Sex in KansasSubmitted by Tom Sorrell at 2014-11-30 15:50:41 EST
Rating: 2.0 on 4 ratings (8 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
“So yeah,” she said to Billy in a bored monotone, “Bart's dick smelled like Brut. Who wears that, anyway? You can buy it in shitty little supermarkets.”
She was talking about Bart Quinn, the best damned insurance salesman in Winfield, Kansas, pop. 1,138. Apparently she’d bumped into him at a local dive the night before, then bumped into him a few more times at her house out of boredom. She’d called it “ennui,” though, and that only made Billy love her more. He shook his head in the driver’s seat.
“I wish you wouldn’t tell me these things,” he said. She smirked and looked out the window.
The woman, Cynthia, was as statuesque a creature as he’d encountered, tall and lean, with long brown hair and piercing eyes of gun metal gray. He’d met her a few months ago in the same dive bar, taken her back to his place ... and held her hair while she threw up. Billy was a nice guy. He and Cynthia had become very good friends.
“I’m going to buy you a bell,” she said with a flip of her wrist. Billy snapped his head her way.
“What?” he barked.
Cynthia giggled and Billy thought he saw an affectionate flicker in her eyes – the one he’d seen the night they’d met. He'd noticed it after they’d kissed in his bedroom, but before she’d regurgitated a trail of wine and cheese that began at his crotch and ended in the toilet in the master bathroom. Billy gagged at the memory of sitting on his bed, horrified, pants around his ankles, blown chunks everywhere, his dream girl on her knees in front of the porcelain god.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said. Cynthia looked his way and raised her eyebrows in surprise.
Billy nodded, once.
“I should have pulled up my pants before I came into the bathroom.”
Cynthia laughed and covered her dark red lips with a hand full of pale green nails.
“Definitely,” she said.
He chuckled. She did the same. For a moment the scene turned awkward. Billy looked to his right. Cynthia glanced to her left. Neither made eye contact with the other.
“How about some music?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Billy said as he pushed the button on the dashboard. An awful noise filled the car.
“Ugh,” Cynthia sneered, leaning to change the station. “If Chad Kroger misses the point one more time, I am just going to scream.”
With the press of a button the radio went to static, then the riff to The Ocean filled the air with the sweet electric tone of Jimmy Page's guitar - sharp, heavy, dangerous - like walking barefoot on razorblades at night through the English rain in the dead of winter. Still...
“Why do they play so much Zeppelin on the radio?” they mumbled simultaneously.
“Right?” he asked. She nodded and half-smiled as the car stopped at a red light.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Cynthia said, digging her nails into the worn cloth upholstery of the passenger seat. “I love ‘em. I think they’re great, but my God. If I hear Kashmir one more time I might write P-Diddy a strongly-worded letter. He ruined that song for me and the radio still plays it 24 times a day, every day, from now until the end of time. It's not even their best song! Everyone knows In My Time of Dying Is the best, even if they didn't write it.”
Billy held out a fist for her to bump. Cynthia grinned and did so.
"Then again," she continued, "No one writes anything. Not really, anyway. Everyone borrows from something they've heard, read, or seen. It can't be helped. That's art. I hate when people don't get that. Writers, musicians, artists ... they're all influenced by those who came before them."
Billy nodded, absently, and sighed.
“Fuckin' '90s Godzilla," he said, leaning forward in his seat to look up at the light for the other lanes. He sat back with another sigh when he saw it was still green.
"What about it?" Cynthia asked. Billy pretended to spit on the floor of the car.
"The only good thing about it was the Rage Against the Machine song on the soundtrack," he said, wiping fake saliva off his chin.
“Oh, come on now," she replied. "Don’t forget Heroes - the one by The Wallflowers. That's on there too. I like that song.”
Billy gave her a dirty look. Cynthia shot one back. He rolled his eyes and looked out the windshield again.
“Like I said," he muttered as the light turned green, "the only good thing about Godzilla was Rage Against the Machine ... and David Bowie is better than The Wallflowers every day of the week. If you say otherwise I'm driving this car off the bridge like the robber did in One Magic Christmas. Remember that movie?"
Cynthia inhaled sharply and her skin turned a faint shade of blue.
"Of course," she said, excitedly. "I love One Magic Christmas. It's so simple and ordinary, but it's ... it's just perfect. I can't explain why it's perfect, but it is. I love that movie."
Billy chuckled as he pressed the accelerator gently to the floor and cruised through the intersection towards the concrete relic with rusty steel girders spanning the Walnut River. He and his friend were headed to Horner's Corners, eight miles to the west, to go ice skating. The brunette passenger watched him as he drove, admiring the veiny curves of his muscular arms and the sharpness of his jawline before turning and gazing out her window, trying to hide her shaking hands while her breath blew staccato exhalations.
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