at the joint. It studied it curiously before taking a puff and breathing out softly. “This was a good idea.”
“Hehe, a talking towel.” I found myself laughing, holding onto the monkey bars. Why did they call them monkey bars anyway? I’d never seen a monkey on these things. Maybe they should call them children bars instead. Heh, I should be a poet.
“You’re like, really chill.” The thing said, looking at me with that alluring face. “Like, why did you seem so worked up before man?”
“Tell me about it. Do talking towels work?”
“I’m more like, an apron, you dig?”
“Ah yeah, my bad.”
“No worries.” It took another long drag before breathing out a cloud of smoke. “You’re the first dude whose ever smoked me with me though.”
“Really? Shit, but you’re so chill. I mean, spooky as hell with the lights, but shit.”
It smiled. “You mean that man?”
“Fuck yeah I mean that!” I said, trying to stand, then thinking better of it. Right, right, children bars. How did I get so high up here anyway? “I mean, shit you’re like, a fucking smoking hot apron thing whose got some dank ass weed, why wouldn’t I think you’re chill?”
“Fuck man, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.” It said before giggling, “You said smoking.”
“Pffft, yeah, I did.” We both giggled like idiots for awhile. Like, I dunno, a minute? It’s a good chuckle time.
“Hey, where does a spooky apron thing live anyway?” I asked, taking the joint back from here and smoking. Fucking rich, down to the bottom.
“I dunno man, I just sort of drift where the wind takes me.”
“Fuck that, you wanna come back to my apartment?”
“No shit?” It said, looking at me in wonder. “You’d do that?”
“Hell yeah I would. Can’t leave someone like you just hanging out to dry.”
The cloth thing rolled across the bars in a strange, gliding motion, and it wrapped one of those super soft drawstrings around my arm before sliding its incredibly light, fabric body over my lap. Maybe it was because I was high as a kite, but the feeling was really, really arousing. I shifted uncomfortably as it… well, perhaps she, smiled up at me.
“You’re the first dude to call me a someone, you know that?”
“Shit well. Yeah.”
She gently took the joint from me, took a very, very long drag to finish it out before tossing it into the sandbox with a flick of the drawstring, and then slid around me, wrapping around and tying herself across my body like an actual apron.
“Woah this is fucking crazy.” I said, almost losing my balance on the bars. “It’s like that one movie with the uh… wait, how was it again?”
“Yeah, I know right?” She sighed, seeming content for some reason as she snuggled around me. “Shit’s messed up.”
I looked down into her face which rested under mine as she wore herself around me, almost in some kind of hugging gesture. I smiled and did my best not to fall face first from the children bars, which was now what I was going to call them, and made it down without any trouble. I noticed I looked goofy as hell with an apron over a suit, but I didn’t really care at the moment. She was pretty comfy and warm.
“Hey, what’s your name anyway?” I asked, realizing that I was so worked up I never asked her. Man, I’m such an idiot sometimes.
“Towelina.” She said, giggling.
“You said you were an apron.”
I thought about it for a moment, shrugged, then picked up my briefcase. “I guess it doesn’t matter. Alright, time to show you to my fabulous couch.”
“How about you show me your fabulous bed?”
I paused, blinking down at Towelina. I really only had to think about it for a moment before I smiled and walked briskly down the path, the lights once again on, the full moon out, and my headache gone up in smoke. I chuckled, impervious to the cold as she wrapped around me, close and secure.