Two Stories…

by Ian on March 12, 2011

by Melanie Browne

Height Of Luxury

I focus intently at the advertisement on the wall. “Here’s travel in the height of luxury. The new Super-vega!” It shows a vintage luxury coach. It is beautiful. Not like some ugly Greyhound or senior citizen’s tour bus. This has style. Class. I look at my knees. I forgot to shave them again. The one time I wear a mini-skirt in roughly two years and I forgot to shave my knees. I wonder if anyone will notice? I don’t think so. I walk outside and pull my Zippo from my pocket, I flick the wheel again and again. I don’t have any cigarettes. I don’t have any money for cigarettes. I like having my Zippo anyway. It brings me luck, makes me feel secure.  I’m no arsonist. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Those people are sick. The sickest. So I’m just flicking my lighter over and over when this guy dressed in overalls walks over towards me.

‘Get the hell away from me,’ I say.

‘Whoa, easy, who pissed in your oatmeal this morning?’

‘Look,’ I say, ‘I have a black belt in Karate. I also have that book on how to kill people. You know, the one they make Marines read?’

His jaw drops. ‘Look miss, I didn’t mean any disrespect, I was just going to ask why you’re out here in subzero weather flicking your lighter a million times. Do you need some money for cigarettes? Angry at someone? I’m just curious that’s all.’

I look him up and down. He reminds me of Christopher Penn in Footloose. I can’t help it. I compare everyone to celebrities. ‘You ever see Footloose?’ I ask him.

‘Yeah, 20 years ago,’ he snipes. He takes out five bucks and holds it out towards me.

‘I don’t have any cigs,’ he says, ‘but here.’

‘I don’t need your money,’ I say.

‘I didn’t ask for a blow job did I? Just a little company. We’re the only ones out here aren’t we? Trying to escape the losers inside? That crazy old lady we picked up two-hundred miles back that keeps talking about her Miranda rights. Don’t tell me that shit doesn’t get to you.’

He’s right. It does. I snatch the money out of his hand and let him follow me to the convenience store. I plop down the money on the counter and ask for some Virginia slims. We walk outside and I let him give me a light. It’s bright outside from the gentle snowfall. It’s beautiful really. I wish I could stay here forever. Wish I could freeze time. Him lighting my cigarette, the snowfall, the tired passengers reading magazines and wishing they were home taking bubble baths. All of it.

I think about the advertisement again. When the passengers start returning to the bus, I pretend it’s really the super-vega. As I’m daydreaming I feel his arm brush past my breast.  I try to avoid him by sitting behind three old ladies with bee-hive hair. Eventually he’ll figure out where I’m sitting. He had that look of determination. In mine he saw desperation. I should have held out for a twenty.

***

Tarzan and Jane Discuss Identity Politics

The first time Jane discussed identity politics with Tarzan, they ended up in the bedroom. Jane was wearing those silky hose that she knew drove Tarzan mad with wild lust. She tried explaining to Tarzan that she was a progressive democrat and that she was staunchly pro- choice. He just kept grunting and rubbing her legs. Jane was trying to figure out where Tarzan might fall on the political spectrum. She was trying to get him to take a quiz on Facebook. Tarzan wasn’t interested in Facebook. He wanted to poke Jane for real, in his bed. Jane started to think the situation was hopeless. Tarzan might never make up his mind about his political affiliation. After a while, she persuaded Tarzan to take the quiz. They were shocked to see he identified with the Paleoconservatives. Tarzan looked at Jane to gauge her reaction, but Jane was staring at his loins. Tarzan swept Jane into his arms and showed her his new Tempur-Pedic, covered with a Chinchilla Rabbit comforter. Tarzan poked Jane until they were both exhausted. Then he showed her how to swing into the next room where he poured them some orange juice and they watched cage boxing.

Melanie is the boss over at The Literary Burlesque.

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