Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The plane was taking off and I was deep into a book about Hemingway when she periodically started glancing in my direction. It was unnerving being the one that got hit on. Usually I’m the guy that drunkenly slurs, “You’re pretty” in dark cavernous dive bars. It’s never the girl to me. But here she is, a very pretty Hispanic girl with a necklace that’s a cross, clearly checking me out in the light of day and on a plane headed to Los Angeles. So I put my book down and sarcastically ask her, “Do you mind?” When she replies, “Yes, yes I do” I knew I was due for a short flight home.

                                                            . . .        . . .       . . .

It was a hot day and all the Kid could do was sit and watch the fan. It went back and forth, WAP WAP WAP, against the cool ceiling. The Kid was sprawled out on the floor looking at what always seemed to be a helicopter to him. It hypnotized him. WAP WAP WAP, It went across the ceiling, slowly taking the dopey-eyed boy into a summertime trance of cool air and white noise. So he would lie there and stare at the blades moving back and forth, blue desk chair tipped over next to him, hypnotized and at the mercy of the fan. 

His Father was in a trance of his own watching jeopardy in the other room, enjoying a cold beverage, and shouting out the answers, “Who is Franz Mesmer.” Which would be correct if he was actually playing. The only thing that could break the glue that holds him on the couch would be a CRASH from the other room and the slow but steady crying of his ten-year-old son, whom he forgot was even home.

The Father walked into the bedroom to find his son standing on a desk chair, grabbing a bloodied hand, and sucking in air to hold back his tears. The fan continued to rotate across the ceiling with a jerky hitch to its once graceful movement.
“What the hell did you do that for?” the father asked.
“I don’t know!”
“Well, don’t you look stupid now?”
“I was curious! I don’t know why I did it!”

WAP, wiggle wiggle, WAP. The fan went across the ceiling.

                                                         . . .        . . .         . . .

She sat facing me; long brown hair curled over her small shoulders, wistfully going on about her childhood and how she missed her father. She’s been away from Houston for all of one week and she already can’t believe how different Los Angeles is. “The people here.” She says.
            “The people here are all liberals! It’s terrible.”
            “It can’t be that bad. Can it?” I reply, unsure of what she’s getting at.
            “It’s bad. I was in Hollywood and two gay people were kissing!”
            “I don’t care what you do behind closed doors, but seriously! Obama hasn’t even legalized    
             gay marriage yet. What do they think they’re doing?”

I couldn’t figure out what happened to the sweet Hispanic girl from the plane, the girl that argued books and talked about movies, the bold girl that hit on me in broad daylight in front of other passengers. The love of my life, I thought.

             “And don’t get me started about all the blacks.”

The love of my life was racist. She tricked me into going out on a date with her, because she was new to Los Angeles, and because I’m a nice guy. I’m a nice guy who was distracted by a dangling cross, draped across her neck, guiding my eyes directly toward her cleavage. It’s no wonder I haven’t noticed it before. The symbol of Christ and the symbol that means Westley won’t be dating you again. She tricked me with her good looks.

              “What about the blacks? – I ask
              “Oh my goodness! They’re everywhere!
              “They have black people in Texas” I assure her
              “Yeah, but they don’t dress like that.”

Like what? I thought. What was so disturbing about the Los Angeles African American dress code that I missed in my first five years in this city? And most importantly, how long have I been on this date? I thought all of this as my beautiful prejudice counterpart picked up her menu and ordered an entrée.

                                                    . . .        . . .        . . .

The kid stood there holding a bandage over his right hand. Red seeped through the white gauze and stained the outside black. What would he tell his friends? It has to be cooler than what happened. And what did happen? 

            “What happened?” The doctor asked after coming back into the room.
            “Well I—“
            “He stuck his hand into the ceiling fan.” His father cut him off.
            “Why son, would you ever do such a thing?” The Doctor asked as he wrote a prescription for pain medication.
            “I’m not sure. I guess I was just curious."
            “He’s a smart kid too. Straight A’s.” The Father interjected.
            “Straight A’s, you say?”
            “Just not much common sense.”

The kid looked at his bandaged right hand wet with iodine and stained black from the stitches. He wasn’t sure why he did it. It seemed like an easy thing to dismiss. Sticking your hand into a spinning fan blade knowing nothing but grief and pain and would come from it, but for some reason he had to do it. Curious. As if just to make sure his premonitions were correct.

                                                   . . .        . . .        . . .

I drove her back in silence, itching to get home as soon as I could. She would occasionally smile and ask me questions about my family, or my work. One-word answers, I’d tell myself. I’ll give her one-word answers and drop her off. But as I pulled up to her modest apartment on the eastside, I’d peer over to catch her taking off her necklace and putting it in her purse. She really was pretty, I thought. Albeit a little racist. And as I unlocked the doors of my car to a small click she was on me before I could even realize what was happening. 

She caught me! I yelled on the inside. She got me before the goodbye!

She tricked me again and now it wasn't hard at all. Making out in my front seat, it was easier than I thought it ever could be, gazing past her cross less neck and grabbing one of her breasts. Dammit, I thought, pulling her over to the driver side seat and onto my lap. Her elbow smacked into the window wipers and all I could hear was the faint WAP WAP WAP of the wiper hitting glass as she kissed my neck and whispered into my ear.

            “You’re really sweet.”
            “I am?”
            “It’s nice to find a guy out here that has the same views as you.”
            “Wait. Same views? I’m sorry, I—“
            “Do you want to come inside?”

And of course I didn’t. I didn’t’ like the girl. I didn’t want anything to do with this crazy, racist, beautifully curved bitch with long brown hair that now covered her open breasts. I don’t know why the words came out the way they did.


I’ll do this one for the liberals, I thought. I’m not sure I ever considered myself a liberal before this moment. Clearly, I never thought about it. But tonight, I told myself, I'm going to be a liberal. A man that voted for president Obama not once but twice. A man that would never consider himself a democrat, but a liberal man with a curiosity that he can never quench. 

WAP WAP WAP went the window wiper, and out went the girl from the plane. She walked up to the door of her apartment, and against my better judgment, soon I would hesitantly follow. With a bad case of Déjà vu and an unusual state of animal magnetism, my right hand began to cramp up. 





I turned off the window wipers and stepped outside the car. 

1 comment:

  1. You're a baller, bro! They just keep getting better. More importantly, I hope this is a true story.