Monday, December 14, 2009

Shoeless Joe

Dan O'Shea has a flash fiction challenge going on at his blog, Going Ballistic. Check out the links for the premise and other stories. Mine is below.


Only in America do you take off your shoes. I was in Mexico last year, standing in line for a flight, and the guy comes running up to me, practically laughing. “SeƱor, por favor, there is no need to remove sus zapatas. That is only in America.” Made me feel like the only Protestant at Mass, standing or sitting when I wasn’t supposed to. Parents smacked small children for laughing at the ignorant gringo.

So this time I was getting on a plane in Miami and I do have to take off my shoes. I bent over to take them off and the woman in front of me was wearing an ankle bracelet. Those things are sexy, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because only women with nice ankles ever wear them, which I wish some of those who wear belly shirts would think of once in a while. My eye moved up to her calf, which was time well spent. She had knee dimples, which I also think are sexy as hell. By the time I took a peek at her thighs she had her shoes off and caught me. I looked away, though she didn’t seem to mind. A gentleman’s gotta show some class.

I hit the bar until they called for boarding. Southwest flight, no reserved seats, everyone lined up like we’re catching helicopters out of Saigon, and there she was, in my group. Shorts exactly long enough to hide her cheeks and one of those things I think they call a camisole that covered her belly but never touched it, not the way her rack held it out. No sign of a bra. No sign she needed one, either.

I showed my pass and took a seat on the aisle so I could stretch my legs and she stops at my row and asks do I mind if she sits in the seat next to me. Please do, I say. I offered to move into the aisle but she said there’s room and slid in facing me so the nipples poking through that silky top were close enough for a taste if I was so inclined. Which I’m not, this being a public place and me a gentleman like I am. But, still.

She said flying made her nervous and she talked when she was nervous and would I mind some conversation to keep her mind off it? Conversation was fine with me, but it wasn’t likely to keep my mind off of what I was nervous about, which was whether she’d notice the front of my pants getting as tight as the back of her shorts. She patted my hand and said I was a nice guy, which I am, as you may have noticed by now.

We talked the whole flight. About the friend she’d been visiting and her job, which was, believe it or not, hospitality. She had a couple of drinks and made a few comments that would have lent themselves to inappropriate rejoinders from a man less simpatico to women than me. Told me again what a nice guy I was and wrapped her hand around mine when things got bumpy. By that time my tray table was down and I was happy to let her hold my hand anywhere she wanted.

She stood well inside what might be classically defined as my personal space while we waited for our luggage. Hers came first and I picked it up for her, of course. She stayed until mine arrived, which I thought was real nice. Said how she couldn’t remember enjoying a flight so much.

She didn’t know where to get a cab and, since it was getting late, I asked where she needed to go. As luck would have it, her place was no more than forty miles from mine, so it was no inconvenience to give her a lift. She said she didn’t want to put me out and I said it was my pleasure, and she hooked the nail of her pinkie finger in the corner of her mouth and smiled at me and said okay, she’d make it up to me. She had one quick stop to make, but it was on the way.

We got to her stop and I waited in the car. She came out at a jog, slammed the door behind her and screamed about getting the fuck out of here now! There was a stop sign at the corner I figured I’d roll through even though it was a residential area, her being in a hurry. She reached her left foot over when I slowed down and stomped on the gas and asked did I hear those sirens or not?

She went quiet and damned if I didn’t hear sirens. Getting closer, too. We were moving pretty good—sixty-five or seventy in a twenty-five mile zone—me getting antsy because I’m a good driver and all but I’m no Jimmy Johnson. She’s the one looks like Danica Patrick, maybe she should drive. I don’t remember what happened next. One second I’m driving, then the air bag is in my lap, I’m staring at a tree through a broken windshield, the inside of my car smells like a shotgun went off, and the chick is gone. There were a lot of cops, though. One reached under the passenger seat and held up what looked like a brick wrapped in cellophane. Hard to make out what they were saying; “Miranda” and “asshole” stood out.

Now I’m bunking with this guy named Junior who says he can tell I’m cherry and he’ll take care of me, but it’s gonna cost. All because I had to take off my fucking shoes.


Paul D Brazill said...

Brilliant. Cracking ending. You have to take your shoes off in Poland and England too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We had a story about heads, only natural to have one about feet. Great fun!

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Outstanding, Dana. Your writing is so smooth, and so many chuckles along the way. Thanks for an enjoyable read!

Anonymous said...

I may not be as simpatico to women as your protag, but I'm sure as hell simpatico to a good read -- thanks for that one.

Dorte H said...

Oh, this one is so funny! I bet he will never bother about being a nice guy again:

Steve Weddle said...

Ha. That's good stuff. Straight. Clean. The sort of writing where you move from line to line and don't even notice you're reading, except-- what a good story, you know? Really nice.

Evan Lewis said...

James M. Cain is back and inhabiting the body of Dana King.

Kent said...

Just look at where being a nice guy gets you. Good pacing with a great pay-off.

Unknown said...

You should never trust them the minute they tell you what a nice guy you are. This is a fun story, Dana. I had a really great time with it.

Chris said...

"As luck would have it, her place was no more than forty miles from mine"


Gerald So said...

I like how you held off giving us details about the woman's crime until the end. I knew things would end badly for the narrator, but I couldn't guess how badly.