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Anyone who met him realized he was far from a special man. Seven-hundred-and-twelve miles, to be exact. His voice was light, trivial, like a thistle bloom falling into silence without a sound, without any weight, as though a parakeet was being vacuumed out of its cage. His life-long projectile phlegm problem didn't help matters.
Still, there was a manly aroma about him. It was the lusty odor of earth and cattle, mixed with the scent of Parisian nightlife and never-washed junior high school sneakers. He smelled tart and fruity and full of vitamin C, yet there was also the nauseating stench of low tide and crawling things and badly prepared Szechuan eggplant. And, of course, there was his beloved tattoo -- the one of the transvestite bikers convention where his parents had met.
Yes, he was a complex man, and it was exactly this complexity which compelled him this day to ride the city bus dressed in his Weinerschnitzel counterperson's uniform which, he proudly noted, still fit him from high school, when the fast-food restaurant was called Der Weinerschnitzel. Yes, they had removed the "Der." It was now simply Weinerschnitzel. But why had they removed the "Der"? Too Germanic? Once you have Weinerschnitzel, though, how much more Germanic does "Der" make it? If it were up to him, he'd bring back the "Der." Der Weinerschnitzel. It sounded more authentic than just Weinerschnitzel. But, hey, they must have their reasons.
A firm voice nudged him out of his musings. It was the bus driver, shouting in his ear, "For the last time, get off my lap!"
As he moved to another seat, it occurred to him that time is the wind that blows down life's corridors, slamming all the doors. Oh, sure, you could open the doors back up, but they all had those annoying hinges that make them close automatically. And just try complaining to the manager, that flour-faced elfin man whose arms looked like they'd been squeezed from tubes. That gave him an idea for a song he could write. He'd call it "That Flour-Faced Elfin Man Whose Arms Looked Like They'd Been Squeezed From Tubes." Maybe he'd even add a "Der" to it.
It was then that he noticed her. She was a big, ripe-bodied blonde with all the bloom of youth, and yet deliriously dull and bovine at the same time. Here, he thought, was a woman who could no doubt do what only the most exquisite, desirable women could -- throw a softball like a cannon shot. She was a lovely, skillfully made, richly evocative woman, yet one who might also be referred to as a "pig."
He could feel across the bus the surging power of her presence. Or was it that Burrito Grande with grilled peppers and extra beans he had wolfed down for lunch? In any case, he loved the curve of her mouth, the gentleness of her eyes, the graceful strength of her hands which clutched the Soldier of Fortune magazine she read, while munching on a Hostess Ding-Dong and laughing completely out of context. "My goddess," he thought. "My dear goddess... My der goddess."
Suddenly, she looked up and when her eyes met his, her heart thudded like a drum. She gave her pacemaker a whack, which returned her heartbeat to its normal Cajun rhythm. There was something she instinctively liked about him. Was it the fluid, rippling motion of his muscles, his rakish good looks, or was it the fact that the freckles on his face spelled out the phrase, "I own a Ferrari"?
She flushed as a rush of warmth splashed over her, and then informed the drunk beside her that this was not a public restroom. She got up and went to sit beside the object of her sudden passions. A trembling thrill raced through her as he informed her that the main interests of his life were pleasuring women and finding discount socks.
She was a little in awe of him, confused by his easy charm and by the fact that he was squeezing out the contents of a can of Cheese-Whiz on her Converse high-tops. They conversed for hours, sharing everything. He confided that he ran a chain of imaginary time-share vacation condos on the Riviera. She showed him her tattoo of sports legend Marv Alpert being treated at the Betty Ford Clinic.
Later, back at his place, his fingers fumbled with the buttons of her sweater. There were 97 buttons -- one, she said, for each time the vice squad had named her Catch of the Day. Her body, alive now, yearned for a conqueror, but he was only up to button number 26 and insisted upon singing a German beer hall song every five buttons. And while his rendition of "The Kaiser's Hunting March" was among the best she'd ever heard, she sensed it might be a long night.
Impatient, she tore her sweater off herself, wanting to unleash his hunger and satisfy it, despite the fact that he was now stuffing his face with Chef Boyardee beef-filled ravioli, while giggling at a rerun of SpongeBob SquarePants. Ever the thoughtful gentleman, he offered her the last ravioli. He finally finished and moved against her, caressing her body with the one remaining piece of garlic bread he hadn't scarfed down. No one had done that to her since the Festival of San Gennaro.
Her hands sledded over the muscles of his back, tobogganed down his torso, and finished with an impressive luge down his legs. For her efforts, she received a 9.2, 8.7, and 9.8, which bested her Tokyo records by a full half point.
And so it became a sweet, fairy tale romance that seemed too fragile for the real world. He knew in his heart and soul that this was the loveliest, most fulfilling experience of his life, despite the fact that she would later sell their story to the tabloids and kept whispering "Bastard!" behind his back.
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