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What do you want, Judy?

After the last day of school, all those long nights of leisure left me. All those days sitting in humid classrooms, looking out the window at the coeds gone. Now I am on a bike, cutting through traffic to make it home in enough time to catch a plane to Brussels. Of course, the flights not until late, but even so, I have all my packing to do, and my buddy Dan said he's stop by with his truck and pick the stuff up I'm leaving.

I ride low over the bars, keeping eyes on the D.C. cabs, shuffling in an out of traffic, ratcheting my shoes in their toe clips. I grind a little up 17th, sweat burns my eyes, pitch my bike right down P street, and finally stuff it into the elevator, and onto the rack in my efficiency. The machine is blinking so I press the its black rubber button and, after a long shrill beep, its Judy:

"Mike Š meet me at Julio's at six. I hope I catch you before you leave; if not, call me when you get there and have a safe trip. Ciao."

It is about six ten so I shoot down to the restaurant on the corner, hoping she is gone so I can pack. At the entrance, under a forest green canopy, and stand above Judy as she sleeps on a white brittle table, her long shiny hair pooled into the triangle her arms form as she rests on them, so I slap my palms down and she jumps about a mile, almost hits her head on the sky.

"Heya babe," I say while she's in the air.

She comes back down and I take off my courier bag and drop it with my radio down, it screams with static so I switch it off.

"Made it, huh?" she said, "where's your bike and where you off to without telling me!"

"Who told you?"

"Well it was Jess, she said you're out of here, I'm pretty surprised you didn't tell me. I mean, what does it tell me?"

"It tells you that I know you and it would have been better if you'd have found out after I settled," I say and then sit down in the chair across from her.

Even then I am too close as the tables are only a yard across. The molded plastic settles under me and the legs skitter and splay. I lean back and the chair complains more until it braces into grooves in the floor. I can smell myself even over the thick strings of garlic and Parmesan, the tomato paste and olive oil. I really need to take a shower. My beeper vibrates against my hip. I look and the number is Dan's. I click on the radio and press transmit, holding the receiver close to my ear:

"Six-three Š six-three Š"

"Go ahead six-three," answers the antennaed brown box.

"Hey, beep Dan for me and tell him to meet me at Julio's, over." I wait and listen to runs going out to five-seven and triple- seven, I hear four-oh testing his radio saying copy Š copy? I feel Judy staring at me and I tell her just a sec with my forefinger.

"As good as done, six-three. Out," answers dispatch after a few. I switch the box off again.

"Talk to me, babes," I say a little gruffly.

Judy just sits there staring at me and I wonder about why she wants me to be with her now before I leave. I feel her still looking at me, so, as a game, I try to hold her gaze. Her eyes are black and make her look ghostly; they are deep-set in her head and their dark lashed are as thick, dark, and long as raven feathers. She only wears eye-liner and it's heavy today. I notice these things as I stare, as my eyes get dry and thick and the blood comes to my face. I turn away.

"What do you want, Judy," I say a little furtively.

I slap my fingers in a thick funky beat upon the acoustic tabletop. She grabs my hand to stop me and I wonder whether that was part of my plan. Just then, Danny saves me with a cup of Café au lait and I roll my eyes at him, he gives me a wink. I pour some sugar in the deep soup bowl cup and stir it in with a spoon from the place setting.

"Brussels, huh?" she says, knowing I know that she knows exactly what the story is.

"Yeah," I say, "permanently and forever and I could say you can visit me, Judy, but I would just be being polite."

"Oh yeah, fuck you too," she says and tries to grab my hand again, though I lift the cup to my lips before she can clasp it. They are clammy in spite of the weather, in spite of my feeling uncomfortable and a little claustrophobic under the awning and wedged into that bear-trap chair. Sweat dribbles from my pits so I press my arms down to try to stem the flow.

"Listen, Jude, I have to pack," I say as I empty the last of the froth and kick the chair out from under me. It tilts over and bounces and vibrates. It emits a buzzing until I pick it up and place it under the table.

I turn my back and head outside, taking a big sigh, and look up at the summer sauna DC overcast. I feel the clouds when I breath and wonder if someone in the clouds sees me in clouds instead, its so humid. I always feel the rivers that course down Penn. and crash in falls down Capitol hill. When I'm finally in the jet, doing the tourist pass over the monuments, I will ask the sky-waitress for some booze and whether she sees all that water covering the capitol city..

Judy startles me when she clasps her arm through mine.

"You know, this is the way lovers walk together in Europe," she says, her head cocked up, her stride lengthening to mimic the flippant Europeans.

"Ça va mon ami la-trah-la," she lilts and presses her hip to mine. I give her the hip butt and she laughs, although I don't want her to and she comes close again. I swing the heavy sack from across my back to her side, and the I get to the entrance door and she gets in, into the elevator too, and then in the apartment.


"I just wanted you to know that it is time to tell you that since I met Mark, I hadn't met anybody else, you know, it was no problem. You see, nobody at all and I looked at him and knew it. I mean Mark and I have been together for a long fucking time and all that, but when I met you it was different. I mean, you are the first guy I met since Mark who I like," she said drawing close to me, face to face, her face tilting upwards.

"This isn't fair," I say a little under my breath.

"Wait," she says, "I have to get this off my chest, you know. I have to get it out of me before you split."

I only get out, "but Mark."

She closes in and kisses me with soft lips, on the mouth and presses her hand into the nape of my neck to pull me closer. I finally release me muscles and allow my body closer. I feel the tips of her breasts brush against my ribs and I try to embrace her.

But she wriggles free and turns and disappears down the hall, "Bon voyage, mon ami, la la la!"

By the time I get downstairs, Judy is in her VW Rabbit, pulling away from the curb. Mark, the bastard is in the passenger's seat, his torso hanging out the window, showing me I'm faced by covering his hand with his face.

"Eat it, sucker!" he yells.

I start running after the car. Judy slows the car, teasing me with stops and starts. She lets me get right up along the car, Mark is still hanging out and laughing his head off. I rush up, and in one sweep, pull out my U-lock and smash in the rear window. It crackles and popcorns inward and I stop quick and yell:

"Eat that, you fucker!"

I stand there, U-lock in hand, shaking a little. I hear a bleating behind me and it is Dan in his pick-up. He's laughing but I'm not. I jog up to the truck and hop in the bed.

"Take me for a ride, Dan, I need to cool off."

Dan peals off and almost loses me off the truck's bed, but soon he is down 14th and we check out the monuments for the last time together.

©30.3.1993 Chris Abraham