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“Hey there handsome.” She said this furtively. “Hello???” I believed it was someone I knew and played along until the question landed. “Can I interest you in a good time?” She was cute. She had these brilliant blue wide eyes and slightly curly brown hair. When I asked how much it would cost me I was not taking them seriously. I believed this was another in a long line of practical jokes on me. I weigh 320, have bad teeth, bad feet, bad etc. I am perpetually a complete sucker but I could sniff a ruse coming but what she offered is worth ten bucks. She asked, “how much do you have?” I replied honestly, “10 bucks.” Now, I was not praying for a life-changing blow job. I wasn’t even expecting a blow job. I spilled the beans because they asked and I was curious as to what they would offer. She said sweetly, (cause I’m a sucker), “If you give me ten dollars I’ll give you a kiss.” I thought about her offer. I am a writer and I know I lack experience with women. Ten bucks, one kiss, sounds fair. I believed I would be making off like a bandit. Bandit me. I have never received a kiss from a girl and at 26 it makes you feel a little unloved. So, bandit me. “What kind of kiss,” was my next question since I was wondering if she would kiss me with her tongue. “On the lips,” she replied. Being the rube I am I knew this was the deal of a lifetime. Now, take into account the fact that I’ve never been kissed by a girl. I thought short and fast. Experience I lack in the realm of women. Women do nothing but laugh at me, all day and night. I am fat so I am by natural law a pervert, a sicko, a real fucking freak. I couldn’t get a girl to hold hands with me in high school. A kiss was beyond me. Loser I am. I tried arguing her down to five since I needed half the money. I am usually broke and this was stretching already

meager funds but I wanted to be kissed by a beautiful woman. Which one didn’t matter much. I sifted through the oasis that usually are my pockets. “Let me go upstairs and get my wallet.” I came back down and there they were in the lobby staring at me. I tried once again to be cheap but cheap does not speak the language of love and I was smitten by this kitten. She grabbed the money after I asked her age. She appeared young, real young. When I viewed her the second time, maybe sixteen. This happened at the college I attend and I was originally thinking they were students. I AM A RUBE! She told me their car broke down. I didn’t believe but willingly forked over my ten dollars expecting the most mind shattering kiss. The great kiss to end them all. I am a hopeless romantic. I have yearned for love my entire life and received nil but this … this …this was my chance at heaven. “Thank you and bye.” I slowly walked upstairs and jacked off anyway. Sometimes you have to break the rules to get something off your mind. The young woman reminded me of a girl I once knew, a perfect reflection. She could’ve displaced mountains if she put forth effort but she was complacent. Too complacent. I found her beautiful but she has disappeared so no need to ramble ... but maybe I should. Walnut was a tiny brown eyed squirrelish creature. She rarely put forth any effort in school but when Walnut did she sparkled, nearly exceptional. A very bright girl with very low standards set for herself. I liked the way Walnut moved, walked, talked, cuddled with me. She aroused me more than once. One time something went down but that is unimportant right now since she is gone. I began wondering about the girl who took my money and denied me my happiness. She is walking down the same path as Walnut and I felt like the minutest particle of a turd. I could not give more. Right now I am wide awake and losing sleep over this. I admit my mind spun ridiculous fantasies that even I knew were not going to happen, but that was unimportant. I believed it was her situation. The what that placed her in this mess? The what that drove her to this madness? This madness that consumes both the faker and the fake. I wanted to hold her and tell her that she can be whatever she wants to be. That she does not have to do this. But I remember

when I ached for cigarettes and my mother wouldn’t shell out a penny of my own money. I went out on the street corner and panhandled every morning for two months. I remember the times I used my mother’s credit card and her bank account to satisfy my desire. I remember digging through her purse for change. I remember starving and asking the neighbors for food. I remember eating noodles religiously for two weeks straight. Etc. I felt empathy. Her life will be left to decompose amongst the spoiled banana peels in thee trash heap. I wonder how this came to be and I need to point the finger, but I just jacked off, but I just played along when they propositioned me. Did I just contribute? I ran into her again outside that night and she asked if her and her friends could come upstairs with me to have fun in my room. I said no and the burn to hold her and the girl she resembled and myself was powerful. The burn to believe she can have what she wants in life. That she is beautiful as they are beautiful. That she has the brain to move mountains, but no. We all washed away at sea and wasted away on a frozen shore. I am viewing her. I am viewing my memory of that girl. I am viewing myself at the same time. I am unable to put a stop to anything. I am frozen and helpless for a third time.

Echezona Udeze comes from Los Angeles and is a student currently pursuing his B.A. at Cal Riverside. He is just happy for his work to be published.