“Did you ever watch Full House?” the woman asked.
I paused for a moment, then pantomimed the
phrase “Cut it out” using only my fingers.
She grinned. I chuckled. It was like we had our
own language. “Hey … do you want to hear a joke?”
she inquired. I nodded. She rubbed her hands
together like Mister Miyagi and said,
“What do you get when you mix The Beatles, The
Smashing Pumpkins and Orphan Annie?” I shrugged.
“Time,” she said. I didn’t laugh. This upset her.
Her ears turned red and she bit her upper lip.
She seemed more embarrassed than anything else.
“I guess I just don’t get it,” I told her. “Could
you explain the punchline? I’m a little slow.”
“Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow,” she stated.
I shifted my eyes back and forth in deep thought.
“Forget it,” she said. “It’s a terrible joke.”
I nodded. She sighed and took a drag from her
cigarette. Another train whistle sounded.
We looked at each other. “I think we both know
I’m not getting on that one either,” I said.
“That makes nine,” she replied. “When do you have to
go home?” I shrugged. I honestly didn’t know.
There was a long moment of silence as we
stood there committing the classiest form of
suicide, puffing away on our death sticks.
I leaned against the wall and stared at the sky.
The sun was inches over the horizon.
“Have you ever been to the beach?” I asked her.
She nodded. “You ever played beach volleyball?”
“No,” she told me, but I think she was lying
because her left hand brushed hair away from her
face and she shifted her weight from one foot to
the other. “Well,” I started. “At Venice Beach
they have something called Sunset Point. If you win
it you score two points instead of one. I think.
It’s been so long since I’ve been there, but … yeah. When
the sun dips into the water the sky turns
green for a fraction of a second. Very
few people can see it, but it’s quite lovely.”
The woman smiled, but stayed silent. I sighed.
“Anyway,” I said, inhaling acrid smoke,
“I have a question for you.” “Shoot,” she replied.
“Why’d you get so angry when I asked you to
follow me out of the coffee shop?” She laughed
and put a hand on her hip. “No one is going
to lead me around my hometown. Sorry if
that came across as wicked.” “Nah,” said I. “You’re…”