Packer aimed his pervi-scopes – as he delicately referred to making eyes at a woman – at a curly blond youngster stepping out of a black Jetta. She was wearing a flowery, loose dress that reminded him of pictures of his mom when she was a hippie. A blue tank top clung snugly to her breasts, perfect bulbs of feminine fruit, and oversized sunglasses nearly obscured her face.
“If you’re trying to find something, I’m here,” he announced in a voice he likened as suave, but more surely came out a little lecherous.
“What’s that?” She asked. “Are you talking to me?”
“I hoped to be. I’m Packer,” he told her.
A cool breeze whipped up the air. Ash blew off the cigarette he was smoking and the tobacco hissed between his fingers. He could feel every foot of space separating his body from hers, the moisture in the air making the distance heavy and listless; he wanted to close the gap so he stood up and approached her with his arm fully extended. “I think you should know that you have a lovely look. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Thanks,” she answered, a small hint of a smile spreading above her dimpled chin, but then it subtly changed to a sneer. She took his hand but quickly dropped it. Behind her ear was a yellow flower. He tried to figure out if it was real or not.
“What’s your name?” Packer asked.
“Hello, Ms. Lane,” he said with a stupid, lilting rhythm he instantly regretted.
“Lane is my middle name,” she shot back with prepared ease.
“I’m sorry, Caroline Lane. What’s your last name if I may be so bold to ask?”
“You may not,” she replied with a strange mixture of humor and malice.
“Well. Caroline Lane is a beautiful name.”
“So I’ve been told.” Her tone now definitely lacked friendliness.
Packer didn’t miss a beat. “Well… I’m telling you again.”
“Thanks. Great. Super. It was nice to meet you, Packer,” she said and bent her knees and held out her dress in a sarcastic curtsy. “I’d stay around but there’s a million places I’d rather be.”
She turned on her sandaled heel and walked off towards Melrose Blvd. He yelled something flattering after her and she put up her hand in response without turning around. He continued to watch her, dreaming about begonia and nights full of logorrhea and her curly blond hair until she turned the corner and disappeared.
How quickly and pointlessly we fall in love, he thought to himself, flicking his cigarette into the gutter and watching it sizzle out in a grimy stream of oily water. It looked like a river of tar, yet made of rainbow and somehow beautiful despite the context, despite the rejection, despite the apathy.
“Oh, well. Another one will come along,” he said aloud to no one and laughing at the thought, the city busily ignoring him and he not really giving a fuck, the night coming on like an ether rag upon your lover’s lips, it’s the sort of comment that would make Packer laugh like a madman to himself; and so he did, accepting the heartless hardship with a puckered grin before heading back up his steps and into his small, one-bedroom apartment in the Fairfax district.