So you're standing on the corner there and I'm waving and hooting at you but you don't see a thing because you always had that talent of not noticing me and the bus heaves up and you get onto it and I'm trying to cross the street but there's no mercy to be had on this boulevard so by the time I reach the farther shore the bus is two blocks down and accelerating like the Starship Enterprise, in a second or two it's going to go zing-poof and disappear in a lightstreak so I start running but no way, I flash on the penultimate scene in Dr. Zhivago where Omar Sharif spots Julie Christie in her babushka on a streetcar and tries to chase her down but his heart explodes and he croaks in the gutter so I give it up for a bad job, clamber up on the first available barstool and have a lengthy conversation with a rock tumbler, some ice cubes and the amber stuff.
Listen to an audio file of Joe reading an excerpt from "Roaring Girl" Listen
She has these eyes, sometimes they take me so far away I think maybe I won't be coming back.
I sing a dipshit Bobby Sherman song to her in Mr. Reese's third period Seniors History class: "Julie, Julie, Julie, do you love me....?" Sing it to her from across the aisle when Mr. Reese has his back turned, to bust her ass, so she'll pay attention to me. Sometimes she scowls.
Today her face goes funny when I do it. Mr. Reese is making a list on the blackboard, all the different ways the Gestapo tortured prisoners during the war. He's really getting into it, he's got like seven or eight things chalked up there. I'm singing to her low, looking sidewise to my left, she gives me this look, picks up her books, walks out of the room.
Mr. Reese whips around, jabbing his finger at her as she passes through the doorway.
"Miss Nader! Miss Nader! Get back in here!"
But she's gone.
He drops the chalk, bends over to retrieve it, I think: what the hell? Get up and follow her....
Joe Boland is the author of numerous short stories that offer a deeply honest portrayal of everyday life. His first book of short stories, "You Are Here", was published by Ramsfield Press in 2013.