Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jeffrey Winke: Part of the Grand Design

A short skirt is a promise. Nothing more, nothing less. Guys view promises as sacred trusts; women know promises can easily evaporate, like spilled water in a desert. She wears a short skirt, shear black lacy leggings, and tiny alligator-skin boots that look clunky, but stylish. Her eyes scan the room as she enters. She’s a collector. Her collection: hopeful stares of men. The quartet plays “Eye of the Tornado”—how fitting. Hancock becomes her soundtrack. Scrambled sax and piano—primal brass and sophisticated ivory. There is the usual assortment of guys with dopey, boyish grins. The boyish-grin-thing only works when there’s a bit of mischief in the eyes. Altar boys never get laid, but boys in detention do. She saunters to the bar with hip swivel to shorten a few breaths. Leaning forward as though she were about to whisper a secret to the bartender, she asks for the best cognac. Some guy—nameless and faceless—will pay. She’s an anomaly. Young, attractive women don’t drink top-shelf cognac. And they don’t frequent jazz clubs. She’s part of the grand design. Heaven sent. A holy attempt to spark the spirits of middle-aged men trapped in the mundane. The bottle of booze left at the recovering alcoholic’s door with the anonymous Merry Christmas card—God’s doing. The mailman accidently delivering the neighbor’s copy of Mothering magazine to the couple desperately trying to get pregnant—God did it. All the boxes filled with past expiration date food handed out to the hungry and homeless—yep, God’s work.

scratch off—
one number shy
of the big win

by Jeffrey Winke
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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