ogling her in my ramshackle, sophisticated way for a moment or two,
I try to make out what she's reading. I cock my head to one side
and try to read the title. I have my best glasses on. I made them.
(I'm an optician). Of course, since I made them, the prescription's
probably wrong, as I can barely decipher the bright pink, all-capital
lettering. "DOGS"? I think it says "DOGS." Sure.
Sure it does. DOGS. Good, I conclude. DOGS are good. I like DOGS.
Don't I? Wait-no. I'm pretty sure I do. DOGS, generally speaking,
are warm, cuddly, affectionate, prone to face licking and crotch
sniffing, and love unconditionally. I wonder briefly if, by the
transitive property of equality, or association, or whatever it
is, my mystery bride shares any or all of those attributes. At this
point, I have the impulse to walk up to her, shake her hand and
tell her that I like DOGS, not the magazine, or the periodical,
for that matter, but actual, furry, slobbery, dim-witted DOGS. I
also have the impulse to tell her that I like HER. Of course, I
do not like HER, because I know less about HER than I do about the
AIRBORNE EXPRESS GUY that I see every workday at 11:00am, but I
more like the IDEA OF HER. The IDEA OF HER is quiet, unassuming,
gentle, pretty. The IDEA OF HER is appealing and non-threatening
and it makes me want to strike up a meaningless conversation, it
makes me want to size her up, it makes me want to become acquainted
with her family and her thighs. However, a rather unfortunate aspect
of my personality (see: "insipid cowardice") prevents
me from pursuing any of these avenues and leaves me staring at her
like I was a patron at some bizarre zoo. I am also halted by another
jarring fact: she looks like my ex-girlfriend. Kind of. The fair
skin and the long dark hair are identical matches. I sweat. Ah,
but the frame is different. My ex-girlfriend is broad-shouldered;
the mystery bride is not. My ex-girlfriend has large breasts; the
mystery bride definitely does not. Relief. As I turn to- oh, balls-
they both have delicate hands. I hate everyone.
to the second floor of Borders once again. I brood. An imaginary
Greek Chorus monotonously berates me, hissing, "You're a
pussy. Pussy. Pussy." in my ear. I try to quiet them, but
it is no use. Greek Choruses can be pretty rough, heckler-wise.
And anyway, I figure; why silence the truth? I am good at reasoning
with myself. I smile. At least I have that much. Separated for twenty
seconds, I already pine for my mystery bride, and, as I disinterestedly
pick up a book from the Fiction section, I entertain the thought
of trudging back down to the first floor for another look. I should
take another look, right? I am going to marry this girl after
all. But I don't go. I don't need to, because she is standing right
in back of me, leafing through foreign language books. Merde!
Two feet of benignly colored wall-to-wall carpet separates us. Two.
Little. Feet. Her back is to me, and so I am allowed to look at
it. Hmpf, I muse; it's much straighter when she's standing up. The
posture issue suddenly becomes moot. Comforted, my gaze drifts to
her rear. All is satisfactory. The yellow caution lights have changed
to go go go green. Some blood careens to my brain, but mostly
descends to my penis. The dormant beast is awakened. The fevered
mind is unleashed. I imagine an altar and candles and friends --
her friends, I don't have any. Cue music, Canon in D, the
good stuff. My parents crying. Her parents crying harder, (are they
happy or do they hate me?). My spinster sisters jealously eyeing
"the bitch." I am husband. I am crazy.
language books. ??? Is she American? Maybe. Is she French? Oh, God.
They are so liberal. That could be a problem, as she will probably
judge and despise me unless I lie pathologically about everything
I believe in. I consider it. Does she even speak English? I hope
not. No, that's not true, but it might be nice, for half-an-hour
at least, for her to not understand a word that I'd be saying to
her, because it would probably all be unintelligible and incoherent
and self-incriminating anyway. Note: I still have a substantial
erection. I half hope that she turns around and sees it. True, she
will know I have no self-control, but she will also know two other
important and equally true things:
I'm totally hot for her, and
I'm not impotent.
that a surprising number of younger men are. At least I have something
on them. Damn. I know that, for saying what I just said, as I hurry
to get to work half-an-hour early tomorrow, I will close my car
door on my penis and some vengeful, impotent ER surgeon will exultantly
remove it for me. I picture it gruesomely, with great mental clarity.
The procedure (doctors like to call "Operations" "Procedures"
in much the same way as Borders likes to call "Magazines"
"Periodicals") will be executed with great precision.
The operating tool of choice, in place of a medically sanitized
scalpel will be the bloodied, jagged, broken end of a six-year-old
bottle of Captain Morgan, found three weeks earlier on the sidewalk
outside of a bodega called "The Rusty Nail." Obviously,
I will survive.
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