When Alma arrives at work and Glen first eyes her protruding ears, his stomach and face become so uncomfortably warm that he can’t help but turn away. Not until she clocks in at the station behind him, his back safely turned, does he offer a soft and elusive good morning to which she seldom responds before rounding the corner to her own cubicle. And ever since Glen’s point of employment three years prior as a male secretary, this particular type of morning exchange has transpired without any room for variation.
Most of Glen’s male co-workers would not disagree that Alma is a superfine female creature with all the right things in all the right places—all except two.
“Watch what you say ‘cause she’s got those big ol’ satellites,” is what they say frequently while on break, usually after pantomiming how they’d have their way with her if they could. “Turn her around and hold onto ‘em like handlebars!”
But Glen could think of doing no such thing that would cover up Alma’s ears. Instead, on a daily basis, he imagined asking her over to his place after work for a nice dinner. They would sit across from each other at his small kitchen table, drinking white wine, conversing completely in whisper. Moments would pass with nothing said, lost amorously in each other’s gaze. He would admire the symmetry of her face and then he would tell her how he adored her big and beautiful cartilaginous sails. By this, she would lower her stare with a soft flush in her cheeks and explain how she hates them, how if she could change one thing—technically two—about her physical self, those would be it. He would assure her that otoplasty would be most unnecessary, an operation tragically equal to the sledgehammer attack on Michelangelo's Vatican Pieta in 1972.
Impressed with his knowledge of art history, she would follow him into his bedroom, sitting on the edge of his crisply made twin, where he would then show her his collection of long lost love letters addressed to unknown individuals, cleverly plucked over the years from various receptacles of waste. He would select the most gushing and heartfelt account from which he would read slowly and aloud, as if written by him for her ears alone. She would be frozen in breathless silence. He would then put the letters aside and look at her mouth. This is what one of his co-workers said to do—look her in the mouth and, if she doesn’t look away, it means you can kiss her. Alma would not look away when Glen does exactly this. And so he would kiss her and she would be taken aback by the unexpected abilities of his lips. They’d proceed to re-position, mouths interlocked, and Glen would begin a gentle exploration of a body about which the guys at the office were constantly verbalizing. Glen would understand their concerns. Soon, she would stop and seductively pull him toward her lips and request, in a whisper, that he perform some unmentionable act on her ears. He would not hesitate.
Glen’s time at work answering phone-calls and carrying out miscellaneous office-things never seemed as long as it should have, due mostly in part to his vividly self-entertaining mind. But today, Glen has decided to make his dream come alive. Eight hours after another morning’s tongue-tied salutation, Alma approaches the area behind him to clock out. Now, despite the expected yet indescribable warmth within, he does not look away.
“Hello there,” he manages to blurt. “I’ll just say it . . . I absolutely adore your auricles! Please don’t be ashamed of them. They are a part of you. And I love them.”
Alma punches in her employee ID number, presses the end-of-shift button, and the machine offers a tiny slip of paper that she proceeds to retrieve.
“Would you . . .” Glen continues, swallows, and then begins again. “Would you like to come over to my place for dinner tonight? I may not be the best cook in the world, but I can manage a mean pineapple teriyaki chicken bowl. What do you say, Alma?”
With this last word of his wavering proposition—her name—Alma looks at Glen with a slight shimmer of surprise, appearing as one might upon spotting an insect that bites. She bends toward him slightly and cups a hand to the side of her head.
“What?” she asks. “Did you say something to me?”
Glen blinks. Entirely disgusted, he turns back around without a word and privately subdues the sizzling acids welling in his esophagus while simultaneously embracing an unfamiliar feeling that forever freezes his fucking spirit.
Mr. Coy does this.
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/coyears.html]
B R A V E S O U L S R E C E I V E
Archive of Recent Activities - Advice for Submitters
Enhanced Navigational Coherency - Long-Ass List of Contributors
Super Lo-Tech Slideshow - Four Years Ago, Maybe - Three Years Ago Today
Two Years Ago Today - Last Year Today