I completely forgot about this. My attempt at total pulp fiction. I guess I've decided not to pursue this, so I don't mind telling you the main character wakes with her face planted in a pizza box full of pizza.
And now, my gift to you:
When the door closed, Harley Hendrix stood dizzily for a moment, as if the earth had shifted in some noticeable way beneath her. Then she realized she wasn’t breathing. She wasn’t breathing, but stood, holding her breath, waiting, expectant for Bill to swing the door open and sweep her off her feet. She was waiting for what she had waited for her entire life. A door to open, a man to enter and her real life to begin, finally at 39.
The door did not open.
Instead, she turned the radio on, fifties rock and roll her mama used to play on Sunday mornings as she burnt the breakfast sausage. Harley did the ‘mash potato’ into the kitchen and retrieved the frozen bucket of premixed margaritas from the freezer; her emergency ‘stash’. She left it on the counter to thaw as she pulled the pan of fresh turtle brownies from the oven. She pushed her finger into the center of the brownies and then quickly removed it. Done!
While the mix melted and the brownies cooled Harley kept busy. Too busy to think about how much fun she’d had with Bill over the past four months. Too busy to think about the life she had already imagined and planned with Bill: the small house in the country, matching quarter horses and a couple of goats, some barn cats. Harley hadn’t imagined a small child, she wanted to see how the goats worked out first.
But now she was thinking of the goats, thinking of Bill saddling the horses and a surge of panic well inside her. She’d ruined it with Bill. She didn’t know how but he was gone now. Moving in with some woman, or skank ho’, he’d met online two weeks ago. Talking marriage, as if seeking Harley’s advice on how to proceed. As if Harley had any experience with that!
“This calls for an exceptionally large, overloaded, everything and your brother pizza,” she determined in a quiet, fierce voice to Pepe, her quiet, fierce schnauzer. Pepe barely paid Harley any attention, having been through this routine many times before.
After ordering her pizza, Harley’s eyes landed on a picture of her and Bill at their favorite Italian restaurant called ‘Noodles’. The waiter had taken their picture. Bill hadn’t wanted to recreate the famous scene from Lady and Tramp, the two dogs sharing the same long noodle until their lips touched. Bill had thought it was stupid, embarrassing. But when he saw how much it meant to her, saw the tears glistening in her eyes he had complied with her wishes.
Only, as Harley looked at the image with the lens of love so ruthlessly stripped from her eyes, she realized the grin on Bill’s face was actually more an angry grimace, a really, really, really angry grimace. How had she not noticed that before? His eyes, those deep grey pools of warmth and understanding seemed to hold daggers pointed at her idiotic smiling face. It was there, in the picture, the truth that they would never be together, never enter into marital union. Never own goats.
But Harley did not despair, not yet. Despair would come in a little over five months, when she turned forty, if nothing happened soon. And it had to happen soon.
Until something happened, Harley slipped a dvd into the player, determined to not dwell on the wasted evening. There was no chance Bill would re-enter her mind tonight, not after a billionth showing of Interview with a Vampire. And a couple of margaritas. And a pan of brownies. And a medium pizza, the works.
Harley was well into her second margarita, dancing to ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and slicing a lime when the doorbell rang. One thought blazed through her heart, her mind and her soul: Bill! In her excitement Harley sliced into the lime too forcefully, cutting deep into the meat of her thumb.
“Ow, ow, ow, owie,” she muttered as blood ran freely down her arm onto the cutting board, discoloring the limes. Then it hit her, Bill wasn’t at the door.
“Idiot, its only the stupid pizza,” she said as she grabbed a paper towel and pressed it to her thumb. But it did little good. By the time she opened the door to the hippie pizza guy, the paper towel and her entire arm was a bloody mess.
She said, “Hey, hold on,” as she fumbled around in her jean pockets for money.
“Dude,” the pizza guy said, his shining eyes glued to her injury.
“Oh, its nothing,” she said with a laugh, “nothing a little tequila can’t cure. Lime injury, happens all the…”
The words died on Harley’s lips as the pizza guy pushed the pizza box and himself forward into her living room.
“Hey, well okay, come on in,” Harley said, startled by the intrusion.
The pizza guy was now inside the house. He looked quickly over his shoulder through the doorway and then shut the door behind him.
“All I have is twenty, just, uhm, just keep the change. That’s fine.” She held the bill towards the pizza guy and placed her hand on the pizza box. But he did not take the bill.
“Just keep the change,” she pulled the pizza from his hand, “and I’ll keep the pizza. That’s generally how it works.” She was about to add, “crazy pizza guy?” beneath her breath when he pulled his lips back, reminding her of a snarling coyote she’d seen once as a child on Little House on the Prairie.
He was now crazy pizza snarling coyote, with a little spittle running down the side of his open mouth. Which, by the way, revealed a set of very long incisors, long and pointed. They weren’t particularly clean teeth, not bright white and shiny and why should they be? He was a pizza delivery guy, his dental insurance had to be pretty crappy.
Harley said, “You need to leave now. I have…” she reached into her purse on the coffee table quickly and pulled out a can of deodorant. “Mace, this is deadly, blind your ass mace, Mister, and if you don’t leave now, I’ll spray it right in your eyes and in your mouth.” She found herself wondering if the deodorant might help with the coyote’s putrid breath, if somehow she would be doing him a great service right before he… he what, she wondered.
Then she knew.
He intended to eat her.