Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Brief and Uneventful Interlude

I hop to the next roof and look around.  No criminals sneaking around wearing black and white striped jumpsuits or carrying around bulging bags with big dollar signs on them.  No bloodied college preppy gasping and pointing down a dark alley, shouting about two men who just stole his wallet.  Nothing.  When someone parallel parks and walks across the street I’m tempted to jump him for jaywalking.  Instead, I sit down on the edge of the roof and let my feet dangle out over the abyss, my heels smacking against the brick.  I hear cars wheeze and rumble and hum by on the streets nearby.  Windows light up from the inside while others extinguish themselves.  The sharp bite of exhaust fumes has faded now that the only consistent traffic is coming from a few streets over.  I look up and see a faint light pulsing and shimmering across the sky in lieu of actual stars.  It would probably be soothing if it wasn’t so freaking boring.  It’s times like this that I’m glad I don’t have awesome powers like Spiderman.  If I did, I probably would’ve webbed that jaywalker’s ankle and dangled him from the streetlight. 

As it is, I just sit and kick my feet and wonder if I’ve been out long enough to call it quits for the night.  My phone tells me I’ve been out for almost two hours without catching even the faintest whiff of crime.  I swear to God, at this point I’d settle for lecturing a little kid about the merits of sharing. 

Of all the weeks for the city to go crime-free, why now?  The first spring thaw is upon us.  It’s still not warm, but it’s not cold enough for snow anymore.  Criminals should be flocking to the streets to revel in the joyous departure of winter’s cruel embrace.  Pillage!  Plunder!  Do something!

When an older woman drops her purse and a young kid in dark clothes with her hood up actually returns the purse instead of just running off, I decide I’ve had enough.  Maybe if I leave now I can make out with Anna a bit.  Gotta find a way to salvage this night.


I get home and no one’s in the living room.  The kitchen’s empty too.  Not terribly unusual.  It’s past Paul and Susan’s bedtime and the magic of the internet can make any room in the house a living room for teenagers, but without all the pesky social interaction that living rooms bring with them.  I trot up the stairs just as Boone starts shambling down them bundled up in horribly mismatched blue and black flannel shirt and bright red sweats. 

“How’s it going, Hero?”

I flip him off.  He laughs. 

“That well, huh?  What’s that?  Three empty trips in a row?”

I debate just shouldering past him but that would be admitting I’m frustrated and it’s never a good idea to show weakness in front of Boone.  I grunt.

“Something like that.”

I’ve actually gone out four times this week and haven’t found a damn thing.  He laughs again and walks past me. 

“Must be cuz you’re so goddamn good at this.  Criminals are too scared to go out at night.”

I wish I had something to throw at him.  But I don’t, so I settle for sending Anna a text asking what she’s doing.  I get a quick response:  tv in the basement by myself.  I drop my superheroing bag in the closet and turn right back around, stopping long enough to let her know I’ll be over in a second, then I'm down the stairs and out the kitchen door.  I cross the street and circle around the back of Anna’s house, shuffling down the thick cement steps to her basement door.  I send another text—knock, knock—and wait.  She fusses with the bolt for a second (because they refuse to accept that their can of WD-40 is lost and just buy a new one) before opening the door, face freshly scrubbed of make-up and slightly pink.  She’s wearing black sweats and a comically oversized gray hoodie.  I make a sad face.

“Boone was being mean to me and tonight sucked; can I hang out with you?”

Anna rolls her eyes and turns away to hide her smile, but leaves the door open for me to walk through.  After I close it behind us, I give her ass a quick squeeze.  She spins around and smacks the holy hell out of my hand.  Mind you, I’m quick.  Like, really quick.  So I could’ve pulled my hand away, but what fun is dating if you don’t play the game?  She grabs a handful of my shirt and pulls me toward her—play the game.  She has to look up at me a little to make eye contact.

“Is that all I am to you?  A toy to play with?”

I hang my head and give her my best chastised look.  “No ma’am, but I am more than willing to just be a toy for you to play with.”

She struggles to keep her frown from crying mutiny and flipping upside down.  Right as the battle looks completely lost she bounces up onto her tiptoes and gives me a quick kiss.  My heart does that stupid swoopy, flippy thing it does around Anna.  If I listened to it, there’d be no game.  Just me puking up everything I feel all the time.  Stupid fucking emotive stomach.  Returning to the soles of her feet, Anna grabs my hand and leads me over to the couch.  She plops down and waves at the TV.

“I was watching Psych for awhile before bed.  Care to join me?”

Honestly, it barely matters what the first sentence was.  I sit down next to her and drag a blanket over us. 

“Haven’t you already seen all the episodes like seven times?”

She nods cheerily.  “Yup.  Still funny.”

She’s halfway through the episode, so Shawn’s already launched into a nonsensical rant about shark toast.  When Gus starts translating, I loop an arm around Anna’s shoulder and she scoots closer.  She props her head against the hollow beneath my collarbone and I rub my thumb over her arm.  That’s amore.  

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