on the block

I hear him and his buddy walking behind me first, joking about a hole in someone’s transmission. When they start to pass me, I look over to say hi, we’re passing too close not to.

The one of them stops short. He says, “Hey beautiful.”

I laugh, that’s what I always do. They start walking alongside me.

“How is it I’ve been around here all my life and I’ve never run into your pretty face before?”

“I don’t know, I’ve been living here four years. Maybe you just weren’t looking hard enough.”

The other one laughs. “Good answer,” he says.

“Well, beauty in the eye of the beholder, right? So how long you been beholdin’?”

I laugh again, I have no idea how to answer that.

He swings a hand through the air. “No, I’m just a joker, don’t mind me. Tell the truth I’m a little lonely, that’s all.” He looks at me with soft, honest eyes. He’s handsome in a stocky way. He smiles and I see that his each of his teeth is ringed in gold.

“I can’t really help you with that,” I say, “I’ve got a boyfriend.”

“Yeah, how long you had that problem?” His friend laughs, walking faster past us toward the corner, leaving some room.

“The problem of a boyfriend? Oh, a good while.”

“You know, you can work around that, nobody the worse for it.” He’s pushing me now, the eyes have gone sly.

We’ve gotten to my stoop, I open the iron gate. “I stick to the letter of the law on that one.”

“I used to be a lawyer,” he tells me, “didn’t last long.”

“No? Didn’t like it?”

“I just had attention issues.”

I wave a hand, encompassing the world. “That’s sort of the national diagnosis, isn’t it.”

“No,” he says, the gilded teeth flashing again. “Just too many beautiful women around.”


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