A Short Story by Guest Author Dan McClenaghan

Note: K-B is on vacation.

Images to Eclipse Angelina

By Dan McClenaghan


She pulled her hat off and shook her black hair free. “Hey Boss-Man, we're done out there. Can we go?”

I wrapped a rubber band around the twenties, set them on the desk beside the tens, said, “Did Mario empty the grease trap under the grill?”

The flesh in the “V” cut of her smock glistened. She tugged the front of the fabric out and ruffled it, to treat herself to a small breeze. “Yeah,” she said. “I made sure. And I made sure Emily wiped under the rack in the French fry bin, too.”

“Good, that's why I made you the shift leader. You're bossy and efficient.”

And heartbreaking beautiful, I thought. Inappropriate if spoken aloud. So I kept my mouth shut. But she must have seen it in my eyes. A radiant smile lit her face, then creased into an expression of twinkle-eyed cunning. She walked at me, slowly, undulating.

Oh shit, I'm thinking: a thirty-two year old fool, a slick high school girl.

I could have swung my legs back under the desk, to stop her drop onto my lap. But I didn't. She sat. She hung her arms over my shoulders, then she hugged my neck and pulled my face to hers and kissed me like I'd never been kissed before, using her ground bound foot to swing the chair so my back was to the desk. Hard bright white teeth collided with a plastic partial, and I soaked in sweet sin for three solid seconds before I muscled her off and growled, “Get out of here.”

Her hands in the smock pockets tugged her blouse down. She beamed wickedly. “O.K., Boss-Man. I'm gone.” And with that her happy little ass bounced out the door.

I turned and placed my elbows on hard wood, my face in my hands, thought about my wife and daughter, and another on the way, images to eclipse Angelina. When I straightened up to get back to the money, I saw that the stack of twenties was gone.

Her address in the employee file. Apartments in Posole Town. Bare dirt and dried tumbleweeds out front, graffiti walls, lime-green swimming pool with a brown beer bottle bobbing on the surface. Rap music with the “F” word used as percussion shook the stucco, shimmered the water's slimy surface. The apartment door stood open.

I went into the sonic assault of a ten thousand watt sound system and pulled her out of a marijuana powwow on the floor, shouted, “I want my money back!” She laughed soundlessly, and a short, muscular, extravagantly tattooed man forced his way between us and put the barrel of a pistol in my face, to back me out the door and into the pool.

I dove. Bullets seared into the snotty water, trailing millions of small bubbles. The projectiles swooped left and right around me, as if pushed off course by the hand of God. I stayed down as long as I could.

When I surfaced, she sat on the edge, work pants rolled up mid-calf, feet in the water. I sucked in air, and she held up a bottle of expensive foreign beer and said, “Hey Boss-Man, you want a cold one?”

©2009 Dan McClenaghan

(Photograph by Frerieke via a Creative Commons license.)