Sunday, September 13, 2009

#1 Reflections

He was the best looking man in town. There was not a mirror or woman his face had not reflected in. It gave him a certain confidence that he complimented by dressing well and keeping himself groomed within an inch of GQ.

She was new to town having just purchased the old Landry house off the square, kitty corner from the gazebo that was undergoing its one hundredth coat of brillant white paint.

The house appealed to her because of the large porch with the hanging wooden swing. In the evenings it was a nice place to sit and relax. The porch had a small opening in the board under the eaves, right about where it meets the house. At sunset, pigeons would flock to the house to roost in safety in the little space, gathering on the struts in little groups as if to gossip about the day's events. The only intrusion into their nightime activities were by two bolts that protruded through their floor, lodged into a seemingly sturdy two by four. When there were swingers below there was motion above.

She got a job at the courthouse coffee shop. Friendly to all. Flirting with none. She was on a first name basis with the regulars before he came in one day. He had been away on a business trip and spotted her as soon as he entered. He tried his usual with her to see his reflection in her face but it was not there. She was not playing hard to get. She was just not playing.

He persued her with such precision that bookies were on the verge of taking odds on his success. Surrounding her so much that any opportunity she had of meeting other men were all but impossible because no one wanted to compete in the game she now found herself in.

One day she gave in and surprised him while he was winding up with a new pitch. She invited him to dinner the next Friday at eight pm sharp. He was directed to bring the wine.

That Friday, he checked his reflection in the mirror before he left his house. Every hair on his head was held in its exact place by the newest men's hair shellac. His shirt was starched so stiff that it crackled when he moved. His precision pressed jeans and polished books finished off his look. Finally satisfied, he grabbed the wine off his kitchen counter and strolled out the door. Walking the two blocks to her house gave him time to fine tune his strategy for the evening. As he turned the corner and zeroed in on her house he put on his game face.

The house was one of the first built on the town square. It reflected the style of its day. Over the years it had sheltered hundreds of pigeons. This particular evening was no different. The birds had already settled down into their little groups under the eaves with a few nesting couples trying for privacy in the narrow edges where the floor and ceiling of their hideaway met.

He climbed the the few steps to the porch and reached out to knock on the door only to be met by her. She had two glasses in one hand and a corkscrew in another. As they sat on the porch swing enjoying the wine, he touched his hair, then pulled on his starched shirt to make it wrinkle free and finally ran his fingers down the crease of his jeans. When she was not looking he quickly rubbed the top of his boots on the back cuffs of of his jeans.

Tipping back her glass, she wondered how she was going to get through the evening. As if in relief, a timer began buzzing in the kitchen and she excused herself, leaving him in the swing as she went back into the house shaking her head in disbelief as she went towards the kitchen.

When she left, he took a swig of wine out of his glass and kicked back in the swing. When he came forward he stopped the swing. Glancing at the door, he quickly stood up, smoothed out his shirt and once again buffed the top of his boots before he sat back down on the swing. Instead of kicking back on the swing, this time he stretched out both of his legs moving the swing seat back and holding it. He raised both of his legs out to swing forward. Instead of the side chains stopping the swing's forward momentum, the chains stayed with the swing as it kept moving forward. He looked up and was hit face on with the secret pigeon coop floor and over one hundred years of pigeon debris.

She heard his scream and ran out to find him pooped and feathered. He was horrified by his less than perfect appearance but she held back her laughter and led him by the hand off the porch to the side yard where she prepared to hose him down. He was speechless. After the watering, she took him by the hand again, walking him back up the stairs to the porch and into the house. She pulled him into the bathroom and started running hot water into the large claw foot bathtub. After thinking twice about it, she added some bubble bath as he began fumbling with the buttons on his shirt. She left him alone for about five minutes then went back in, grabbed his clothes, and smiled at him. She told him dinner would be in ten minutes as she turned to go back out the door. On the way to the kitchen, she detoured by the washing machine where, with little fanfare, she dumped his wet clothes and turned on the machine.

In the kitchen she wondered who the man was now without his accessories. The bathroom door opened. She heard him enter the kitchen and slowly turned around. He stood before her. She looked at him and saw her reflection in his face.

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