An invitation to what?

Today on Telegraph, I worked beside Hilda again, the cleavage queen from last weekend. It was an enjoyable view, absolutely, but she didn't show me quite as much today as last Sunday.

She makes and sells small paintings, the size of snapshots. Just right for people with limited wall space, and her artwork is appealing, but it's the cleavage that makes the sales.

It's an effective technique, and she's a master of it. I especially noticed her skill today when she was talking to couples, a man and a woman together. She'd make eye contact with both of them, and carry herself like she was unaware of her boobs, but whenever she was talking to the woman in any couple, the man's eyes shifted downward. Always at least a flicker, sometimes a stare. And almost always, a sale.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Cinnamon came by, reproach in her eyes. She's the wacky woman who'd invited me a month ago (2/16) to join her mysterious troupe of street screwballs or performance artists.

Today she wanted to know why I hadn't called. "It's not often I give a man my number and he doesn't call," she said. 

"I hate telephones," I explained, "and anyway, I didn't understand what exactly you'd invited me for."

"Do you need to understand?" she asked, and smiled.

When we'd talked in February, I hadn't had much to say. Today I was somewhat surlier, and instead of being charmed, her secretive demeanor gnawed at my nerves.

She hadn't gone into any detail about her project when we'd first met, so I asked again, and she said, "Sometimes we dance, sometimes we sing, sometimes we simply sit and chant."

"And where do you do this?"

"On the campus, or in the city, or at the mall. Anywhere, really." She flashed a hippie smile, which no doubt seals the deal with her, usually.

"Cinnamon," I said as if that's her name, "you never give straight answers, but I'm a guy who needs a straight answer."

She didn't answer, straight or otherwise, only looked at me and smiled even bigger.

"If you want me to be interested," I said, "you'll have to actually tell me what you're up to."

"I told you, Doug," and I was both impressed and suspicious that she remembered my name. I'd remembered hers, but I'm a lot less memorable than she is.

Then she proceeded to, again, not really tell me. "We perform street art for street people—"

"Well, I'm sorta street people, so when and where's your next gig? Maybe I'll stop by and see it."

"Until you're one of us," she said, still twinkling, "I can't tell you where we'll be. Soon enough you'll understand."

She's pretty, so I took a long moment looking at her, trying to come up with the right response. "Soon enough would have to be now."

"Trust me," she said, and her smile almost overflowed her face.

"People who ask for trust," I said, "are the people I trust least."

And at that she finally lost the Cinnamon smile. "You'll regret it if you let me walk away," she said, but was it a threat, or a prediction?

Don't know, didn't care. "Get the fuck out of here," I said, and pointed down the street.

After giving me some unbleeped expletives she walked away, yelling and flipping the bird in my direction.

When she was gone I ate my lunch of mayonnaise sandwiches, thinking, Good riddance, Cinnamon.

I'm not sure what exactly I sidestepped today, but it was plain from her reaction that most men step right into it.

From Pathetic Life #22
Sunday, March 24, 1996

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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