by Jeremy-Joseph Rosen
Javier recognized Scooter right away. A brilliant smile, like none Scooter had ever seen on him, crossed Javier’s face. A cigarette dangled from his mouth and his jacket collar was turned up.
“Scooter,” exclaimed Javier.
Some strange force overcame them and they embraced. There was plenty of smiling to go around. Some hearty pats on the back and then a long look at each other. Scooter was curious about Javier.
He asked, “Where have you been?”
“Let’s go grab some coffee.”
So Scooter piled into Javier’s car and they were off. The drive was long and curiously quiet. Javier asked Scooter if there was a good shop they could go to and before he could think about the answer, Kalisotta Koffee Klatch was the place that spilled from his mouth.
Scooter got nervous as they approached the KKK. Between small talk, Javier noticed this and finally spoke up.
“What’s got you so quiet?”
Laughing, Scooter recounted all of the stories involving Register Girl, stories of drool and inarticulate ramblings. How beautiful her jaw was, how strange her nose looked, how he’d overheard her complaining about her breasts being lumpy once, how he thought her hips were a little too thin, but he didn’t care. They had a great humorous row over the whole thing.
“Have you thought of, I don’t know, asking her name? Maybe speaking to her from time to time?”
“I usually don’t think when I’m around her,” responded Scooter. A bit of drool emerged at the corner of his mouth.
They pulled up to the KKK, parked and got out. At this point Scooter tripped and fell to the pavement, scraping his knees and ripping a hole in his trousers. Javier rushed to help him up, but Scooter waved him off. A vulture flew by.
They entered the KKK to a few stares, but most people didn’t notice Scooter’s ruined pants and roughened palms. As they approached the counter, Register Girl noticed Scooter. A smile bigger than the one that crossed Javier’s face earlier in the day grew on her face. Scooter’s brain went into safe mode. That is, it simply didn’t work all that well. This Javier noticed.
Javier asked for two coffees and Register Girl went off to make them. As she returned, Javier nudged Scooter.
“Say hello, stupid.”
“Two fifty, guys.”
As his long-lost acquaintance was tongue-tied, Javier forked over the cash. He grabbed Scooter’s elbow and guided him to a table in the window.
Outside several workmen were playing a game of craps next to a row of unwashed cars. For a moment Scooter watched them, then his eyes went back to Javier, who was idly swirling a spoon through his cup of coffee. Looking up at the counter, Scooter began to doubt himself on the thinness of the girl’s hips. Maybe they weren’t too thin after all.
“Good weather for it.” Javier said under a coy half-smile.
Scooter slurped his coffee down loudly and thought about it for a second, eventually realizing that he wasn’t exactly sure what Javier’s comment about the weather had meant.
There was no question that Javier knew a lot of things, he even knew the reason why Scooter’s childhood toy wagon had been blue instead of red.
“Good weather for what?” Scooter asked.
Back at the counter the girl from the K.K.K. smiled and Scooter’s eyes met hers for just half a moment.
“You’ll know when it happens.”