Friday, March 01, 2013

Flash Fiction: "Chicken Lips"

NaBloPoMo March 2013


This month's NaBloPoMo theme is RISK. I've been revisiting some flash fiction that I'd written some time ago and I found this one that seems to have a bit of risk in it somewhere, so here you go.

Chicken Lips


It was their first date and it was a blind one, rabid with good intentions and interesting talk.  A mutual friend had set them up and Dana figured, why not, it'll be fun.  They both put on a mock game face when they met--for Marion's sake, they laughed--but there was a mutual attraction that neither of them could deny.   After awhile, they were chatting as though they'd known each other for years.

Unfortunately, something was killing her buzz. 

Every time Jason smiled at her, what little was there in the way of a mouth disappeared into the rest of his face, revealing two rows of gleaming whiteness. Dana smiled at him warmly and tried not to think about it but as the night wore on, it was all that she could think about.  The words glowed as they hovered around his head, in neon: chicken lips. After she watched him talk through the main course, she was ready to politely excuse herself and go home.  But to tell the truth, she was having a good time.  And besides--she never skipped dessert.

A question loomed over her thoughts like a cloud: Would he kiss her?  No sooner did this query appear than another floated along behind it, listlessly: If he did kiss her, what in God's name would it feel like?

That she was unlike anything that he had even remotely expected was enough to knock the wind out of Jason's Nantucket sails.  The details she gave him about herself and her life made him sputter with a mixture of bewilderment, confusion and pleasure.  He had driven his car past quite a few, locking the doors carefully as his vehicle came to a complete stop at the red light.  Perhaps there were one or two in his classes at his alma mater that he hadn't really paid any attention to.  This was certainly true at work.  And he'd certainly seen plenty in the movies, on television and those videos--music, sports, porn and otherwise.  But to have an intelligent insightful conversation with one--and a beautiful one, at that--this had never happened.

Jason, on the other hand, was exactly what Dana had expected. 

Jason was wonderful in a New England white guy kind of way.  The kind that can trace his family tree all the way back to Old England.  The kind that likes to go rock climbing on the weekends. The kind that walked through this life with the patented swagger of privelege and entitlement.  Jason had no need to stand up and demand whatever he wanted out of life. He understood from a very early age that clearly, it was already his.  An all-American birthright, if you will.  Somewhere down the line, whether they had any money or not, didn't they all come off like that to some degree?  Doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, with society condoning them all the way?

If my brother behaved like that, Dana thought, the cops would shoot him in the back 41 times.

As he excused himself and disappeared to the men's room, she sighed and wondered what she'd say to Marion the next day. Dana could visualize the look of disappointment on her face so easily.  How could she get out of explaining this one?  She'd have to think of something.  She always did.  Only someone who'd been in a situation with someone like this would truly empathize. As Dana nibbled on her dessert, she began to count the days leading up to the next night in with the girls and thought about how she'd describe this encounter.

Suddenly, she felt a slight pressure on the embankment next to her.  It was Jason, sliding towards her in the booth.  Here it comes, Dana thought and for a moment she closed her eyes to clear her thoughts.  When she opened them, he was very close to her.  Too close.

"Have you ever seen that movie Annie Hall?"
"You know that part about how they kiss each other at the beginning of the date to get the kiss overwith?  Because if they don't, Woody Allen will be thinking about it for the whole date and then the evening will be ruined?"
"I remember that scene."
"That's how I feel."

Dana looked into his face.  She could see the freckles that speckled his eyelids so delicately, so faintly, she had to resist the urge to touch them.  She wanted to tell him that they were beautiful but nothing would come out of her mouth.  She waited for the words to say and as she did, she held his gaze.

"I feel like if I don't kiss you now, I never will."

As he spoke, he came closer gradually, lowering his eyes to look at her mouth, stained with berries from her half-eaten dessert.  She held his gaze and readjusted, smiling faintly. All at once, she knew. That's why he noticed her.  That's why he harassed Marion into a blind date set-up. That's why he persued her all this time, polite and unassuming and direct.  He wanted a kiss, a real one, from big soft lips like hers that would taste like everything he'd ever wanted.  He got everything he ever wanted, didn't he?   Isn't that why this should be the one thing he doesn't get?

In that moment, Dana felt like the most powerful woman in the whole wide world.  And for a moment that seemed to last an eternity, she was. 

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