Patti Abbott (one of my co-contributors on The Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble) posted a flash fiction challenge over at her blog, the idea of which was to write a story of less than 1,000 words with the title (and concept) “X Man’s Taste’s Get Him into Trouble,” where X stands for the name of a place, any place, really–a city, a state, a country.
The concept intrigued me, and I was interested in trying my hand at a such a short prose form, so I rolled it around in my head for a while, and this is what came out. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think in the comments section.
UPDATE: You can find the rest of the fine contributions to this challenge here.
Boston Man’s Tastes Get Him Into Trouble
“I like big girls,” he says. “Tall. You know.”
I just look at him. He shrugs, twisting his class ring around and around his finger. He’s wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt with big yellow flowers and a pair of cargo shorts. Sunburned red as a dog’s dick except for a raccoon strip across his eyes and a white band around the base of the third finger of his left hand.
“So I go up to that place, you know, that bar at the end of the road up there.” He tips his head to the left, indicating.
“The one with all the girls,” I say.
“Yeah.” He looks up and grins for a second like we’re old college buddies having a beer and sharing beaver stories, and then his grin sours and his eyes drift left.
He’s talking to his hands again. “So I see this girl, big tall girl, like I like ‘em—pink skirt, white top—ask her if she wants to sit down.”
“What kind of girl?”
His head jerks up like it’s on a string. “Whaddaya mean?”
“White, black, Asian, Hispanic, Martian, what kind of girl?”
“Oh.” He blinks. “Black.” He shrugs. “Real good looking broad, you know, clear skin, blond hair. Dyed, I guess.” He mumbles, “Maybe it was a wig, I don’t know.”
“Right, so the Queen of Sheba sits down with you, and then what?”
“We start talking. How you doing? What do you like to do? That kind of stuff. We was getting on well, so I asked her if she wanted to come back with me.”
“I’m sure you two must have had a lot in common.”
“We was getting on well. If she wanted something else, I don’t know about it.”
“Well, it’s obvious she wanted something else, isn’t it?”
He presses his lips together tight, closes his eyes. “If she wanted money—if she was a hooker, I mean, I don’t know nothing about it.”
“Right. You were just looking for someone to hold hands and walk on the beach, maybe shoot some hoops with. So you get her back here, what happens?”
“We talk. Listen to music. Dance a little bit. Then we started…playing around.”
“Playing around how?”
“You need to know? You can’t use your imagination?”
“What I need is to understand how a big cowboy like you goes from doing the Texas Two Step to being hog tied with the phone cord. The maid found you naked on the bed, all you needed was an apple in your mouth, you could have been the main course at a luau. Okay, she was a big girl, but what do you go in at, two-forty or so? I got a hell of an imagination, but whatever I come up with ain’t gonna touch whatever happened in this room.”
I add, “Look, the more honest you are with me, the better chance we got here.”
He blows out like there’s a birthday cake in front of him. “We arm wrestled.”
“You arm wrestled.”
“I told her I bet she was strong.”
“Uh-huh. Who won?”
“Is that important?”
“The girl won.”
“I kinda let her. A little bit. You know.”
“I’m finding out I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. Clothes on or off at this point?”
“You’re an animal. So she wins. Then?”
It takes him a minute. “She picked me up.”
“She picked you up. Like, physically.” I make a lifting motion with my arms.
That class ring is going around and around again. He nods.
“She is a strong girl. You should be her manager, get her on the carny circuit. You two could make some money.”
“You know, you’re not writing any of this down, smart guy.” He points at the notebook in my hand.
“I think I can remember it. So, you ask this lovely young lady to pick you up, and you, Baby Huey,” I make a popping sound with my tongue, “she lifts off the ground.”
He’s staring at a spot on the wall like there’s a tiny little movie playing there, and if he just looks hard enough, maybe he can make it out.
“What happens next?”
“She hit me over the head.”
“What really happened?”
When he answers, even the strip around his eyes is bright red. “I get her to throw me around.”
I can’t even speak, I just sit there with my mouth hanging open for a while. “You get— You ask this girl to toss you around a little—naked—and she does.”
His mouth is twisted down and his eyes are slits and he’s looking at everything in the room but me.
“What’s your job again?”
He looks at me with his forehead low. I hold up the notebook and put the tip of my pen to the page.
“Corrections officer,” he says.
On the pad, I write AMAZING and underline it twice. “Okay, go on.”
“That’s it,” he says. “I guess I musta banged my head, went out for a second. When I came to, I was tied up, and she was shagging ass out of the room with my wallet in her hand.”
“You know, I don’t think I would have called this one in.”
He shakes his head. “That wallet, it’s got a lot of money in it, credit cards. My…” he rubs at the little white band on his ring finger, “personal stuff. I can’t go home without it.”
“All right, look, let’s see. We got a tall black girl with a blond wig, strong—strong as a bull—in a little pink skirt and a white top. Anything else? Distinguishing features? Tattoos? Hairy knuckles? Adam’s apple, maybe?”
Head in his hands, he says, “I swear to God, I didn’t know.”