The window is closing, I tell you, tipping back my glass and gnawing on the ice.  On the other side of the bar someone bowls a strike and everyone high-fives him.  I don't bowl, which is one of the reasons we are in here instead of out there.  There are other reasons.
      Yeah, you say.  How much longer?
      Tonight, I say.
      All right then, you nod.  Let's have another drink.
      We sit at the bar another two hours.  We change all of our dollar bills for quarters then drop the quarters into the machine and take turns answering questions like who's on the hundred dollar bill and what sport is featured in The Sun Also Rises.  We say best two out of three then three out of four then four out of five.  We change a five dollar bill and play that too.  We answer questions until we run out of change.  We drink until the woman behind the bar says, sorry, folks, last call.
      Now what, you say.
      I don't know, I tell you.  I've never been any good at thinking ahead.
      We walk out to the parking lot.  There are five cars and a hundred empty spaces.  We pass by mine and sit in yours.  I remove my feet from my shoes and place them on your dashboard.  You turn on the radio and when you get to a song I like I put my hand overtop yours to stop you.
      Across the street is the T.G.I. Friday's where we met last week.  Beside that the Denny's where you took me when Friday's closed.  Down the street from my house, the bar we went to the first time we met alone.  On the other side of town, near your apartment, the U-Haul parking lot where we talked until four in the morning.  This town is full of places we didn't fuck, and next year, after you leave, I'll have to drive by all of them.
      We wouldn't have worked out anyway, you say.  This is your favorite game, listing for me the reasons we would have broken up if we'd ever gotten together.
      How's that.
      I'd want to go out drinking and you'd want to come along.  Chicks always want to come along.  That's the problem.
      You'd want me to come, I say, cracking my window, lighting a cigarette.  That's the difference.
      What difference?
      The difference between me and everyone you ever fucked.  You'd be afraid to leave me alone.  You'd be afraid you'd come home one night and I wouldn't be there.  I'd be in some other guy's car in some parking lot like this, only this guy wouldn't be a pussy.  This guy'd actually fuck me.
      Maybe, you say.  Maybe you're right.
      We sit like this a while, not saying anything, your hand changing stations, mine stopping you when I hear something I like:  Rush's Tom Sawyer, Led Zeppelin's When the Levee Breaks.  I have stopped wondering when you'll kiss me.  I stopped wondering that a long time ago, way before Denny's, sometime after U-Haul.
      What if all of a sudden I started driving, you say.  What if I drove you down some dark country road and ran out of gas.
      And because you're asking the question I know we're not going.  I leave my seatbelt unfastened and roll up my window.  I make a note of where your car is parked so I'll remember the spot next week when I drive by alone.  
Copyright © 1999 – 2024 Juked