It was summer in the evening...
|It was summer in the evening and I…wait a minute. It was June 20th. Is that summer yet? It was the beginning of Summer break, I’m sure, but is that officially Summer? I remember it being a little cool…no, it was definitely Summer, I’m sure of it.
Okay, let’s start over.
It was summer in the evening and I was about to…I guess it was more like seven forty-five. That’s evening, right? I mean, it wasn’t totally dark. The sun was almost completely over the horizon though, and it was cloudy…so yes, yes it was definitely evening.
But IS June 20th summer? God, that’s really going to bug me.
Okay….It was June 20th (which I’m pretty sure is summer) and it was DEFINITELY evening (or at least dark out) and I was about to…or should I say had committed…oh well…anyway, I killed a few guys.
Before we get to that, let’s focus on a pimpled convenience store clerk. I assure you, the violence will soon follow.
The said clerk in question was at that moment downing what had to be his tenth cup of French vanilla coffee as he reclined in his boss’s chair, opened up the paper, and continued to man the front register of the most backwater, out of the way, convenience store in New Jersey, situated conveniently between the Oak Hill Elementary school for rich kids with severe emotional disorders (or O.H. E. S. 4 R. K. W. S. E. D. for short) and a giant stable (used for as far as I could tell, the production of horse shit). I don’t know much about that kid except that his name tag said Jim, and that he probably didn’t deserve what was about to happen to him.
A van screeched to an abrupt halt outside the shop, and at once, three men dressed head to toe in black (complete with dark hoods pulled over their heads) rushed inside the shop in unison, guns already in hand. The tallest carried a shotgun, which was conveniently sawed off. The shortest carried a revolver, and from what I can tell, had no intention of using it. The one in the middle also carried a revolver, but he and his short companion had vastly different opinions in the appropriate frequency of its use.
The tall one did a quick scan of the storefront, pointing the shotgun down the first isle or two, to see if anyone else was there. The coast, from where he was standing, appeared to be clear. The middle one situated himself in front of the register, with the intention of doing all the talking. The short robber stood by the door and stared outside, determined not to see what was about to happen to Jim.
The middle one cleared his throat, but before he could speak, Jim interrupted him, without looking up from his newspaper,
“Thank you for choosing Ed’s Farm, home of the Super Duper Hoagie and Ultra Slam Extreme Berry Coolata. My name is Jim, how can I offer you excellent service today?”
He had said it forty-eight times that day, and about ninety six hundred times in his entire lifetime. This would be the last time.
There was a confused moment of silence, but the middle robber knew how to handle these situations. He pressed his revolver firmly against Jim’s head, and waited until he had Jim’s undivided attention.
He received Jim’s undivided attention.
“Jim, I’m afraid I don’t give a shit about your farm, hoagie, coolata, life or wellbeing, but if you can spare the time, you could show me excellent service by placing all of the money in the register and safe into a paper bag.”
“OR HE’LL KILL YOU!”
The thief of moderate height sighed and gave a small nod to his tall companion.
“Yes, I do believe that was implied.”
To his surprise he only received silence from Jim, despite the fact that the robber had spoken quite clearly and made a very straightforward request.
“You just can’t get good help these days.”
If you would, I would implore you to take a moment and look at that robber of medium height within your mind’s eye. Just look at him, pressing a pistol hard into the forehead of a defenseless, pathetic sales clerk, with the full intention of firing.
Could I have possibly sunk that low?
Could I have possibly had such little regard for human life?
Could I have been such a despicable character, devoid of any redeeming characteristics? I have to look back and ask myself a very important question:
Is that really me?
No, of course not.
Don’t be silly. I’m further to the back. No, no not towards the door, back by the chips, with…Jen…
Memories flood my mind even now. Crashing, flying glass, an Angel descending from…but never mind that for now. The tall thief began moving towards me.
You may be wondering how I know all the fine details of this encounter, considering that I'm in the back of the store. Let me assure you, the truth is merely embarrassing, so I'm putting those details off as long as necessary.
Anyway, the tallest of the thieves had heard the rustling of bags coming from the back of the store, and in response he moved his mouth close to the robber’s ear, and then carefully muttered at the top of his lungs,
“I THINK SOMEONE ELSE IS IN THE STORE!”
The gun pressed against Jim's forehead shook in the gang leader's hand, and Jim was very lucky that it didn’t accidentally blow a hole straight through him. The middle robber turned towards his friend and whispered back,
“Thanks for the information, kid. I’m a bit busy here having a nice conversation with my favorite living sales associate, Jim.”
He turned his eyes to his short companion and commanded,
“You keep watching the door. You…”
The leader glared at his tall companion,
“Go see what's making that noise, and you…”
His gun flicked back at Jim.
“…put the money into the bags…and that safe better be open by the time my friend gets back.”
The tallest of the thieves took two steps towards the back before he heard the words,
“Ranch? How can possibly like Ranch? It’s disgusting!”
The melodic, feminine voice echoed through the back of the store, and for a brief moment, every man in the building felt a tingle go down their spine. It was a good tingle.
A bag of chips flew over the aisle, and hit the tall guy in the face, but he could hardly care after hearing a voice like that.
The feminine voice rang out again with a random exclamation that was high enough to almost be shrill…had it not a magical, poetic ring to it. There was another nice tingle.
Jim especially felt quite warm inside, and he found it a pleasant distraction from the fact that he had no idea what the safe combination was.
The female speaker had the kind of voice that could lead the choir of any religious establishment you could possibly name (even the Church of Our Holy Mother of Ridiculous Expectations), and could have just as easily been used to get 1.99 for the first minute and 3.99 for each additional minute. Currently, the voice of the heavenly angel was proclaiming:
“Jesus Christ, you're retarded!”
A metal rack shuddered as I feebly attempted to grasp onto it. I’m not sure exactly what I was trying to accomplish, but I have a feeling I was trying to get the robbers to dial 911. It was just as well I failed though. I doubt they would have helped me.
Above me, Jen was rolling her eyes and snapping at me,
“Stop pulling things off the shelf if you don't want me to buy them! You can’t have everything you know! You know what? I’m just going to get the standard, normal potato chips.”
I desperately tried to grab onto something, but Jen yanked on my collar, and continued to proclaim, as she dragged me across the floor,
“No, you can’t have the ones with ripples, you can’t have the ones in a tube and for the last time you can’t have the ranch ones! God, you’re strange…you still bleeding?”
Jen nudged my head over so she could check on the huge gash on my neck.
“Yeah, you’re bleeding…”
The tallest of the robbers swung his shotgun down the aisle just as Jen’s mouth was about to touch my fresh injury. He seemed slightly surprised. He probably had expected a mother and child, not the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life dragging a chubby guy across the floor.
His eyes studied her figure, which was petite, but at the same time curvy and voluptuous. He paid careful attention to her bright red hair and porcelain white skin. He could hardly have missed her perfectly small, yet pointy nose, and was practically entranced by her emerald green eyes and deep red lips (she didn’t wear makeup…that wasn’t the reason her lips were red). The only thing that didn’t fit her flawless body were her incredibly ill-fitting clothes: loose jeans, large black shoes and a grey t-shirt with a vaguely Celtic symbol on the front.
Now that I reflect back on it…Jen was a living, breathing contradiction. She was small and full bodied, dark and pale, green and red, lovely and horrifying…
Well, he probably didn’t find her horrifying. He wasn’t at the crash.
A part of my mind will always be with the crash. The world slowed as our speeding vehicles collided, smashing towards each other instead of away, probably due to the fact that Jen had turned her car directly to face mine just as I thought she was going to pass me. I lurched against the seatbelt, feeling my insides beginning to squeeze and crack under the strain. Jen hadn’t worn a seatbelt. I know because I could see her through her windshield, despite the smeared blurry hand prints that had coated it on the inside.
Her body erupted through the glass like an angel ascending to the heavens. A mostly naked limp body flew through at the same time (no doubt the original owner of the car and Jen’s baggy clothes), slammed spine first right through my windshield, and sent the glass crashing into the compartment above my lurching head. The limp dead body, either a woman or small man, landed in the passenger side seat with an odd thump, and its blood leaked down into the upholstery.
I could hardly care.
My eyes were turned towards the heavens, locked upon the heavenly sight of Jen, my beautiful contradiction, as she flew effortlessly through the air, spinning gleefully as she ascended upwards.
Without warning, her bright green eyes snapped down towards my stunned expression, and without a single word she curled her legs up to her body, so her calves touched the back of her thighs, and she froze suddenly in place, above my limp, bruised and partially broken frame. Our eyes explored each other’s depths. Mine were but a shallow pond. Hers were outer space.
Instead of continuing forwards, her body defied physics and dropped directly down towards me, face first. She parted her lips, and I parted mine. I was in agony, but I was also in heaven.
Agony in heaven. Can you imagine that? I'd imagine you'd have to force a lot of smiles. You wouldn't want to embarrass Jesus in front of his guests.
Anyway, as Jen descended fully towards me, I craned my mouth towards hers, but I missed by several inches.
As I moved towards her lips, she had moved towards my throat. I found my lips upon her ear. Still, I had to make the most of it. I lovingly planted a long kiss upon her tender earlobe, just as my reality became a world comprised of nothing except pain.
Her flawless, white teeth tore into the flesh of my neck.
Her teeth weren’t any sharper than normal…so she had to press quite hard.
None of this was known to the robber of course, who only stared in stunned disbelief as the ivory skinned beauty glanced up to him, glanced at his gun, and with no change in her expression, focused once again on me, the chubby teenager wearing old jeans, a red t-shirt, and a long jacket (despite the warm weather outside).
Yup, one sentence. That’s all the description I get. Trust me, there wasn’t much else to say…other than I was comatose and half dead. Well, that and I was wearing the jacket of a dead man...but you couldn't tell that from looking. Pretty soon I'd be dead too, if Jen didn't do something about it quick.
“You like cookies, Danny? Are you a crème filled guy or a chocolate chip guy?”
The robber felt that he should say something, but before he opened his mouth, the girl had picked a bag of cookies and then lifted me by the collar, up to my feet, with a single, effortless pull.
The lead robber playfully toyed with his gun, spinning it around his finger, getting ready to make an end of what would be a simply glorious night, when the tall robber walked back and said,
“There’s a chick dragging a dying guy through the snack aisle.”
“Doughnuts! Look Danny, there's doughnuts! Now that’s what I’m talking about!”
Jen gave a childish squeal of glee, as she quickly ripped the package open and shoved a handful of doughnut holes straight into my gaping mouth.
“Go ahead! Eat up! We can pay for it later.”
The head robber turned momentarily away and the clerk (who had already decided to run for it…if her could only figure out somewhere to run to…the fire exit was in back). The main robber glanced down the aisle to confirm his assistant’s story. Indeed, he clearly saw my pale, shuddering body, once again sprawled on the floor, obediently chewing a large handful of doughnuts. I didn’t have a choice.
The robbers could think of nothing better to do but follow, as my angel pulled me towards a cooler, from which she plucked an ice tea. She carefully, almost tenderly placed it within my hands, which were beginning to feel numb.
I did. I unscrewed the top of the bottle with a surge of surprising strength (I felt half dead a second before), and then I began to happily guzzle it down. It felt good, but at the same time I felt curiously empty. Jenny smiled and then nodded her head in the direction of the robbers, who were beginning to regain their senses. Through her gorgeous, blood stained lips, my own person Jezebel whispered,
What could I say?
I didn’t. I had no intention of doing anything the tall man with the shotgun said. In fact, he was dead to me.
The world was once again moving in slow motion, just as it had during the crash…but curiously enough, I wasn’t moving slowly at all. I stepped up to my feet and had practically an eternity to reach the tall man and slap the gun out of his hands before he pulled the trigger. Since he was disarmed, I really didn’t have a reason to kill him anymore.
I did anyway. I really don't know why.
My arms moved like a marionette, with a will and drive all their own, smashing the large man straight into the stone wall, my right hand crumpling his arm like an empty plastic bottle, and my left flattening his chest until it was as thin as a folded up newspaper. Of all the helpless spectators watching the man's death, the expression that was the most horrified was my own, staring back at me from the security mirror. The gang leader, on the other hand, barely hesitated a moment, and casually fired his gun, tearing apart my left ear.
I turned to face my attempted killer. With a grim expression upon my face, I spoke to him through slightly parted lips,
Somewhere, deep in my mind, I had always expected a situation like this to someday happen (it came with reading comic books), but in every version of my trite and shallow power fantasy, I was completely resistant to pain.
I was already dreading what the security footage was going to look like…with the corner of my brain that wasn’t contributed fully to feeling pain of course…which wasn’t much. In a blind fit of anger, pain and fear, I clenched my eyes shut and began furiously punching forward, over and over again.
Eventually the pain subsided enough for me to compose myself, open my tear filled eyes and notice that my hands were red and sticky…and the gang leader wasn’t standing in front of me anymore.
Something was leaning on my feet.
I glanced down far enough to see the figure in my corner of my eyes…and then I decided to never look down at it again. I carefully made my way to the soda machine, and with no hesitation or thought, I began to run the fruit punch over my gory hands.
Pretty soon my mitts smelled like corn syrup, which was far better than blood, and I could focus upon the world again. Jim was hiding behind the counter. The shortest of the robbers was staring at me, in disbelief. He held that stare forever.
A bullet ripped through his skull, from the gun in…my hand. Jen was smiling so happily as her hands clenched around mine, forced the gun into my hand and tugged at my finger to pull the trigger. It all happened in the single blink of an eye...even by my new standards.
For a while, we didn’t say anything to each other at all, and merely gazed once again into each other’s pupils. I felt like a single drop of rain being enveloped by an ocean.
Jim hopped the counter and bolted out the door. Jen didn’t seem to mind.
I realized that she was waiting for me to say something. It was only fair. I mean, three men had just died by my hand. The situation probably deserved some comment.
Only one statement came to mind.
“Who are you?”
Her expression didn't even flicker. She merely parted her thick crimson lips, gave them a lick and answered back,
I nodded. My expression didn't change either. I casually replied,
“I love you.”
Jen gave my quivering, gun-toting hand a gentle kiss as she cooed,
“I know, Danny. I know..."
Her lips broke into a smile, as she added,
"Nice jacket, by the way.”
With a small giggle, Jen gave the top of my left hand another small kiss…and then with a purring hum, she proceeded to sink her teeth right in.
What can I say? Chicks love the jacket.