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a short story about a sleazy guy
"Hey, babe. I called you before but some guy answered."
Terrence shifted the cell to his other ear and hunched away from the stream of chatter flowing down the mall: the teens, the punks, the secretaries in their clacking heels.
"I don't know what guy. A guy."
Two girls walked past him in short skirts, black fingernails tracing circles in the air to match their conversation. They threw Terrence a second look. He was used to it; he winked. They giggled.
"I don't know. I'm here waiting for you, not there sitting on your fine couch answering your calls."
Terrence gripped his tiny phone—auto dialing, two-hundred number memory, slick breast pocket size--tighter in his left hand.
A crowd of kids shoved and punched each other as they passed, hair and laces slapping in long dirty strings. They flowed around Terrence like flotsam in a river flows around an islet, and collided again downstream. One boy tripped on his pant leg and fell near Terrence's feet.
"I hung up, of course."
The boy got up on one knee and looked around; his friends hadn't waited.
Terrence pointed his toe and checked that his shoes-- Gianini Verdi, lustre black, refined heel style—were slick and spotless. He pulled his foot back sharply and stomped.
"No, I ain't going to leave no message with some guy answers your phone like he lives there." He jerked the phone a few inches away from his ear.
A white-haired white woman limped by in a walker, a plastic Bon bag twisted around the handle.
" You say!"
Two brothers argued in front of a bank of phones, their faces so identical and close they looked like one of those Rorschach inkblots.
"How I know he's Rochelle's cousin?” Terrence passed his cell back to the other ear. His voice echoed in the cavernous mall. “Or maybe one of Rochelle's guys. You say. What they answering your phone for? Rochelle and all they living there too?" Terrence slapped the phone into his left hand and gripped it so hard his pinky ring cut flesh.
"You should'a remembered. I'm gone two days you forget our appointment? You're maybe forgetting me, get yourself a houseful of people and a husky-voiced answering service?"
He turned his back to the mall wall, imitation brick and thirty feet high. Nearby a fountain pumped recycled water into a round greenish pool splotched with pennies.
"That the truth, baby?" He leaned back against the brick.
A woman rose up from a seat near the fountain and walked towards him. Smallest waist he'd ever seen.
"OK, OK. 'Course I believe you. I just get..., you know."
Her waist slid into a generous, a very generous ass.
"OK. Yeah. It's OK, baby."
"I said, it's OK!"
"Aw, don't do that, babe. Don't. You know I can't stand it. There.”
The woman swayed towards him. Gold hoops as big as C cups swung from her ears.
“Uhh..Now?...I can’t come there and get you... I'm already here."
A diamond pierced the woman’s broad nose. A soft brown bag bumped against her hip as she walked.
"Maybe phone boy could drive you over." He held the phone away from his ear again.
"I'm not jumping all over jealous. I told you, I quit that. But what do I do, when I call my lady after being gone two days and some guy I never heard of says 'Yeah.' 'Yeah' like he's feeling mightily comfortable."
The gorgeous woman passed him, her buttocks shifting up and down in a rhythm that throbbed in his groin.
"What?" Terrence took off his shades--visionreflex ultra midnight blacks--and stared after the buttocks.
"No, I can't now...there's not time left before that next appointment I got." He pushed himself away from the wall and began a casual saunter.
"Uhh...it got moved up. Yeah." Terrence zigged through punk kids in chunk-heeled shoes and zagged around long benches littered with paper bags and sagging shoppers.
"Uhhhh. Yeah." He strode past the food court, keeping the woman's broad rear in sight.
"Yeah. I know it's important." Wide faux marble columns, glossy as mirror, flanked the Nordstroms entrance. He checked his look quickly as he passed.
"Yeah you're right, baby." He squeezed the phone against his shoulder while adjusting the cuff links—high-end platinum, ultra etched.
"Yeah. I know you're right. This jealous thing, we got to talk." He winked at his reflection in the marble.
"Yeah well, you just answer your phone your own self next time, and meet me when we say we going to meet, and we won't have no problem."
The gorgeous woman stopped before the main exit doors to shift her bag from one shoulder to the other.
"OK baby now, you stay cool." The phone shut with a click and he slipped it in his pocket, jogging a few steps to reach the door and open it for the woman, making a mock bow and giving her his most charming look.