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parkbench

How’s Superman doin’ today?

Not so well, thank you, m’dear.

Listen to me, two packs a day is all righty, but three is pushing it. Now gimme those.

He grins lopsidedly, a knight-errant glint surfacing from the depths of his caramel marble eyes . Four years and I’m alive and kicking. Miracle, isn’t it?

Her benign smile slides off her face like melted butter. You have no idea.

Oh, but I do.

She kicks at a discarded Starbucks cup. Grande; perhaps even Venti. It simply looked too big to hold any form of caffeine. Explains all the psychedelic eyes, she figures.

He fishes out his notebook, flips nonchalantly to the last page. December 9th, 3:18p.m., cigarette #53, Gauloises. Dee-lish.

I’m kinda cold. She whispers.

I suppose you expect me to act the Austenian gentleman and offer you my North Face with a gallantly sweeping bow, no?

You read my mind.

He tugs his left arm out of his sleeve gently, wraps it around her like a cocoon. She scoots closer, curls against his chest. Wisps of her hair snake up his navy blue sweater, aided by sinisterly playful particles of static electricity.

My gosh, I can feel your ribs through a thick honking sweater. How much do you weigh now?

Last time I checked, 124 pounds.

And when was that?

…Three weeks ago.

She winces.

He laughs lightly. Isn’t that the point?

A jogger huffs past them, throwing him an accusatory look. His eyes read: you are a disgrace to the male race. Get off your ass, scoot off to the gym and start pumping weights. Protein shakes would also do.

She snatches up his hand and jabs repeatedly at the numerous protruding veins, a la Wack-A-Mole. Did you hear Terence Glass in P.E. today? Said Holocaust survivors had more meat on them than you. Asked me how the hell was I hiding my bruises, and told me we gave “banging” a new definition.

Witty fellow, really.

He bends and stretches his fingers luxuriously. I’d love a copy of Chopin’s Nocturne in G Minor for Christmas. He winks.

That’s all?

Well, and a locked room with three day’s supply of food and fresh sheets, with just me and you inside, the keys tossed down the sewer.

How do we get out, then?

Break the window, break down the door. You can use me as the battering ram.

She coughs. I’d like a warranty, please.

He looks highly affronted. I’m made out of carbon and other unpronounceables, not porcelain.

She giggles into his chest, followed by a short round of rasping coughs. I don’t understand, tar seems to have no effect whatsoever on your respiratory system.

Dr. Evans is getting impatient. Another three months, I reckon, he’d cut off my cigarettes supply and starting IVing carcinogen into my arteries. Not that it’ll work, I presume. Even if I don’t look it, I’m a tough cookie.

She yawns, purring slightly like a naughty kitty. I’m getting sleepy…

No matter. My turn with the story anyways. I’ll drive you home. Where did we leave off?

The girl has fallen into the river. Her captors cannot swim. Then…

The fugitive is hiding behind the tree. He sees all, he can swim-

Of course he can, silly, otherwise how did he get the jewels from the island to the mainland?

Boats were invented then, Elodie darling.

He’s not Jack Sparrow. He’s just a poor young boy stealing for his family.

All right. So he can swim, he sees the fair maiden bobbing in the treacherous waters. The good side of him is saying: jump in, jump in and save her, let the cops shackle you up!

She untangles herself from his jacket and glares reproachfully. Cops? I thought this was the medieval times.

Sheriff and his men, law enforcers, whateveryoucallems. Happy?

Psh. Go on.

The good side of him is debating whether to save her or not, and the not-so-noble side is hissing into his ear: your family is starving. Get a move on, boy.

His finger splay, tap at the air, pounding the imaginary black and white keys. Come on now, your call. What will it be, fight or flight?

Iunno…

How ‘bout this? We have him sneak out from behind the tree, trot off home with his bag of jewels, buy medicine for his momma and five siblings, and they live happily ever after. Or we have him jump in doltishly and act the hero.

Act the hero then. But make it nice. Authentic and stuff.

Roger that. So our foolish country boy whips off his shirt, excuse me, tunic, dashes out from behind his hidey-hole, and plummets into the river, to the utter astonishment and bewilderment of the sheriff and company.

Hmm…does he have six-packs?

In his cheeks, yes.

You’re not nice. Go on.

The water rushes over his head. For a second, he was back in the ocean. But then his fingers close on locks of hair. He kicks hard, and finds her waist.

Why not her boobs?

That’s later in the story.

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