“What are you doing?” Linda lay, naked, on the futon. The wooden door beads swung into each other.
Jeff raised his voice, from the other side of the beads. “What do you think I’m doing?”
“Are you coming home tonight?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, should I find another warm body to sleep with?”
“That’s it! I’ve had it with you’re shit!” Jeff threw the wooden door beads against the wall.
Linda didn’t see Jeff’s giant stride into the room. She didn’t feel the futon sink, as he crawled towards her. The wooden door beads were bouncing off the walls, and against each other. When Linda bought them, at a little bead shop by the beach, they were hanging on the wall, behind the counter. They were still, then. Something wet made Linda scrunch her face.
“Look at me!
Linda blinked, and tried to open her eyes, but her eyelids wanted to shield her from the saliva, spraying from Jeff’s mouth.
“Look at Me!”
Thick black hair scratched soft pale skin, where Jeff held his knee over Linda’s bare chest. His sweaty palms cupped her ears and his fingers dug under her jaw. Jeff noticed his reflection, in the television. He jumped off Linda. “Look what you made me do!”
Linda heard the wooden door beads crash against the wall and the front door slam closed. She lifted her head. Her naked body still lay on the disheveled futon. Her chest heaved, but no tear’s would come.
From outside the open door, Hector watched Marie turn down a bar stool. “Are you open?”
“Sorta.” Marie smiled, he was standing on his skateboard.
“Wanna go for a ride?”
She walked to the door and leaned her shoulder against the frame. “I can’t do it, I’ve tried.”
“It’s okay. I’ll hold on to you.” He put out his hands.
She looked around the empty street, in morning shadow.
Marie slid her fingers into Hector’s palms and placed her foot between his. His hands lifted her as she stepped up. Their closeness startled them.
Wheels rolled “click-click,” over seams in the sidewalk.
I ran into Sammy, near the fountain, on the corner of Market and Seventh streets. “What are you doing here?” He asked me, eluding to the plaza’s reputation as a facilitator of bad habits and vices.
“My dance class is across the street.” He nodded, satisfied with my response. I don’t know why he was there.
Many years ago, I tended bar, at a dive, half a block from the record store, where Sammy worked. Sometimes I would visit him.
“You wanna hear something?”
In the middle of racks of CD’s, he picked out one, opened it with a pocket knife, took out the CD, and put it in a walkman. After I put the headphones on, he pushed the play button, and waited. I listened for a moment, then looked at him. I must have had wide eyes, because his smile scrunched his eyes, and his “hehe” shook his shoulders from his skinny belly. He handed me the walkman and walked away.
“Yo Gus, bourbon and coke.”
“Way ahead of you.” The bartender, and companion to a wide assortment of professional drinkers, placed the glass on a square white napkin at Devon’s usual spot.
“So, how’d the interview go?”
“Just left. Said I should hear back in the next couple of days.”
“Yeah, so what do you think?”
“Shit, I don’t know. The woman who interviewed me looked like she needed some one to bend her over the table. You know the type, hair tight, stiff shirt.
“Yeah, I know, stick up her ass.” Gus nodded and smiled.
“Yup. Not the girl at the front, though. I could have grabbed under her shoulders with one arm and threw her against the wall.”
“Yeah, I know that type too.” Gus laughed. “Hang on D, be right back.”
“Yeah, sure.” Maybe I should tell Gus about the flies. What do you think Jim, are you fucking with me, wanna make sure I never forget, so you keep sending those big ass flies to buzz in my face? Shit, I don’t need flies to remember.
“Hey D, back from the interview, needed to see me?” Katie leaned her shoulder into Devon’s. “Gus, do we need some Fernet? You know, pre-celebration for D’s new job.”
“Are you buying?” Gus grabbed a bottle of Fernet, and three rocks glasses.
“Haha, c’mon Gus, please?”
“Alright. D, you ready for one?”
“To D’s new job.” Katie liked to clink glasses.
“Thanks Katie, but its just an interview.”
“Okay, I wont jinx it.”
Karla is training to complete Iron Man Lake Tahoe on September 22, 2013, with Team in Training. As of April 3rd, she’s raised 51% of her $10,000 fundraising goal, for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And, she happens to be one of the most like-able people I know. After you read this, you’ll probably want to check out her fundraising page.
The forty-five minute drive from North Beach to Muir Beach felt like fifteen minutes. Fog on the bridge filled Bill’s jeep with cold air, but the six friends felt warm. The winding road, and loosely strapped lap-belts, brought them even closer together, with knees and shoulders supporting the body besides them.
Jessica wanted Emily to come, too. Emily had walked outside to say goodbye. Her jacket zipped up to her chin, and her hands buried in her pockets, she unconsciously kept herself in the yellow light that spilled out of Gino and Carlo’s. Emily didn’t wait to see the jeep drive away. Evan and Tony had ordered another round of Fernet.
Getting out of Bill’s jeep entailed climbing, which had the comical effect of tangled limbs. Jessica took off her shoes, and socks, and walked to the middle of the secluded beach. The breeze brought her the subtle sound of the of the ocean’s over and under movement. Salty mist mixed with damp sequoias. This was the perfect spot to watch the meteor shower, and Jessica laid down. No moon, and no fog. Dario and Bill cuddled besides Jessica. When the first meteor shot across the sky, all six friends lay in the sand, hardly noticing the chill.
“Are you going to give me insulin?” Phoenix, my three-year-old son, saw me pull his insulin pen out of the cupboard.
“No!” He runs into the fort we made, a couple of blankets across the couch, and the ottoman. “I wont have insulin! I hate insulin! I hate you! I’m never, never, eating carbs ever, again!”
I walk towards the fort. Phoenix pokes his head out. “Hate means I don’t want to be with you!”
“I don’t have any insulin.” I hold my palms out to him. “I just want to hold you.”
He crawls out. I take a few quick steps and kneel in front of him. He straddles my legs, wraps his arms around my neck, and buries his head in my shoulder. “I love you Phoenix.”
“You wish, you didn’t have to have insulin, ever again.” He nods, head still buried. “I wish that too. But, it’s a good thing we have it, because without insulin, carbs are like poison in the blood.”
“I don’t want carbs.” He lifts his head and shows me his tear-filled eyes.
“Do you think, if you don’t eat carbs, you wont have to get insulin shots?” He nods, still looking at me. “If you don’t eat carbs, your body wont have enough energy to grow.”
“I don’t want to grow.”
“You don’t want to grow?”
Phoenix wipes his face on my sleeve. He looks at the wet mark. I point to the other sleeve. His head is resting; I can see his eyes. I tell him, “I have an idea.”
“Do you want to help me get the pen ready?”
“All by myself.”
“Okay, can I help?”
“Sure Mommy, you can help.”