Patti Abbott had the wonderful idea of doing something like the blog short story project but doing all the hard work herself and theming the bits around love stories and such. I said I’d participate. This is what I wrote. Check here and here for the other suckers.
STAND UP ON BLOW POPS
By Bryon Quertermous
I know you’ve heard the story. Boy meets girl, girl wants something, guy does some bad shit to get it, girl screws him over. It’s the Great American Noir Love Story. And when I met Dolly that’s exactly how it could have ended up. But what if it didn’t? What if we met, some things happened, and that was the end. Nobody ended up dead or bitter or anything.
Now I’m married, so that makes this a little more complicated, but not much. There was no sex, no physical contact. The emotional stuff, that’s kind of chewy. So here’s how it went down.
I was working as a security guard in the pediatric wing of a nasty Detroit hospital. Not a lot of white women period, especially not of the bouncy brunette ponytail variety like Dolly. That’s why I noticed her. Anywhere else she might have got a passing glance and an internal commentary and that’s it. But where I was, and what I was doing, that’s what made it linger. And the scrubs, oh man the clingy scrubs.
She’d been there for a while and I’d been there for a while, but it didn’t really get rolling until the Wednesday of the blizzard and there was nobody around. We still had to be there though so we had the TV tuned to Regis and Kelly and an awkward conversation brewing. Her scrubs were pink, which honestly didn’t do much for me, but I was still looking. And thinking of my wife. I don’t forget about my wife.
“We had this code,” Dolly said. “So our parents didn’t know what we were up to.”
I nodded and was really doing my best not to look at her chest.
“The best one was one of my sisters. She’d tell everyone we were going to stand up on Blow Pops if we were going to stay up all night.”
“Like the suckers?”
She nodded. I flicked the ring on my left hand. I was having fun. This is what work should always be like. Before I was married I had a ton of jobs and a ton of crushes. None of them ever amounted to anything, but one always fed the other. Some of the most miserable jobs I ever had were made less so by a cute girl I would look forward to seeing. Sure, at the time, I always thought I might have a chance with them and that’s really what got me into work. But these days the pretty girls were a nice distraction.
“I mean how stupid is that?” She asked. “I know now that my parents knew exactly what we were doing. But hey, to be young, right?”
“I stole cookies,” I said. “And a bottle of mouthwash once from the gas station. Never had a code for it.”
We didn’t share much after that for a while. I would smile when I passed her at her station on my way in. But then I started thinking of other ways to go in so she didn’t see me always looking at her. And then I thought she might think I had a reason for her to think something was up so I went back to the normal way.
Once I had a dirty dream about Dolly, an innocent one as far as dirty dreams go, but I didn’t tell my wife. On the way to work the next day I let the dream fill my thoughts and didn’t like where it took me. My old nature was coming back and I started thinking about what I wasn’t able to do any longer because I was married. And that made me think about what I could do with Dolly if I wasn’t married.
In the Noir Love Song I’d start doing more overt things to be with Dolly. I’d probably lose my job and have to resort to some sort of crime to keep afloat. And then Dolly would want to spend more time with me so she could set me up and then my wife would find out because I’m a crappy liar and I’d lose her too. That’s when I’d start the drinking.
I told my wife about all of this later that night while we were eating pizza and she laughed at me.
“There’s this guy at work, he has a beard now which looks kind of gay, but otherwise he’s like your Dolly,” she said. “Work itself isn’t enough to drag me there so some days I need a little something special. Some days that’s a real cola, or a chocolate bar, or Mexican food for lunch.”
“And some days it’s Drew?” I asked.
She nodded and smiled. We had sex, I dreamt about her, and smiled at Dolly the next morning. I bought a Blow Pop on my lunch hour and thought about what would happen if I ran away with Dolly and my wife.