Where is your woman? Gone to Spanish Harlem? Gone to buy you pastels? Where is your woman? Gone to Spanish Harlem? Gone to buy you books and bells beneath Indian summer?

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

The day before her boyfriend returned, we rehearsed what we would tell him: considering he hadn’t answered her letters with the enthusiasm befitting such a passionate relationship, she had dumped him and started going out with me.

That night, she and I lay the on the hood of my dad’s car and gazed up at the streetlamps. She rested her hand on my chest. It was great. We left the doors open and the tape deck softly exhaled Fine Young Cannibals. A perfect night.

The battery in the Buick worked the next morning and everything. I drove to her house with a can of Mountain Dew clutched between my thighs.

We’d sort out everything with him. It would take days. Weeks, more likely. In September, she’d return to Hampshire and I’d move in with her at the new dorms. Hampshire was famously loose about that shit. She said her freshman year roommates’ boyfriends practically lived with them and nobody gave a shit.

Her boyfriend had spent the summer in Europe, driving around, recording in Amsterdam. Most of the time, she talked about his drugs. Sometimes, she would use a use different name: occasionally, he was ‘Chalky’; other times, simply ‘Mike.’ Chalky Mike knew GG Allin from Boston.

I’m not proud to admit that it took me a while to get out of the car when I first showed up. Chalky Mike was older than I thought. Early 30s or so. Long evilblack hair and denim vest with some weird skull shit drawn on the back. I had always imagined him being around our age.

So I sat in the car for a few… I sat in the car for a while and I looked at Chalky Mike, with his studded wristbands and his riding boots. He stared back and me, and obviously figured I was chicken shit. Stifling a laugh.

She got pissed. In retrospect, I don’t blame her. What the fuck was I sitting in the car for? I was supposed to show up and support her as she told Chalky Mike to go to hell. Or, at least, back to Amsterdam. Possibly San Francisco.

I closed my eyes and I got out of the car. I closed the door. I had locked my keys inside. I could see them on the front seat.

“Herrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeessssss Johnny!” Chalky Mike rumbled like a roll on a timpani.

I fixed him my Mr. Spoke look. His skin was the color of old paper. He was wearing the coolest Velvet Underground shirt I’d ever seen. I was wearing wide wale cords and deck shoes.

She pointed at me like she was telling a dog to fetch a tennis ball.

“Tell him what we said, last night.”

I aimed my glare at Chalky Mike’s forehead; I couldn’t look him in the eyes.

“Nice to meet you.”

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