So we were walking around the lake, well…pond actually, we were walking on the path around it, the lake or pond. It was a first date of sorts, we had just had Thai chicken soup. If you stood on your tip-toes at the highest point on the path, you could see, over the tops of trees, Mount Rainier. Just the tip, from your tip-toes.
“Like this,” I said
“Like this?” she said.
“Like that,” I said.
“Oh!, I see it.” she said.
I was telling her about the time I’d met Jesus…as we strolled. I was telling her how last summer I’d hitched down the coast. From Seattle. And as I was speaking strolling, attempting to verbalize the account…how I had met Jesus and all, she starts fussing with her shirt and pulls both arms in, like she was cold or something.
It was mid-July I believe.
Well so we had meandered right out to the end of this pier, or dock, out over the lake pond and she is still waggling around with her arms inside her shirt, a tie-dyed affair, the shirt was.
Anyhow we are at the edge of the pier dock thing looking out across the lake pond and both her arms pop out of her shirt.
“Here,” she said. “Put this in your pocket.”
“Your bra,” I said.
“My bra,“ she said. “I won’t be needing it.”
“You won’t?” I said.
“Nope!” she said.
And she up and gives me this gentle kind of full body shove and I reel back and well end up in the drink, and she jumps in right alongside me and comes up with this shit-eating grin on. And we are standing there, waist deep, in the water (which was kind of brackish) standing there, me a bit flabbergasted with this bra wadded up in my fist, and her with the shit eating grin on.
“Wet tee-shirt contest,” she said. “I win!”
“You win…” I said.
“I win!” she said. “By default.”
“You do,” I said. “By default.”
So we climbed up and out squishing sodden and I remember watching her, and they were pretty perky prior, but more so now then and well we ended up in bed for about a week, our damp clothes and pizza/Thai delivery strewn about the room.
“You didn’t finish your story,” she said.
“My story?” I said.
“How you met Jesus,” she said.
“That story,” I said.
“Finish it, the story,” she said.
She had flomped back the sheets and sat upright. Pulled her knees to her chest with this bare-bottomed rocking attentive motion. Kindergarten story-time and milk in the tiny carton. And so I propped up on one elbow and told how I had hitched down the coast, from Seattle to Ukiah. And how just outside Crescent City, I’d sat and rested on a stretch of guard-rail at the top of a hill with my thumb out and noticed this large floppy hat pedaling up the hill.
“A hat riding a bike,” she said.
“It was attached,” I said. “The hat to a body.”
“Attached,” she said. “Floppy, to a body.”
“Right,” I said. “Floppy hat body pedaling.”
“Got it,” she said.
And so I tell her how this guy rides up on an old Schwinn 10-speed, with a black bag strapped to the back hat flopping. He kicks the stand down on this rickety bike and walks up beside me.
“Good morning,” he says.
“Morning,” I say.
“Do you walk in Grace?” he says.
“Grace?” I say.
“In Grace, do you walk in Grace?” he says.
“I’ve walked a bit today,” I say.
“In Grace?” he says.
“I suppose, in Grace,” I say.
“Wonderful!” he says. “Have you eaten?”
“Not yet today so much,” I say.
“I have plenty,” he says. “Would you care to partake?”
“Sure,” I say.
And as I tell her this, her crotch is there rocking, across from me rocking and she is humming. It was all very distracting. I mean what with the word Grace and all. A pleasantly, uncomfortable distraction I guess… as I recollect anyhow.
I told her how he (the guy in the floppy hat) starts undoing all these cords and straps holding the black plastic bag to the back of the bike and pulls out some Safeway buck-a-loaf French-bread and a can of sardines, and sits there on the guard-rail next to me forking bits of fish onto tore off chunks of bread. And tells how he has pedaled down from Portland, on his way to a wedding in San Francisco and only a couple flats so-far. And we polish off the bread and sardines right down to scrubbing the oil out of the tin and he straps together everything, straddles the bike, and tugs the floppy hat cord to his chin.
“Go in Peace Brother,” he says.
“I will do that,” I say.
And he pedals off. Never saw the guy again, I tell her crotch rocking.
“Crazy,” she said.
“Hey,” I said.
“Yes?” she said
“What’s your cats name?” I said.
“Smithsonian,” she said.


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