ALEXIS

I remember the blue plastic peony ring Alexis gave me. It was a Ming creation, fine and detailed, immortalis around my left pinkie.

Alexis rode a mini-bike in her spare time, which was all the time. Time was her bounty and her gift; she gave me time and whatever tacky rings she could spare. Nonagon acrylic diamantes and the luxury of fine paste-stone rubies made me as daring as she was, even if I only wore them in my room. I lied to her and told her I wore them all the time, but the truth was I was scared -- no one else could see the fineness of her plastic hoopla and the collectability, the rarity of her gifts. In twenty years, she'd tell me, people will buy these rings off you for millibucks. It's the way people are -- once things get old they have value, unless of course they're people. Old people are the immunoblots of America. "Ee-myoon-oh-BLOT", she'd shout, loud, louder, loudest. "I'm gonna be the world's biggest, fattest, overweightest immunoblot, when I get old and have pyorrhea and my breath is worse than Vizsla's exhaust" -- and she'd pat the old mini-bike on the rump. I was jealous of Vizsla, her mini-bike, named after the wild hunting-dogs of Hungaria, with their rich deep red coats and brown eyes. She'd put her legs around Viz and squeeze, every day, bucking herself onto that bike, holding on for dear life as the two of them made a thirty-degree to the dirt roads in back of royal Kirkcaldy, burgh and port of East Scotland, population 46,314, in Fife on Firth of Forth north of Edinburgh. We'd yabber into the wee hours over the dim fire of her lighter. That was before I ran away with her to America.