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Left to his own devices

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It took Milton a solid week to get the lipstick just right. The edges can be hard to cover. He traced lips he had decided were quite full, pouty almost, with patience; left them glistening moist without blotting. In the background the message played loudly over stereo speakers: Welcome to the voice messaging service. Please enter your passcode. Or if you are not at your own phone press the star key or press the pound key to leave a message in another mailbox. Milton didn't bother to listen, the loop was always the same: There are no messages in your mailbox. His dress swooshed over the bedroom carpet to the first newly cleaned mirror. He heard her voice again, Welcome to the voice... Staring intensely into his own eyes, he moved forward, backed away. The lip imprints remained; two textured pouches pressed on glass. Please enter your passcode... He spun away from that one to the full-length bathroom mirror, extending a leg for full effect. The lines were perfect as they must be: navy pumps, narrow ankle, low hemline, gloved hands, rouged cheeks, blue eyelids, bright red lips. He swooned at the sound, or press the pound key to leave a message, puckered tight, pressing hard against the surface. His heart fluttered. The hallway mirror was just large enough for Milton's face. He moved his lips as she repeated the voice messaging service. Please enter your passcode. Or if you are not at your own phone... never getting angry and never slowing down. There were three more mirrors left in the house, forty minutes left on the tape, yet somehow Milton knew this was a dance that never had to end.

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