SEXY STRANGER #5 (out of print)
The Reasons I Never Saw That Blind Date Again
GWENDOLYN JOYCE MINTZ
He had breasts and they were bigger than mine.
I think seeing Saturn that night was a hoax: It was too pale, too clear — shouldn’t there have been colors? And who was he trying to impress (that guy with the telescope by the fire station, near the French restaurant with the clowns)? Was that the night I ate the floating island? All I remember is the planet and how fine I thought we were, the memory now like something so sweet it hurts my teeth.
A Quick Visit
My brother always protected things. In fourth grade, his friend clapped a ladybug. My brother’s eyes brimmed and he kicked his friend. I walked away as my brother got pummeled.
He hugged me when I graduated high school. He mumbled up to my ear that I should be very proud. I looked around, waiting for it to end.
After I moved to Michigan, he wrote me three letters. He said how early it got dark in Pittsburgh. He mentioned not feeling all that great. In the third, he asked me to call.
My brother left home soon afterward. I was mowing lawns in Michigan.
My mother says there is nothing I can do. The police said runaways come back or they don’t. She takes a sip of her ice water and nearly smiles.
Before going to bed, I sit at his desk, glancing at the pens he used to write me. My fingernails are green; if I don’t get back soon I’ll lose my job.
I lay on his bed, wondering how many bugs I’ll unknowingly kill my first day back at work.
THOMAS J. MISURACA
Ginny vomited strawberry milk, breaking the silence of a Monday morning math test with a heave and the sound of liquid splashing upon her desk and dripping onto the floor.
“Gross,” Joseph exclaimed behind her. “Ginny puked. Blood I think.”
Every eye was on her, anticipating a grotesque scene, but they only found Ginny, pale and shrunken behind her sopping desk and pink stained math paper.
“It was milk,” Ginny whispered, but nobody heard.
“Ginny, go to the nurse,” Mrs. Romita sounded annoyed, “and have her send up a janitor.”
As soon as Ginny left the room, waves of chatter rippled through the class. Ginny was a loner, making her suspect to all sorts of strange suspicions.
Mrs. Romita demanded they settle down and finish their test.
Joseph told everybody he encountered that day about the girl in first period who vomited blood. By lunch time, it had gushed out of her like a fire hydrant.
“Did you hear some girl projectile vomited in first period?” Joseph’s friend Sarah told her friend Molly.
“I heard she was a hemorrhaging hemophiliac,” Molly’s friend, Jeff, told his friend, Derek.
“I heard she had a miscarriage.”
Ginny returned to school the next day. She felt much better, the thought of yesterday’s vomit floating in the back of her mind.
Her only friend, Amanda ran up to her before homeroom and asked, “Did you hear some girl slashed her wrists while taking a test yesterday?”
Ginny was sad to hear that, but also relieved. At least it would distract from her throwing up. Still, it felt as if every person in the school was staring at her and whispering.
I was having dinner out with a new girl who was making strange whirring and clacking sounds. I didnít know if she was a robot or what, so I leaned across the table and breathed in her face. I saw condensation in her eyes, water forming on what must have been her glass or plastic eyeballs.
I said, “There’s condensation in your eyes.”
She said, as if I had annoyed her, “The word is condescension.”
“Either way,” I said, “it’s unlikely I’ll be banging you tonight.”
he manager had a goldfish that had begun to grow hair. The girl saw it one day, making waves into trails on the surface of its tank. What’s wrong with Teller, asked the girl of the manager.
Penn died, he replied. He walked over to where she crouched, looking in on the fish. He flicked his cigarette ash into the water. Cancer, he said. She looked at him hard. It spreads, he coughed.
Why is he growing hair, she asked more specifically this time.
It’s his way of telling us to fuck off, he said.
This Is How It Looks From Here
She’s wearing someone else’s life again, like a shirt that doesn’t fit, and whose buttons pull impatiently over her breasts. This time it’s the Miller girl from two blocks over who never does anything but sit on the porch and smoke cigarettes in the shade.
There’s a lady at a table handing out cookies and Save-Your-Soul pamphlets. She keeps yelling at me, but when I look, her face melts and her watercolor makeup runs in the rain. Her mouth spreads into an earthquake crack and bats fly out. Maybe I scream.
Have some cookies, dear.
No. No cookies. You fuck off.
That’s what I say. Then I cross my fingers and hope the words come out. I hate it when they stick to the roof of my mouth like peanut butter on soft white bread. I hate having to scrape them off and dig them from my fingernails. By the time they hit the air, they’re unimportant. Stinking goop.
I try to follow the sourdough home. But the ground is clean. Stupid bird. The stupid bird that squawks when I look away. The fucking bird that taunts me with his broken wing and shouts obscenities at me when I try to fly. Not that I could anyway. My wings are broken, too.
Maybe the lady just wants a hug. Maybe if I went over there, I could scoop her up. Maybe she is lighter than the clouds. Maybe I could hold her tight and we could 1-2-3, 1-2-3 in a dizzy waltz. Maybe if I eat her cookies, read her pamphlet, I can soar.
Then, when we get real high, I can open my talons and watch her head do a watermelon splat on the concrete below.