Thursday, February 5, 2009


Bad Chocolate

I was freaked about making it to the post office on time to meet the deadline, rushing to send a certified letter containing a check I’d written out earlier. There were just so many zeros! I was about to cough up more of my hard earned money at one time than I had ever coughed up in my entire life, to the notorious Internal Revenue Service, no less. The line was very long, and I knew that I would be stuck in that dreary government building for at least thirty minutes, maybe more. Why was the post office so fucking crowded? Because I was there. My luck had been running dry. Case in point—huge tax audit—and my soon to be paltry bank account balance. (The Beatle's Taxman played in my head!)

Just as I entered the door a text message came in. Walking and reading my phone, (no bubblegum to blame), I slammed right into the person at the back of the line. Hard.

Profuse apologies ensued. As soon as I got a good look at the girl that I had crashed into, (Dave Matthew's Crash Into Me played in my head!), her phenomenal beauty registered and sent my hottie meter ballistic. Imagine Gisele Bundchen. Imagine touching her.

She was amazingly understanding about my clumsy attack against her gorgeous personage, we shared a lively exchange about how consuming text messaging had become. A giant package was at her feet and she inched it across the floor with her ballerina-slipper-like shoe. I’m six-foot-two and she wasn’t that much shorter than me. I’m not used to looking chicks in the eye. My last girlfriend was super-short, five-foot-one to be exact. Of course I broke up with her. I always break up with my girlfriends, for one reason or another.

The tall girl smiled at me.

“That won’t be a cheap date,” I said, pointing at the package on the floor. (I know...I'm such a smooth talker.)

“It looks heavy,” she said, “but it’s just oversized and awkward.” She was looking at the box as if it held a nest of vipers.

I nodded.

“It’s a giant fluffy white bear with a red satin bow,” she volunteered.

“Oh, really?”

“My ex boyfriend gave it to me for Valentines last year. I don’t want it hanging around my apartment anymore, taking up way to much room, so I’m sending it back to him.”

From further down the line, an old lady turned around in the most conspicuously curious manner, so she might see who was talking. And that old lady looked that tall girl up and down, scrutinizing her the way women openly check each other out in public. Only the most piggish guy would ever muster the courage to be so in your face when ogling a pretty girl.

So there I stood, acting cool, doing my best not to resemble a piggish guy.

“He’s such a jerk!” The tall girl told me, she kicked the box. “I hate him.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, lamely. She had the smoothest skin I’d ever seen, other than the skin on the beauties I'd drooled over in various magazine layouts. An astute guy like myself is fully aware that those beauties are airbrushed up one side and down the other, of course. Her hair was the color of honey, and smelled like my favorite candy. Hot Tamales. How ironic. (Alanis Morissette's Ironic played in my head!)

“I’m not one bit sorry." Her bottom lip shot out in the most fetching manner. "He’s not worth thinking about.”

I almost said something so stupid, like: If he’s not worth thinking about, why did you go through all the trouble of wrapping up that humongous stuffed animal and carting it all the way to Uncle Sam’s mailroom, where you'll end up spending mucho dinero sending it back to him, at the very same time of year that he gave it to you? But I didn’t. I edited myself. I said, “Valentine’s Day, it’s a stressful holiday.”

“It is, isn’t it?” Her eyes were green and heavily lashed, her earlobes cried out, I’m delicious and I know it!

The man standing directly behind me joined the discussion with, “I hate Valentine’s Day. Last year my wife gave me a heart-shaped box full of bad chocolate. And I got her a Sea-Doo. She gets an awesome recreational toy, complete with trailer, that I’m making hefty monthly payments on by the way, and what do I get? Bad chocolate.”

The woman standing behind the man with the inconsiderate wife said, “Bad chocolate? Is there such a thing?”

The tall girl said, “Oh Gawd, you bet there is. Do you have any idea how long that stuff sits on the shelf? Ew.”

The woman behind the man shook her head vigorously and pressed her point further. “My husband never gives me anything. Not even a stinking card. He doesn’t believe in Valentines Day. I’d take a heart-shaped box of bad chocolate over the big fat zero I recieve anyday.”

The man looked at her and said, “Give me your address. I’m sure I’ll get another one this year, I’ll drop it off at your house.”

The woman shot the man a nasty look, took hold of her small daughter and briskly maneuvered the child between the two of them.

The man couldn't help but notice that the woman felt he'd crossed a line. He said, “Just kidding.”

“I hope I don’t get any bad chocolate,” the tall girl said.

The man swung his head around and smiled at her warmly. “Don’t worry,” he told the exotic creature, “no man in his right mind would give you bad chocolate.”

He made a valid point. If I had a chance with a girl like that I’d buy her frilly valentine cards, and diamonds and cars and whatever else she desired. I’d cheat the IRS and buy her a house, even plant her a garden. (Everclear's I Will Buy You A New Life played in my head!) I got so worked up just thinking about our future life together I almost asked her out. But, as the line inched along, I got to thinking about how empty my pockets would be when the IRS cashed that check, and what a lousy boyfriend I had made in the past, how every single one of my girlfriends had ended up hating me, how every single one of them were enemies. All hell usually broke out whenever I ran into any old girlfriend. So as we got closer and closer to the front of the line in the crowded post office that afternoon, my practical side took over. A tall beautiful girl like that would surely turn me down. Oh, she’d be polite about it, but I would get a no all the same.

Girls like her, they deserve someone special. Someone rich, someone cool. Not a dweeb like me.

Here's the lyrics to Everclear's 
I Will buy You A New Life

Here is the money that I owe you
Yeah, so you can pay the bills
I will give you more when I get paid again
I hate those people who love to tell you
Money is the root of all that kills
They have never been poor
They have never had the joy of a wellfare Christmas
Yeah, I know we will never look back, yeah
You say you wake up crying
Yes and you don't know why
You get up and you go lay down inside my baby's room
Yeah, I guess I'm doing ok
I moved in with the strangest guy
Can you believe he actually thinks that I am really alive
I will buy you a garden, where your flowers can bloom
I will buy you a new car, perfect shiny and new
I will buy you that big house, way up in the west hills
I will buy you a new life
Yes I will
Yes I know all about that other guy
The handsome man with athletic thighs
I know about all the time before
With that obsessive little rich boy
They might make you think you're happy
Yeah, maybe for a minute or two
They can't make you laugh
No they can't make you feel the way that I do
I will buy you a garden, where your flowers can bloom
I will buy you a new car, perfect shiny and new
I will buy you that big house, way up in the west hills
I will buy you a new life
Yeah I will buy you a new life
Yeah I know we can never look back, yeah
No, oh will you please let me stay the night
Will you please let me stay the night
No one will ever know
I will buy you a garden, where your flowers can bloom
I will buy you a new car, perfect shiny and new
I will buy you that big house, way up in the west hills
I will buy you a new life
Oh yeah
I will buy you a garden, where your flowers can bloom
I will buy you a new car, perfect shiny and new
I will buy you that big house, way up in the west hills
I will buy you a new life

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.


PopArtDiva said...

Her hair smelled like Hot Tamales - lol! This guy cracks me up - everything reminds him of a song or something to eat!

EW - lol. How do you spell that in Scrabble?

Crap, I wish he'd just grown some and asked her out!

Annie Wicking said...

wonderful :-)

Marit said...

Simply delicious. I enjoyed this from beginning to end. You captured that little slice of life that sometimes magically happens when waiting in a line. Your guy -- I could just eat him up and so wished he had had the nerve to just say "coffee?" Thinking in song is something I know so well...your story caused my thoughts to be I wanna' be like you (the old Louie Prima version)-- to write a story so well your reader wants to come back for more. Sometimes I think in "movie" too...I'll be back