the book

In the drugstore parking lot, a very tall, very heavy black woman was doing a slow-motion square dance with a tiny, monkeylike Hispanic man. They circled each other and walked up and down between the rows of cars, avoiding eye contact. The woman was silent; the man was chanting, "You stupid! You big stupid! You damn stupid!" It had to be a domestic situation because it was so mindless. Only people who live together act like that. I stood by a pay phone, in case it went where these things often go in parking lots.
     A young white woman with long blond hair joined the giantess, who produced a cell phone and made a call. The monkeyman slowly walked away, still chanting. The giantess slowly followed. A deputy sheriff drove into the lot. The blond woman spoke to him through his window, slowly flapping her arms like she was under water. The deputy pulled up next to the monkeyman and giantess, not getting out of his car, not saying anything, just rolling alongside, watching, his fist on his chin, one finger extended across his cheek.
     A bearded man came over to me and said, "Hey, don't worry about all that. Stone'll take care of it. I know Stone. He's a good guy."
     The monkeyman crept across the lot to an old Dodge van and climbed into the front passenger's seat. The blond woman got into the driver's seat. The giantess packed herself into a Subaru. Blond woman and monkeyman, giantess, and deputy drove away in three different directions.
     "See?" the bearded man said. "All's well that ends well. My name's Jesse, by the way."
     He held out his hand. I shook it. It was twice as big as mine and so rough that it felt barnacled.
     "So you married or a single guy?" he asked.
     "What, you don't like kids?"
     I didn't say anything.
     "How about sex? You like sex?"
     I didn't say anything.
     "Me, I like sex a lot," he said. He laughed, one long HAAAAAAAAAAAA, opening his mouth as wide as it would go. His teeth were pointed, either because he had filed them or because they had rotted into triangular stumps. He looked like a great white shark on the attack. "Eeeeeeeyow, do I like sex!" he snarled, his head tilting back and his lower eyelids swelling into protective shields for when he bit me.
     "Okay," I said. "I have to go now."
     "So where do you live?" he asked. "You live around here?"
     "I live around. I really have to go. Goodbye."
     "Hey, maybe I'll see you later, huh?" he yelled after me.
     I hadn't noticed Jesse before, but now he's everywhere. He usually hangs out in front of the 7-Eleven, eating hot dogs next to his shopping cart full of empty cans and bottles. And talking. He talks to every man he sees, except for me. He never says anything to me. Once, I held the door open for him when he was loaded down with food, and he marched past without a glance. I bought a Snickers bar but didn't enjoy it because he had made me angry. He had hurt my feelings.

back to top

home | the book | shopping | revenge | sex | war | rock | murder
journalism | god | nick | road | prediction
things I felt like writing | links | contact