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The Very Idea
By Despard Murgatroyd

After 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.

I retreat 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.

Foreign 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:

a.) I'm totally hot for her, and

b.) I'm not impotent.

I hear 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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