by William Kitcher
Annemarie was driving; I was in the passenger seat. We turned onto Station St., and came up behind a rollerblader who was in the middle of our lane, weaving from side to side, sucking on a soda pop, oblivious to everything due to listening to something on headphones.
“Ah jeez,” I said. “We’re going to be late as it is. And now this.”
“We’re not going to be late,” said Annemarie.
I looked at the dashboard clock. “It’s five to eight. The play starts at eight.”
“Plays never start on time.”
“That’s true but it’s still about ten minutes to the theatre, and then we have to find parking.”
“You’re always worrying about nothing.”
“I wouldn’t have to worry if you didn’t take so long to get ready. I mean, putting make-up on. One, we’re going to be sitting in a dark theatre so no one will even see you. And two, you don’t need make-up. You’re beautiful as it is.”
“Don’t be sarcastic.”
“I’m not. You are.”
“No, I’m not beautiful.”
“Then why does every guy you meet hit on you?”
“It’s my personality.”
There was no rational response to that so I didn’t bother to try. We’d been going out only about three months so I couldn’t get into anything really personal. But my mouth didn’t listen to my brain.
“You’ve done stuff like this before,” I said. “We got into that movie last week late because of you, and I never could figure out what was going on. And, like going on vacation and not taking a suitcase you could lock. That’s why all your stuff was ripped off. How could you not think of that?”
“I’m more trusting of people than you are.”
“And look where it got you.”
I could see Annemarie clenching her jaw, gripping the steering wheel harder, and staring ahead.
“This is ridiculous,” I said, looking at the rollerblader still dawdling in front of us. I reached over and hit the horn. The rollerblader visibly jumped, stopped, turned around, removed her headphones, and glared at us.
Annemarie slammed the brakes on and turned to me. “What the hell did you do that for?”
“She’s on the road! She’s not only stopping us from getting where we want to go, she could get herself killed, especially with those headphones on!”
“You’re unbelievable,” said Annemarie. “Live and let live. She’s not hurting anyone.”
“She’s being stupid!”
“You’re being stupid.” She paused, and then said, “You need a haircut.”
I could feel any relationship we had fading away…
The rollerblader came back to the car and went to the driver’s side.
“Now look what you’ve done,” said Annemarie.
Annemarie put her window down, plastered a smile on her face, leaned toward the window, and said, apologetically, “Look—”
The rollerblader threw her drink in Annemarie’s face, muttered something, then rolled off. Annemarie’s mascara ran.
I handed some tissues to her, and said, “Now we’re really going to be late.”
* * *
Bill’s stories, plays, and comedy sketches have been published and/or produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Holland, India, Ireland, the U.K., and the U.S. Recent stories were published in Slippage Lit, Alien Station, 365 Tomorrows, Theme of Absence, Yellow Mama, 34 Orchard, Revolute, Great Ape, Jokes Review, and Across The Margin, and he has stories forthcoming in Black Petals, The Literatus, Schlock!, Inklette, Literally Stories, Sledgehammer, Antipodean SF, Bewildering Stories, The Bookends Review, Defenestration, Spank The Carp, Evening Street Review, and 2 stories in the Horrified Press anthology, “Twisted Time.“