It was a hot afternoon. The sun seemed seven inches away. My apartment was acrid and smelled like piss. I lurched over to the other room and found an open half-drank beer that was warm and flat. It was good.

I took a beer shit and thought about the night before. Isabella had come by. We put the radio on and danced to classical music. The station was playing Bach. Isabella does not like Bach or classical music, but we danced anyway.

I poured the brandy, and we drank. She was beautiful. Thick black hair and olive eyes and a sharp nose. We ate cheese and bread, and she told me how she admired my work.

I poured another brandy and popped the lip off an aluminum can of beer. We laughed and danced and kissed. As I reached into her blouse, she slapped me and called me a pig.

It felt like being the ocean under the moon. At one moment, it is calm, but then it can be smooth. I poured Isabella another brandy and we got back to sitting on the worn couch and getting handsy with each other.

She lived in the Barrio. The classical music I played wasn’t to her liking. She requested that I change the station. Isabella wanted a rhythm that would make her feel the turning of the world so soft and slow.

Isabella told me that this life was not good enough. I agreed. It’s a cage of screaming dogs who get shot at the notice of any ambition. We are all ugly freaks at the bottom of a pyramid of tyrants.

I did not like the radio station she selected, but the brandy had smoothed my mood and I was hoping to get laid. Isabella was beautiful and young, and I was old with a face pockmarked like the moon. She was my Spanish Harlem Mona Lisa. We danced in the kitchen, and I told her I’d give my world to lift her up.

The brandy had run dry. I went to go grab another bottle. She told me to give her love. I told her, “Babe, I’ll be back. Just keep the rhythm on the radio.”

The courtyard of my apartment building was empty except for a vagrant. He was sitting on a bench drinking a bottle from a brown paper bag. I gave him a dollar.

I fired up the Volks Rabbit. It chugged and skittered a bit and then the engine started. The liquor store was closed. They knew what I wanted and I paid in cash for my bottle and a case of beer and steered back home.

Isabella was still dancing in the kitchen. I did not care for the music, but the company was good. She was nice and young and beautiful and vibrant.

Before we made love in my sheets that smelled like old sweat, she gave me a proposition.

Isabella said, “Give me your heart.”

I responded, “Make it real, or else forget about it.”