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Friday, August 3, 2012

Prose of the Week: The Girl Who Turned Down Pizza, Stephen Ramey

Ladies, you can buy your own pizza. Gentlemen, always mention the camcorder. - L.R.


     It's the strangest thing. Today was supposed to be the day. We discussed it last night in my car, her creamy ankle draped over my thigh, her face flushed from some serious kissing.
     "Tomorrow?" My voice was a little flushed too, truth be told. It wasn't my first time, but she was some kisser.
     "Tomorrow," she confirmed. "I want to be certain. I don't want to do this impulsively."
     "Sure," I told her. "I can wait. You're worth it."
     So here we are, strolling in the backyard by that old swing set her father built. Her parents are at work and we're skipping school. The perfect setup.
     She lays out the blanket and I pull down my pants. She starts unbuttoning that sexy day dress -- it's yellow, my favorite color -- and hangs it from a nail. I almost fall down tugging my t-shirt over my head.
     She's stepping out of her panties when the first car door slams. Her mouth goes round. She reverses course, ripping her panties back up over those taut thighs.
     "No, it's okay." I spread my hands. "I guess I forgot to tell you. I invited a few friends. Jimmy and Klaus. And Simon." I hope she won't be turned off by him. Simon owns the camcorder.
     But it's already too late. She's hobbling toward the tree line, working the dress strap over her shoulder.
     "Come back," I yell. Nothing, not even a glance. So much for being patient, listening to her needs, yada yada.
     Simon pushes his glasses up and sits on the blanket. "What now?" he says. "Think she'll come back?" He fits the camcorder into his hand and aims it toward me. He's bluffing, I know, because he'd never waste battery on a guy. He's gay, but not like that.
     Klaus plops down and angles open a pizza box on his lap. A peppery smell wafts. He's the opposite of Simon, big and wide. "Did you tell her we were bringing food?"
     "Nah, I forgot."
     "There's your problem," Jimmy says. He sits on one of the swings. A rhythmic creaking starts. "Girls don't put out for nothing."
     "Should we wait for her?" Simon says.
     "I don't know. She already kept me waiting an entire night." I see a flash of yellow in the tangle beyond the yard. Is she watching us? I remember birds scoping out my mom's feeder.
     "Who can figure girls?" Jimmy says. "Show them a good time, they turn you down. When you don't want them coming around, there they are." He hops off the swing. "I say dig in and let her fend for herself."
     "Yeah, I guess." I remember a yellow warbler among all those sparrows and starlings. It was beautiful. Sweet-sweet-sweet, I'm so sweet. I watched for it the next day and the next, but it never returned. That's the trouble with birds. They can fly anywhere while we're stuck here on the ground.
     "More for us," Klaus says, lifting a pizza slice to his mouth.

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