Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Ephraim stood on the rainy corner in the dark and tried to use his psychic powers to draw attractive women with umbrellas closer to him.  He wore a thin, grayish-blue raincoat that was too large in the hood and sleeves and leaked at the collar.  He thought if the rain didn't slow down before his shirt soaked through, he'd settle for a moderate-looking woman or even a plain woman with good hair and an umbrella.  

When he turned his head the giant hood on his coat held its place, and so everywhere he looked he saw half women in power suits carrying half umbrellas and stomping on their half stiletto heels.  A bus pulled up and Ephraim turned to face his reflection just as a woman cleared the steam from her window with a violent gesture.  She stared out at Ephraim, who glared at her for a long moment before remembering to turn away.  When he turned back, the window was fogged up again, and the woman was biting her nails.

As Ephraim began to take a step forward, a short man with a scraggly beard and a gigantic woman sharing his a umbrella walked along the edge of the curb and stopped three-quarters of a step too close to him.  The man had flat face with a scar in his forehead like a dent and the woman had shimmering golden hair in a curly spasm on top of her head, which she shook and it released sparks of rain.  The two swayed from side to side, hands together on the bulb of the umbrella, and came within inches of the runoff of Ephraim's left coat sleeve.  Ephraim thought he would crack open and red jelly would come spilling out at their feet.  

He wanted to push them into oncoming traffic.

The man scratched his beard and took a quarter step closer to Ephraim, who could now smell paprika, celery, sweat and eggs.  Ephraim took a deep breath through his mouth and tilted his head back to look at the dark and roiling sky.  Large, bulbous drops of rain plopped onto his face and ran back into his hood, soaking his hair and pooling at the back of his neck.  Ephraim blinked quickly, but the drops got larger and larger, and when one landed in his nose, he sneezed and wheezed and had a flashback to being dropped in the deep end of the pool at the age of six.

"Oops.  Sorry 'bout that," said the enormous woman, and tipped the umbrella back upright.

Ephraim shook the water from his face and snorted and gasped, while the bearded man stared.  When Ephraim caught his breath, the couple had turned back toward the street, and the short man had his free arm around the woman's waist.  Ephraim bumped them with his shoulder as he passed, and boarded the bus at the corner without checking which one it was. 


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