Escaping Intact

by J. Marcus Weekley


“Chrissy, why are you thinking so heavily?” Tom asked. His hands were on the white tablecloth, set there like appendages from a movie, appendages designed by an effects-person who knew what he was doing. Tom’s mouth moved when he talked, and his hair sparkled in the glow of fluorescent lamps in the shape of orcas.

“I’m not thinking,” Chrissy replied, and she stopped toying with the Hot Wheels truck she zoomed across her plate. It made a sound like a tractor running over a wire on the road. Chrissy resumed playing.

From the corner of the restaurant, a man in a black cape and sneakers picked up an umbrella, and began swinging it wildly over consumers’ heads. He laughed as he did this. He opened the umbrella when he got to Chrissy and Tom, and started singing “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder” as he passed by their table, the umbrella swooping over Chrissy’s and Tom’s hair by inches.

They continued their conversation without noticing the man in the cape and sneakers, and Tom wanted to know why Chrissy wouldn’t stop thinking. She was pregnant, yes, it wasn’t his, and why should he have to do all the dishes?

“Chrissy, why are you thinking so heavily?” Tom asked again. His mind was like a wheel in a bottle and he couldn’t stop his hands from being pink, fake and ultra-real in the lamplight on the white tablecloth. He wanted to shoot his mouth off, to throw a tantrum at Chrissy and hit her in the eye, to be ogreish and buffoonish all in the same heave of breath. But he couldn’t. His eyes wandered to the lady next to them.

She noticed the green eyes bouncing across the white tablecloth, and wished she had a pair herself. Her girlfriend’s blue ones were so dull, as were her son’s, and she would have given just about half of the world to own a pair of green eyes that she could stare into, find the future in.

And she really could have given half the world. She was a diabolical ruler, after all, name of Susan. Nothing special really, and nobody seemed to mind that she had taken over half the world, and she was a woman. People just didn’t seem to care these days.

The green eyes rested beside her plate, looking exhausted. Susan wondered what made eyes exhausted, and she turned to the waiter for a question, but he had already moved over to dance with the man in the cape and sneakers. She asked anyway, yelling her question over the song: “HAVE YOU GOT ANY IDEA WHY EYES GET EXHAUSTED? AND MAY I HAVE SOME MORE WODKA?” She had always pronounced vodka with a “w,” because her grandfather had told her a story about little girls who used “w”s improperly.

Tom, eyeless, felt suddenly dizzy. He wanted to see what Chrissy was doing now. He wanted to share in her heaviness by staring into her golden hair, that face like a plate of milk, those teeth as white as Christmas candy. He thought his eyes should return to his head now.

They didn’t want to, it seemed, as Tom thought, Get back here, and the eyes lolled over by Susan’s wodka, enjoying the moisture of the glass.

Susan wanted to leave, the singing was making her uncomfortable, and she wanted to gank the eyes into her purse. No one would notice. She scooped the eyes up like just-born puppies into the red napkin in her lap. She looked around. She noticed the eyes were Tom’s but turned toward the door, afraid he would... wait, he couldn’t see her. She breathed relief. She would get these eyes without fear of imprisonment, or worse, humiliation. No one said a word.

But the dancing man in the cape and sneakers noticed Susan slipping the red napkin into her svelte purse. He noticed her eyeing the man next to her, the blonde woman zooming a truck across her plate, the entire restaurant watching him twirl, and the waiter, ah yes, the waiter with codfish breath dancing extra close to him now.

The waiter was getting excited, his body was sweaty against the man in the cape, and the umbrella man wanted to finish his song and move along into the kitchen again, or maybe out into a corner coffee shop for hot chocolate.

The dancing man in sneakers decided to make a break for it. He dove at Susan’s waist, pulling down the table cloth like a bunch of clouds caught in the hand of a giant. She sighed, disgusted that her ploy to steal Tom’s eyes had been foiled. But she stood up, determined to carry on like nothing was happening, or would happen.

The waiter screamed. The dancing man farted and missed. Tom and Chrissy did not notice. Susan strolled to the door with the confidence of a dead Nascar driver, and she was never heard from again. She didn’t even pay.

Tom asked, “Chrissy, why are you thinking so heavily?”

She zoomed the truck across the ivory plate, noises escaping her mouth into the night.


Copyright © 2006 by J. Marcus Weekley

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