Mallrat Adventures IV: The 200 lb. MidgetSubmitted by DaBeast at 2008-08-08 03:53:34 EDT
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Mallrat Adventures IV: The 200 lb. Midget
Gamestop is a nice place. Lots of different titles, old and new, to choose from. Not always a great selection but I could generally find something in there that was worth my time and money. I wandered over to the used titles and began to paw through them.
Sherry and Det had followed me in. They looked around and pretended to be interested in the merchandise but they seemed to be more interested in the guys in the store. Until they realized that, for the most part, the guys in the store were geektastic.
I loved the word "geek", its original meaning of fool that was perverted by tiny carnivals and circuses, and the idea of someone eating a live animal in front of an audience. I'd pay real money to see that at least once.
Something, I don't know what, alerted me. I looked up, away from the used games.
Sherry and Det stood in front of a rack of games, whispering quietly to one another while they glared.
I strolled over.
Sweet! Some anonymous shopper had left an entire stack of video games lined up in a neat little row and some of them were titles I didn't possess. It was obvious that they weren't in their correct places (RPGs with sports games and shooters, a real jumble) but that didn't much matter to me. I reached out and grabbed Heavenly Sword and, happily, began to peruse the back of the box.
"Motherfuck." Sherry fumed.
I looked up. "What?"
"Those are fucking pornographic." She spit the last word and the spray hit me right in the face.
"Jesus Jumping Christ on a rocket powered pogo stick, Sherry." I wiped the spittle off, reached out, and used the front of her shirt to get it off of my hand. "What's your damage? The Ragtime Blues sneak up on you?"
Sherry slapped Heavenly Sword out of my hand. It bounced off of the floor and skidded away. "Fucking video games are just another lame-assed excuse for men to look at big bouncing bowls of Jell-O breast." She spat again. "Fucking disgusting."
"Don't shit on my video game addiction, Sherry. I don't shit on your Victorian-slash-Gothic Romance collection. Back up, fuck twig." I pushed past her and grabbed Heavenly Sword off the floor. It's ok, baby. Daddy's here. I wiped imaginary dust off of the box.
Dets voice was a quiet thing, "Why, Luke?"
I looked up.
Det looked a little queasy, a little uncomfortable, and a little sad. "Why do men look at stuff like that?"
I don't like it when she looks at me like that. "It's a guy thing." I shrugged and looked back at the box. "You wouldn't get it."
"Why?" Sherry demanded. "Because I have ovaries or because I have a brain?"
I shrugged again. "Either. Both. Pick one. I'm not choosy." I tucked the box under my arm. You're coming home with Daddy tonight. Oh, yeah. I like me some sassy redhead; especially one that can kick ass. Hot daYUM.
"That's not good enough." Sherry's blood pressure was spiking and her eyes glittered with it.
"Whaddya want? A treatise on the male libido? Get off my ass, Sherry."
Sherry let out a little pseudo-scream of rage, turned around, and stormed out of the store. She knocked over two geeks on her way out and almost demolished a Halo display.
"I don't want a treatise, Luke."
I turned my head back to Det.
She still looked... well, lost, somehow. Her face was sad and her eyes were like those of a doe when you train a rifle on it, at that split second when it sees you, sees the weapon, and acknowledges its own coming destruction. Fatalistic. Hurt. Dismayed and... resigned to the hot, leaden fate that rushed forward to embrace it from a smoking barrel.
Disney almost captured that look. I fucking hate Disney.
"Then what, Det? What do you want?" I walked back to her, stood over her, made myself meet those eyes. "What answer would you accept?"
She smiled a little, then. "An honest one, Luke."
"Jesus." I turned away. "Come on. I'm going to buy this and then we need to track down Sherry before she kills some hapless mallrat."
Quietly, she accompanied me to the register and watched while I purchased the game. The store geek put it in a baggie with my receipt and we left the store.
I glanced around once we were out, then turned to the right. An offended woman stood, huffing, while a polite guy picked up scattered bags and handed them back to her. "Come on. She must have went this way."
We'd walked maybe 10 feet when Det spoke again, "How often do you masturbate, Luke?"
"WHAT?" I turned my head, lost my footing, and tripped over my own shoes before I caught my balance again. "What the hell kind of question is THAT?"
Her smile became a touch brighter as she watched me. "That's what pornography's for, Luke. I know you partake of it on a regular basis. So, how often? Once a week? Once a day? More?"
"I do not," I felt a little grim upon seeing her smile and it came through in my voice, "masturbate unless I have no other recourse. Only someone that can't get laid regularly does it more often than that." I suddenly felt offended. "What kind of leper do you think I am? I can get laid, damnit!"
Det's voice had perked up in response, "So, you're one of those guys that actually reads Playboy for the articles, huh?"
"We are not having this discussion." I dodged a group of girl scouts and their table full of cheaply made cookies and kept going.
Det danced around the girl scouts and then stopped, opened her purse, took out some money, and bought a box of mint cookies.
Damnit. I stopped and waited for her; don't ask me why because I honestly don't know.
She smiled and chatted with the brats for a few minutes and then she walked toward me, holding out the cookies. "Here. Sweeten your disposition. Have a cookie."
"Yuck." I pushed the box away. "Those things have the consitency of sawdust and don't taste much better. Let's go find Sherry."
She put the box away in the depths of her purse, turned, and walked away from me.
"Hey, where are you going? We have to find Sherry."
Det didn't turn around. "Sherry's a big girl, she can fend for herself." She walked over to an empty bench near the Sears where there wasn't a lot of foot traffic and sat down.
"Christ," I muttered. I hesitated for a moment and then, defeated, moved to join her. "Why, Det?"
She hit me with those eyes again. "Because I know you'll give me an honest answer." A little smile, again, and then, "But you won't give it to me freely. I've got to dig for it, from you."
"You won't like it!" I couldn't look at her anymore so I turned my head away and glared at the evil girl scouts.
Det shrugged. "Then you've warned me, like a good boy, about that danger. Consider your Jiminy Cricket satisfied and tell me what I want to know." She punched me, lightly, in the shoulder. "You know I won't leave you alone until I get it."
The girl scouts were starting to give me those glances that meant they were about to break out the pepper spray if I kept glaring at them so I looked at a fake ficus that sat, dusty and awful and plastic, in an ugly flower pot on the other side of the concourse.
Alright, she'd been warned. She knew how mean I was. She knew what kind of thoughts I had but she wanted to hear them anyway. Damnit. If it were Sherry, it wouldn't have been a problem. Hell, I would've enjoyed the look on her face while I explained. But Det?
I looked back at Det, for a moment. She was one of those quiet girls. Sometimes, she'd blow up and it was like being hit by a tornado - all fury and screaming and swirling stereophonic banshee sound while things flew at you from all different directions and you wondered if you'd make it out alive - but, those times were rare. She held a lot in, kept a lot back, repressed a lot of emotion, but you could still see it, whatever it was, shining and clear and pure and pained, inside those very expressive eyes.
And, somehow, for some reason, it always hurt me to see it.
I looked away again. "Sherry's dad looks at porn."
"I know." Det was patient and, thankfully, wasn't gloating about her victory. "That's why it makes her mad. She doesn't understand it."
"You don't either."
"I know," she was smiling again, I could hear it in her voice, "but I'm not afraid of the truth."
I sat forward, allowed the bag from Gamestop to dangle from my fingers. "I've heard you guys talking about her dad and her mom. She doesn't understand it because while she knows that he looks at porn, she also knows that her parents have a very healthy sex life." I couldn't stop the rueful grin that touched my lips. "I've heard her bitching about it."
"Yeah," Det let that sit for a moment. Then, "You've met them almost as many times as I have. They're a nice couple. A little strange, but still nice."
I shook my head. "You ever walk in during one of their arguments? The beginning, middle, or the end?"
"Yeah," she grimaced. "A fiery explosion, followed by a long, cold silence, then another fiery explosion."
I nodded. "They fight about the porn a lot from what I've seen. Sherry's mom doesn't get it either."
"But you do."
The simple statement made me frown. Det saw me too clearly sometimes.
"Jesus." I sat back and rubbed at my face with one hand. "Ok, look, Sherry's dad doesn't masturbate, either."
Det looked surprised.
I cut her off before she could speak, "Look, it was one of the arguments I walked in on. Sherry's mom was screaming about it. She's as clueless as Sherry is when it comes to this."
"Ok." Nothing more, just that. Det could be monosyllabic when she thought she needed to be.
"You know what Sherry's mom looks like." I did not want to talk about this. Damnit!
Det blinked a few times, slight confusion in her eyes. "Yeah but that doesn't matter. He loves her; they bang like bunnies according to Sherry and what I've heard myself when I've spent the night over there. Why does that make a difference?"
"Aw, Christ, Det. The woman's a 200-pound midget."
Det sat back, moved away from me, frowned. "She's not a midget. She's five feet tall."
"Ok, fine. She's a 200-pound dwarf. What do I care? Attractive, she isn't. It would be like boning a hornless rhino."
Det's frown deepened, her voice got quieter, "That's mean, Luke. And irrelevant."
"No, it isn't." I reached out with my free hand, grabbed her shoulder, shook it until she looked me dead in the face. "It's why, Det."
"What?" She twisted away and scooted further from me. "He loves her! I've never seen anyone's parents that were so happy. He can't keep his hands off of her! When I sleep over, I'm afraid to go in their kitchen in the mornings because they might be in there getting frisky with each other! That's not it!"
I glared at her. "You wanted the truth and I'm giving it to you, Det. Now, listen to me."
She got quiet and her face took on a justifiable rage.
I'd warned her, though, so I battered down the guilt and plowed ahead. "Yes, he loves her. I've spoken to the woman. She's articulate, intelligent, funny as hell with a twisted sense of humor, and her own pair of brass-plated balls. She's fearless and she's ruthless and she refuses to take anyone's shit, ever. I love her a little bit myself because those are some awesome qualities. Her personality's stellar, she can be darker than midnight during a Smuggler's Moon, and when she laughs the whole world seems somehow brighter because, damnit, she really doesn't laugh that often. But she's not physically attractive, Det. Not at all, not by anyone's estimation, including her own. So, yes, he loves her... but sometimes, he just can't stand looking at her. Sometimes, he wants to fantasize that he's with one of those hot young babes that he finds on pornographic web sites. Sometimes, he absolutely needs to. Not because he doesn't love her. If he didn't love her, he'd go looking for an affair, and I'm willing to bet he wouldn't have to look very hard. So, when she asks about the porn, he doesn't answer her. He can't answer her. He can't hurt her, not like that. She's been hurt before, she's told me about some of it. I've seen her eyes, Det. She's a brick wall on a foundation of quicksand. It's too much. She wouldn't come back from a hurt like that, not if he delivered it. It would kill her. And he can't do that. He loves her. He loves her more than life itself. I've seen him look at her. I know it. It's there for the world to see. But sometimes... sometimes, he needs to look at something better, something brighter, something... something beautiful. Because she isn't. And she never, ever will be."
Det didn't slap me.
She punched me so hard that I flipped over the side of the bench and hit the floor.
I glared up at her. "You asked for honesty and I gave it to you. You asked, Det, and I warned you! Fuck! I think you cracked my jaw with those fucking rings!" Det wore several rings made of very heavy, very expensive silver.
"I didn't hit you because you were honest," her voice was so soft that it barely rose above a whisper and her eyes shot sparks of hate at me like live coals being fanned by a heavy breeze, "I didn't hit you because you were mean, either."
I got up, picked the Gamestop bag off of the ground, and walked over to loom down into her face. "Then why?"
"I hit you for her, you bastard." She looked up into my eyes, unafraid and willing to beat the snot out of me if given the opportunity. "I hit you for her, Luke. Yes, she's physically unattractive and, maybe, even ugly. But what did she ever do to him or to you to deserve being lied to? You're a bastard, Luke."
"My mother's got nothing to do with this!" My jaw fucking HURT.
Det put both her hands up and shoved me away. "Yes, she's got everything to do with this. She created this, she created you. Goddamnit, Luke." She reached out, grabbed her purse, and glared at me. "I knew you were mean. I didn't know you were also evil."
I couldn't do anything except stare, helplessly, as she turned and ran away.
Away from me.
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