Friday, June 08, 2007

Denny's First Date

Denny was right on time. He pulled up as Linda peered out the front door to get a glimpse of the shiny car that he spent the afternoon washing and waxing. The tires glistened under many coats of Armor All and he had the top down. It was a 1982 Buick Riviera. It was white with a red interior. This was 1984, so this car was one of the finest on the street. He was still as excited about this car as the day he got it two months ago. Two years of saving every penny and a loan from his parents as reward for getting good grades made it all possible. The only thing that would make the car any nicer would be a beautiful girl riding in the passenger seat.

Tonight, it seemed, that would finally happen. He got out of the car and quietly shut the door. He had just checked his hair in the rear view mirror as he turned onto her street. His brand new high tops didn’t have a scuff on them. His baseball shirt was fresh out of the laundry and he even ironed it for good measure. He hoped she was impressed. He tried to walk in a way that seemed casual, although he was about as nervous as he had ever been around a girl. He didn’t want to let on to just how much this date meant to him. She was hot--very sweet, but also very hot. A lot of kids liked her at school. He felt she was out of his league, but for some reason she said “yes” when he got the guts up to ask her if she wanted to go get pizza and maybe go see “The Karate Kid”. What possessed him to launch into such a brave act and how he got to this point with her was beyond him. He wanted to play this right. This is the big time, he thought. “Don’t blow it Denny” he kept repeating to himself.
On his way up the steps to her front door, he heard a slight crackling sound behind him. He turned to look and spotted her 13 year old kid brother in the tree by the driveway, hanging from a limb with a couple of his friends and giggling. Denny grinned and kept his pace. It was apparent from the muffled laughter that they realized they were spotted. The game was to scout out the new boyfriend. Denny was all Linda talked about at home this past week and it was made clear to her brother that there would be no teasing or funny business when Denny got to the house.

Linda also saw the boys in the tree. She shook her head and shouted”I see you Frankie! Get down now!” He and his friends began to maneuver through the branches, and as they did the unnerving sound of a cracking limb echoed in the air. Everyone froze. Frankie narrowly escaped falling by grabbing onto a higher limb just in time, but the limb he had been perched on broke away from the tree. It was an old, thick, dead branch with no leaves. More of a log actually. It turned end over end in the air for one full rotation on its way down before landing and significantly altering the hood of Denny’s car. Pieces of bark danced in the air as the limb bounced off the hood and into the driveway. Denny was speechless. He gawked at the long scratch and dent in the hood.

The boys, in shock, slowly made their way out of the tree. Frankie was the first on the ground. Things remained silent as everyone stared at the car. The silence was first broken by Lance, Frankie’s friend who was still up in the tree and started loudly muttering something about the situation. Everyone kind of ignored him until his words were cut short. His feet slipped from the tree branch he was standing on. He was wearing old wing tipped dress shoes with no laces and no socks, not the best gear for climbing a tree. His sweaty hands couldn’t pick up the slack that fast, so he was airborne before he knew it. He fell from the tree, screeching in a loud, sustained tone on his way down.
He couldn’t believe his luck. He wasn’t hurt in the least bit when he landed. It was a miracle, really. The windshield on Denny’s car had become a safety net. Lance was surprised that he wasn’t even scratched or anything even though the windshield glass looked like a hammock draped over the dash board. The pride he felt in being so lucky showed a little on his face as he poked at the windshield glass with his finger, amazed at how it stayed in one piece for the most part and had a sort of gummy texture to it.
Everyone stared at the damaged hood and the Lance-shaped impression in what was moments ago a streak-free, perfect windshield. Lance kind of looked over at his friends to see if they might appreciate the spectacle of his lucky fall, but they weren’t in the mood.
Denny and Linda couldn’t believe how suddenly things had unfolded. What was supposed to be only an awkward, first date moment had become a full blown disaster.
Denny now was watching Lance carefully scoot and shuffle off of his hood in a crouching position as his wing tips left black skid marks.
By this time, Linda’s parents were in the front yard trying to process what had just happened. They had heard the entire racket and came rushing out. Linda’s dad walked down toward Denny’s car and pretended to inspect the damage but mostly seemed to be looking over his own car that was parked nearby. Seeing his car was fine, he seemed relieved although he turned and yelled something at Frankie as he hit him in the back of the head. Weeks later, in the privacy of their clubhouse in the woods, Lance and Johnny would irritate Frankie by reenacting that particular moment in slow motion. Describing how Frankie’s cheeks shook and how his thick hair sort of jolted as one solid form, like a motorcycle helmet or something. They tried hard to mimic Frankie’s facial expression too, but knew it was one of those “had to be there” sort of things.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Lost in thought, he hadn't realised he was caught in the background of the snapshot. It was supposed to only be a photo of the two new sales reps. He was hoping to leave the party as soon as he could because he hated these functions. He began to hate all these trade shows and happy hour drinks at the hotel bar after the convention center closed for the day. Business is business though and he had to meet his quota. He would later go back to his hotel room and get some rest. Flipping through the channels on the t.v. while looking over the stack of business he cards he accumulated that day. As he dozed off into a restful sleep, the last thing on his mind would be that one day, an artist snooping around the web via an image search, would happen upon his picture.