Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fiction for people who watch TV and read the gossip. Peppered with pop culture references and Meta Awareness for your protection.


"What's wrong with you?"

I tried explaining to the girl what was wrong with me. That I had just gotten used to calling Ricky Schroeder "Rick" Schroeder and now he 'd gone back to calling himself "Ricky" Schroeder during his guest shot on the TV action series 24.

I could tell she didn't understand why I was upset as I was. But at least I could tell she was concerned about me. I had seen concern before on an attractive woman.

My stepsister gave me the same look every time she caught me masturbating to one of my Playboy magazines in her room. Sis never wore the nice clothes like those on the talking girl in front of me. Though to be fair most of my memories of Sis are from the 1980’s. Hardly a time period known for its fashion sense.

The talking girl wore a pair of smartly tailored black slacks with a shiny top and metallic shoes that came to a point. I guess Stacy and Clinton had told her just what to wear. Because she knew how to dress. It was like this girl had jumped right out of an episode of What Not to Wear on the Learning Channel and had been given the 5,000 dollar credit card from Visa to go shopping and had followed the rules Stacy and Clinton had pointed out to her exactly.

Someone working at the fryer poured a bag of frozen fries into the super hot liquid fat. I could hear the popping of the water in the heat. I got a cold rush of air when the A/C clicked on that smelled like a biggie fry.

While the girl talked I avoided eye contact. After smelling that waft of air I looked down at my Bacon cheeseburger and side salad with Italian vinaigrette dressing in time to miss ordering fries. I was drinking a small ice tea with no sugar. I figured if I drank tea instead of coke, ate a salad instead of the fries, I could eat a small chocolate frosty for dessert. Wendy's used to only sell chocolate frosties. But now they sell both vanilla flavored frosties as well as the chocolate flavored ones.

Kim finally introduced herself. And she offered to shake my hand. I hesitated for a bit. I wondered where her hands had been.

Do I really want to shake hands with a stranger and then go back to eating with my food with my hands?

I must have because I shook her hand and offered her a seat. She glanced around at the busy restaurant and accepted. I was the only person sitting at my 4-person table. Busy people on their lunch breaks occupied the rest of the booths.

I could tell she was like me, the kind of person who sat at a large table when eating lunch alone. She sat down across from me and began eating her Chicken Fillet sandwich. After taking a few sips of her Diet Coke she asked, "So… what are you reading?"

"Sports section." I replied.

"Oh, really? You think I could get it after you're done?" She asked.

"I don't see why not. But it might be a while. There is a lot I want to read about the Suns playoffs." She went back to munching on her sandwich and picking at her fries. "You want the front page while I am reading the sports?" I asked her.

"Nope. I just read the sports."

I tried reading the sports page but my mind kept jumbling the words. I couldn't concentrate. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to read as long as this girl sat across from me. It was like peeing in a urinal when you've got 20 guys behind you in line. Just waiting for you to finish up.

My bladder would freeze up in those situations. And I would just sit there and pretend to pee. I hoped that no one would notice that they didn't hear any splashing. I would then quickly zip up and wash my hands. I would take my time about it though. Wash my face and look around the room pretending to look for paper towels.

Sometimes I took long enough for someone in a stall to leave. I would make a dash for the stall like I had just come over with a serious case of the diarrhea.

Not that my little trick ever worked. People realized what I was doing. And if they were drunk enough they would comment about it. I could hear the jocks and frat boys having a good time about me.

Little faggot has a small one I bet.
Can’t even pea in public.
What’s wrong with him?

Kim slurped loudly as she drew in air from her cup. She was out of Diet Coke. “Would you mind?” She asked of me as she twisted the cup in my line of vision. She wanted me to get up and refill her drink. For some reason this Wendy’s did not have a self-service drink counter like 99% of the fast food restaurants in the world today. I guess she didn’t want to walk up and ask for a refill herself.

I hated that about this restaurant. It was my one real complaint. You always had to walk up to the counter and demand a refill. And this restaurant was a busy one. So you had to dodge the new customers who thought you were cutting in line and cut in front of the paid customers who were never patiently waiting for their food and drinks.

“It’s just I hate to have to ask.” She tells me. “I get real nervous. Like for some reason I think I am not entitled to a refill or something. I always feel guilty.”

I understood. I feel strange guilt like that all the time. Even if the damn place tells me I can have all the refills I want. I still feel like I shouldn’t ask them for one.

I notice the woman at the counter when I walk over for Kim's refill. She is middle aged. She must be in her forties. This is her real job because I see her here every time I come in. The second reason I know it must be her real is she works the day shift. If it was her second job, she’d probably be working late night or during a mid-afternoon slot.

There is something that’s not quite right about her appearance. It’s a bit off putting. Like she might be a Mongoloid or something. Mentally she looks like she is always stuck in first gear. She takes just a second longer than necessary to process anything you tell her.

She doesn’t hear well either. And for some reason every time I talk to her I find myself whispering to her. Which I can guess only exasperates the problem. Because she can't hear she repeats every thing you tell her. Softly and to herself. Like she needs to reassurance that the outside world is asking something of her.

She refills the Diet Coke and hands it back to me. She asks me if I want a lid. I tell her no thanks. I’ve got one. I notice something is troubling her mind at work. It wasn’t so long ago that she filled my glass with iced tea. And she just did a refill of Diet Coke. Something is wrong here but she can’t quite make it out.

Now I am not sure if she remembers for sure that she gave me an iced tea. I can tell she is puzzled though. Like she added up a long column of numbers three times and came up with a different answer each time.

4 comments:

Evil Spock said...

Your knowledge of What Not to Wear scares me, especially since you profess not having a girlfriend.

The chick on the show is awfully cute though.

Romius T. said...

I have an infinite variety of knowledge on things that would scare you if I told you about it!

lucky charms said...

I *did* read this one before!

My feedback....

I hate when people try to shake my hand :) It would especially gross me out before eating. I also don't like hugs (unless I'm drunk). And I, too, like to take up a whole big table when I'm by myself. I like to spread out my crap, though, so someone can't ask to sit near me.

And I can tell you made up this woman because women in smart, tailored slacks do not read the sports section. I had to wear smart tailored slacks everyday for 4 years (business attire dress code at my high school. absolutely ridiculous)... never once have I read the sports section :)

And I would totally make you ask for my refill. I can't talk to grownups. They scare me. Right now I'm wearing a long shirt as a dress and eating a pouch of Go-Gurt... yeaaaaah I'm like 5 years old.

Romius T. said...

I can;t believe you caught me making up the girl. Damn. I cant even get people to think I can have lunch with a random girl at wendy;s