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WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Silly Man - Week 3 Idol Entry

Silly Man
by
Joanne D. Kiggins

People say you always find what you’re looking for when you stop looking.

Dolores noticed everything about customers of her convenience store with one quick glance. A man appeared in the doorway. He had thick, dyed black hair, high cheekbones. His shirt stretched over broad shoulders and chest. Biceps bulged in short sleeves, and his forearms flexed as he leaned on the doorframe. She noticed the smile that was slow to form.

She read people to help pass the time and to determine if the contents might be more worthy than the cover. His reading filled her with contempt. She continued to sweep the floor.

“How can I help you?”

She knew his type; sweet words would pour from his mouth when he found his tongue.

“Would you like to go for coffee when you get off work?” he asked, lifting a picnic basket.

“Sure. My employee will be here in a few minutes. Where should I meet you?”

The corners of her mouth rose slightly. His eyes met hers after taking inventory of her with embarrassing detail.

“North Park by the big willow at the lake. No one goes there. Six o’clock.”

“Sure.”

He slipped out the door before she could ask his intentions. Didn’t matter, really.

The park was empty at dinner hour. She passed no joggers or bikers. Dolores parked near the willow precisely at six. She ambled to the blanket, knelt near him, and pulled the clip from her graying auburn hair allowing it to flow over her shoulders.

“Would you like pie to go with your coffee?” he asked.

She opened her purse, pulled out a small vial and dropped two tiny tablets in her coffee. “No thank you. I’m watching my weight. Would you like sweetener?”

“Yes. You don’t need to lose weight. I think you’re perfect the way you are.”

Here it comes. Fill me full of lies, tell me everything I want to hear, and sound like you mean every word. She dropped three tablets in his cup.

“Believe me, I’m far from perfect.” She bumped her cup and coffee spilled onto the blanket and pie. Dolores dabbed the coffee with napkins and poured a fresh cup.

He reached and ran his finger from her elbow to her wrist. His eyes wandered. “Your skin is so soft. Your smile is beautiful, and your eyes; you could kill with those eyes.”

“Sometimes I wish I could. I’d never get caught then, would I? That would be perfect, wouldn’t it?” Dolores laughed.

“Tell me, why did you accept my invitation?” He swallowed and filled his cup again.

Her eyes met his. She dropped three more tablets in his cup.

“Because you asked. Why did you ask?”

“I thought you looked the type of person I’d like to get to know.”

“What type is that?”

“Friendly, beautiful inside and out, nice smile, intelligent.”

“What makes you think I’m friendly and intelligent?”

“Well. You came for coffee. I’d say that’s smart.”

“What do you consider 'beautiful inside and out'?”

“Someone like you, who isn’t afraid to trust people, who smiles a beautiful smile regardless of what happens in her life.”

“What makes you think I trust people?”

“You trusted me enough to meet me for coffee in a park, didn’t you?”

“Trust had nothing to do with it.”

“Then why did you agree to meet me?”

“I wanted to see if you’d changed.”

“Huh? Changed? Have we met?”

Dolores forced a smile. She grew tired of his silly game. Her eyes took in every inch of his body. What a waste.

“Of course we’ve met. I’m the woman you asked out for coffee. Remember? All you men are alike. Say you adore us, love our eyes, our smile, our soft skin, and work your way down our bodies until we give in to your desires. Then as quick as you’ve led us to believe we’re everything you want and need, you tell us we’re different, we’re moody, and we’re changed. And we have changed; changed into the person you expect us to be. Then you leave.”

“Wait a minute. I didn’t come here for this!”

“No. Of course, you didn’t. I forgot. You like to be in control. After all, you want to spend time with someone you’d like to get to know. You didn’t get to know me; you made me what I am. You twisted me into whatever being you thought I should be. And when I was exactly as you wanted me to be, you forgot what lured you to desire me from the start.”

“I don’t know you. Why are you doing this?”

She ran her finger from his elbow to his wrist. “Of course you don’t, dear. You never knew me. I’m not the same person I was before. Remember? I’m that perfect woman, with the soft skin, beautiful smile and eyes that could kill. I’m everything you molded me to be. But you were mistaken.”

She smiled.

His eyes locked on hers.

“What’s wrong with you? I thought you’d appreciate this. You look so lonely every time I come in the store. What do you mean I was‘mistaken’?” Sweat beaded on his forehead.

Dolores knew his only concern would be that she told him he was wrong.

“It’s not important. You’re right. I should appreciate this. I’ll change. I’ll be fine. Honestly.”

“Are you all right?” He touched her hand. Chills marched over her entire body.

“I’ll be myself again, soon. Now finish your coffee before you get cold.”

“Excuse me?”

His hand jerked. Pain shot up his arm. He dropped his cup and grabbed his chest. He looked confused and disoriented, gasping for air as he slumped to his side and fell onto the ground. His eyes widened with panic, locked on her. “You *****! I had you all wrong.”

She stood just inches from his reach, looked down, and frowned. It wasn’t surprising that he’d not recognized her. Thirty-five years was a long time. Hell, she barely recognized him.

Dolores shoved everything into his basket and tossed it into her car. She wiped the vial of Digitoxin and stuffed it in his shirt pocket. As she walked away, she said, “You did have me all wrong. Silly man! It isn’t my eyes that could kill.”

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