The woman had huge, haunted eyes.
Only two stops to go. Once again he had blown it. He still hadn't connected with the mysterious lady in the trenchcoat. But then, you just didn't talk to strangers on the New York subway. If you knew what was good for you, you didn't even look them in the eye. But he might never see her again.
Ron considered himself something of a superstud. His looks were nothing to write home about, but that had never stopped him from making it with the ladies. Even *living off* the ladies when finances got a little tight. But making pickups on the subway... that was a whole different ballgame.
One last, desperate chance. Ron fished a red felt-tip marker, then a dollar bill out of his pocket. He quickly scribbled "Cyrano" on it. The dollar was grimy and creased, but the writing was legible. As an afterthought, he added, "You're special. I know why. Want to know more?" He thought of including his e-mail address or phone number, but no, that might be pushing things. Gotta play this fish just right. If he had hooked her, she'd meet him again. Right here on the D Train.
This was his stop -- 72nd Street. Ron dropped the dollar at her feet as he passed her on the way out. It took all his self-discipline not to look back.
There, he had done it. Scored a coup. Results uncertain, but he felt pretty good about it. He had a hot hand, Ron did, just like an alleged ancestor of his, a certain gentleman named de Bergerac. When his parents, hopeless romantics both, had named him Cyrano (or, in everyday usage, Ron), they had no idea that it would shape his life. That he would end up inheriting a somewhat larger-than-normal nose. That he himself would turn out to be just the opposite of a hopeless romantic: a swordsman between the bedsheets, and a cynical manipulator and heartbreaker to boot.
All right, so I spot this chump staring at me. I was on the prowl, you know, and the guy was definitely a "possible." Good thing, too. It was just the right time of month. I felt so empty inside and my juices were flowing. I was burning up. I wanted someone inside me so bad and this guy was just right. Nice body parts. Young, healthy... and gullible. He might as well be wearing a "victim" sign. Okay, let's play hard to get. Come on, Mr. Chump, chase the bait.
Every day for a week Ron stalked the entire length of the 5:15 train looking for her. Where was she? Making a deliberate effort to avoid him? Had she changed her schedule? Was it only random chance? Damn it, he was wasting his time. Why was he making a fool of himself over this dame? She was just a piece of ass. Nothing special, just another pussy. DAMN IT, WHERE WAS SHE?
Friday finally -- there she was! There! Sitting in the end car. She glanced up and saw him. She smiled. Smiled! She cocked an index finger at him and nodded. Hallelujah!
Holding on to a strap, standing beside her, superslick Ron was reviewing pickup lines in his head. Somehow, none of them seemed quite right. This was embarrassing. He couldn't think of a friggin' thing to say.
She looked up at him. "Hello would be a good beginning," she said.
"Hello, Mr. Special."
Mr. Special Chump. What a bozo.
"I'm a fool. Sure. A special fool. How wonderful that you recognized that. Now, look at me, look closely and see yourself mirrored in my eyes. In me, in my heart, in my soul, your image blazes. I *know* who you are, and I see what you could be. I gaze upon you and look at your full, burning passion and I see... Tell me, what do I see?"
I see... a prime cut of meat on the hoof. I'm salivating.
"Quite an impressive speech, Mr. Special. I'm convinced. Convinced that you're either a nut case or a fool for love. I'm not sure which is worse."
A chump is worse.
"No doubt the latter, Miss... uh, may I call you Roxanne?"
"If indeed you are a poet and swordsman, then I will play Roxanne to your Cyrano."
(She knew! The literature gambit had snared her. Now on to stage two.)
Does this chump think I'm ignorant? I can spout literature all day if I have to. I can be quite entertaining if the situation presents itself... the better to eat you, my dear.
"Cyrano I am. And that being the case, would Madame permit my humble self to entertain her exalted ladyship."
She smiled. "Madame permits."
Madame permits Mr. Chump to entertain certain dangerous delusions.
He suggested a rendezvous in a gourmet restaurant near his apartment.
"My dear Cyrano, with me one need not go through an elaborate courtship dance. Foolish rituals are for fools. I am a woman who knows what she wants. *Exactly* what she wants. Right now I want *you*. I would take you home."
Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly.
The woman sitting beside Roxanne got up and exited at the next stop. Ron sat down. Roxanne took his hand and clasped it to her bosom. He leered. Other passengers snickered.
"I'm game," he replied nonchalantly. "My nose may be long, but so is my sword."
You certainly are 'game.' Prey.
"Monsieur de Bergerac, might you care to sheathe your sword?"
Do you know how spiders do it? While the male is busy sheathing his sword, the female is... having him for dinner.
"Call me Ron. My friends do."
"Right. Ron, we have a bit of a ride ahead of us. We change lines here."
The "L" Line. Fourteenth Street and First Avenue station. They got off the train. Ron turned toward the concrete stairway leading up to the street, but Roxanne stopped him.
"This way. Follow me."
'This way' led toward the far end of the train platform.
"Where the bloody hell are you taking me, Roxanne?"
(Hey! That's the line *I* use with the ladies.)
.... There is more of this story ...