Copyright© 2005 Kenny N Gamera
There was a knock on the door. It was a soft, insistent knock that sounded vaguely feminine. I rushed to the door, sending cats one and two, at first, into a blind panic and, afterward, into hiding under the futon. Cat number three, having moved out, did not get involved.
I swung the door open, and to my bitter disappointment there were not five naked women with beer and pork rinds. I wouldn't have complained if there were five naked women without either beer or pork rinds. Those particular five women, however, were also not there. There was a fully clothed Girl Scout with a red wagon full of short bread cookies.
She smiled at me cheerfully. I smiled back. It is an impressive feat to haul a red wagon full of short bread cookies up an eight step concrete stoop, then up three stories of stairs, and remain capable of a cheerful smile. I felt she deserved something for it, even if she weren't five naked women with beer and pork rinds.
She was cute. Young cute. You know, the sort of cute you would accuse any fourteen-year-old of being, provided that she was in fact cute. She was not the kind of cute that anyone who knew what I did for fun on the Internet would think I meant if I called her cute. She was cute, that's all and you can quit thinking like that at any time...
"Hello, Mr. Gamera."
"Hello, Gina." I said like I would to anyone. "How are you?"
"I'm doing great. I got part of your cookie order. I have another couple wagon loads at home." She glanced at my hands and pointed at what I held. "What's that?"
"Oh, this?" I threw the book off to the side. "Just a thesaurus."
She looked at me like I was a loon. Then, she shook her head like I was a loon.
"Anyway, where do you want the cookies?"
"Can you just wheel it inside? I can unload."
"Wellllllll! Mom says I'm not supposed to be alone with you because you write dirty stories, so okay."
She pulled the wagon into the door. Cat number one peeked out. Seeing that a stranger (a stranger being anyone not me, which is strange because most people think that I'm stranger than anyone else they had met) had entered the apartment, he crawled back under the futon. Gina dropped the handle and watched while I began to unload cookies, five boxes at a time.
As I finished the last fifteen boxes, I pointed to what she had held in the hand that had not been holding the wagon handle. "What do you have there?"
"What sort of catalog?"
She said it in a casual, matter of fact way that people use to let you know that have something special to say and that they want you to ask about it. So I asked.
"Well, every year the Girl Scouts actually have some of us that can't or won't sell their quota of cookies. A few years ago, they began selling those scouts into bondage to make up the difference."
I choked on a cookie that had somehow slipped into my mouth. Gina beat my back. When I continued choking, she did the Heimlich maneuver on me. That cleared my airway, if not my confusion.
"Bondage?" I squeaked after I had caught enough breath to do so.