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Rubidium Red

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In Hamburg, Bang Bang teaches Penelope about back-wound fuses. In return, she teaches Bang Bang how to cheat at jeu de tarot while they take the train over the Alps. Penelope lets the "R" roll on her tongue just a little too long. She likes the feeling of a rolled "R" in her mouth. It's a good sound and obviously Bang Bang likes it too because she makes Penelope repeat jeu de tarot again just to hear the "R".

She watches Bang Bang's reflection in the window as the train moves through the night. Her red lipstick looks black and her skin is whitest white. Penelope tells her she looks like a ghost. Bang Bang widens her eyes and crooks her fingers like claws until Penelope smiles wide. She's grown comfortable with Bang Bang's preference for silence and adopted it for her own. Sometimes they go whole days without speaking; the two of them talking with gesture and the shape of their lips instead. In Patagonia Bang Bang shares her joy of really well laid fireworks until Penelope has the confidence to measure and pack her own. They set them off in the dead of night. Burning copper brings them a brief flash of blue-green light and sodium flares yellow a few seconds later. Under the fireworks she kisses Bang Bang for the first time. Bang Bang kisses back while lithium carbonate burns red above them.