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Fiction: Jazz Meets Death Metal – They Meet

February 18th, 2011

They met through mutual addiction somewhere along the glimmering summer asphalt. Her like jazz and blues meets Chicago and The Beatles. Him like death metal meets corporate America with caramel skin and a broad, easy smile. And they circled each other like dogs for months, before finally lunging for the throat. But summer romance hits you like the flash of a backdraft, and theirs was headed for disaster the moment they laid eyes on each other.

“Hey, pretty lady. Whatchoo doin’ ’round here?”

Was that a hint of New York he was hiding? And the gently dwindling fragrance of him dancing on the air reminded her of winter nights at Daddy’s house, when she’d sneak into the parlor and fall asleep between the mahogany armoire, and Marcie’s big potted palm where no one ever noticed her. And in the morning, after her bath, she’d inhale big gulping whiffs of the various tobacco flavors from the shoulders of her pajamas before tossing them in the laundry. Women were almost never in the room, so it was no surprise that she began to associate that smell with men.

“What’s it to you?”

“What’s with the malice, Alice? I’m just talkin’ here.”

She laughed. She couldn’t help it. “You’re too much.”

“I’m too much? What do you mean?”

“Well, you’re obviously not that much of a dweeb, so you hoped your adorable little rhyme would endear me to you. But I seen you scuffin’ your heels way up yonder,” she lifted an arm to point up the stretch of highway the little cafe was on. “And you walk like you own the world. I bet you think you got charm, and charisma, huh?”

It was his turn to laugh. “Don’t I?”

She tilted her head to the right, and stared into his eyes. “Hey… Your eyes are green.”

“My momma’s Puerto Rican. Do green eyes give me a leg up in the charm department? They’ve gotta at least give me a leg up in the looks department.”

“I look like the type of girl who cares about looks to you?”

“Everybody cares about looks. Some just pretend better than others.”

“Oh, and I guess you’re one of them ‘some’, huh?”

“No. You’re kinda cute.”

“Well, lucky me. The mutt from the big city thinks I’m ‘kinda cute’. Do I get a gold star or something?”

He laughed again. “I like you. You’ve got spunk. Girls with spunk are fun in bed.”

“Oh yeah? Why’s that?” She put both hands on the marble counter top, and leaned in close.

His eyes turned cold, and he held her gaze for a moment before saying, “Girls are always fun in bed. That’s the way I like ’em. But the spunky ones… They’re the best.”

She shook herself a moment before turning to the register. “What’ll you have?”

“You in my bed?”

Her head shot up involuntarily, and she could feel the blood rush to her cheeks when she saw him see her excitement.

“You crazy, huh? You moseyed yourself right on down here out of that asylum two counties over, didn’t you? You think you’re so special I’m just gon’ lose my head, and rock your world right here on this counter, don’t you?”

“Would you?” He leaned in, his flawless smirk a whisper’s distance from her parted lips. “If I told you to take your clothes off right now, and get on this counter so I can fuck you, would you do it, or would I have to drag you out of the store by the hair to my place, and fuck you there, after a sound spanking?”

“Get out of my store.”

“Okay. But you’re gonna wish you took me up on my offer. Probably before I’m even out of your field of vision.”

“Get. Out. Of my. Store.”

“You wait, and see. You’re going to regret this.” He smiled at her. This time, it was warm, and intrigued. “Bye.” He ducked out the door.

“Did you really just throw out one of my customers?”

“Huh? Oh. … He was a jerk.” She rubbed both hands on the thighs of her cut-offs, and looked up into her friend’s eyes helplessly. “He said…” she stared at the woman for a moment, then shook her head and walked to the other side of the counter. “You don’t want to know.”

“Betty Jo, tell me!”

“He said girls with spunk are fun in bed. ‘All girls are fun in bed cause that’s the way I like ’em.’ he said. But the spunky ones are the best.”

“So?”

“He said I’ve got spunk. And he wants me in his bed!”

“So?”

“Sooo… He wanted to fuck me on the counter!”

“Oh, I’d have watched that. I still don’t see the problem.”

“So you’re tellin’ me that if some dude came in here, and said ‘Take you’re clothes off and fuck me on the counter.’ you’d just do it?”

“I dunno. What’d he look like?”

“Are you insane?”

“Probably. Anyway, no acting like you run my shop unless you’re gonna come work for me.”

“Filled out the application last week. I’ve just been torturing you because it’s fun. And because I wasn’t ready to make a decision yet.”

“Decision about what?”

“Which job to take.”

“Bet, you weren’t seriously considering working for someone else, were you?”

“Was, am, took the job. It’s only a couple hours a week. I need the cash, and you can’t afford to pay me what I’m worth. I do your books, remember? But I really want to work here, too, and I really only need a little to make up the extra, and I really want to work there, too, so… It works!” Bet, as she preferred to be called, flashed a wide, dazzling, adorably silly grin.

“I dunno. I hate having to work around someone else’s schedule. Maybe I can wring a few extra pennies out the ole piggy bank.”

“Daph? That you actually use a piggy bank to store your money makes that sad, not funny. And besides, they’re working around you.”

“Creepy guy was right. You’ve got spunk.”

“Shut up and make me coffee, slag!”

“Yes, Oscar.”

“Goodman?”

“Why would I liken you to Oscar Goodman? You the mayor of Las Vegas, now?”

Bet laughed. “Well, he’s been in a few TV shows.”

“As himself!

“So? He still had to act. Sort of. And I took a couple years of drama, so see? Oscar Goodman makes sense!”

“T. Grouch.”

“What?”

“Oscar. T. Grouch. That’s who I was comparing you to.”

Bet stared at Daphne, for a second, trying to recognize the name. “Oh, you bitch. Just cause my hair is green. For that, I’m not paying you for the coffee.”

“Employees drink free. And you start now. I’ve got an errand to run. Mark will be along shortly to help you out. Play nice.”

“But…”

“No buts. See ya!”

Before Bet could say another word, Daphne was out the door.

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