Are you here for the medical conference?
Yea, it’s been a long week, but it’s been a lot of fun, you know, it’s just like a week long science fair with some amazing mentors and I can’t believe I got invited and I’ve just been running around like crazy.
Wow, that’s quite an answer. My name’s Howard, but my friends call me JD.
Oh, hi, my name is Janice. JD, Janice, JD, Janice, they seem to go together, but how did you get JD out of Howard? Doesn’t seem to make sense.
I laughed at her nervousness and hoped that our elevator ride wouldn’t end too soon.
I repair the tractors on my daddy’s farm.
I love farm boys, she smiled. I mean I grew up just outside of Liberal Kansas and believe me, it’s not very liberal, you know, little “l” vs. big “L” I’m dying to get out of there as soon as school starts this fall, I mean would kill them to let an “R” rated movie in town once in a while?
Where does school starts this fall
OMG! (She actually used the acronym and I smiled at her sweetly) I’m going to UCLA pre-med and I’m so excited to be going to California, the beach, the sun, the movie stars, and just everything. I’m buying a car this summer and my girlfriend and I are going to drive out together and spend a couple of weeks on the beach just soaking in the sun, working on our tans, and completely ignoring our homework, and school and nasty boyfriends who are going to the completely wrong colleges and everything that has been such a bummer this summer.
The elevator door opened, and I extended my hand.
Enjoy the conference Janice.
Bye Howard. She winked and added, you don’t look like a JD any more.
My workday went on as all workdays do. I call, I assign, I follow-up, I re-assign. The projects lurch forward, then back, then forward again, occasionally rolling on their backs attempting to play dead until I pay them attention like a love-starved puppy. If the puppy just needs a pat on the head, I’ll do that by phone, but on occasion the puppy needs a full-blown belly rub to get back on its feet, and that is why I was in an elevator with Janice, the under-age medical student in a very sleek skirt, wonderfully cute shoes, and a blouse that tried very hard to make her look all grown up, but instead, just showed off her beautiful chest in all of it’s youthful glory.
I chided myself for thinking dirty thoughts about someone so young. 16, 17 at the oldest, I told myself. Starting college this fall gave me hope that she might be edging 18, but the shoes were a dead give away. Little pumps from DSW that had bows on them and matched the dress perfectly. They were the shoes of a 17-year old with her first credit card.
5:00 rolled around and the team I was working with consisted of commuters that all rushed to the train at the same time. My body clock was two hours off because of my flight from the west coast so I worked for a couple more hours updating the project plan, reviewing documents to the next day’s meetings, and writing some personal e-mails on my GMAIL account.
At 7:15, I pulled up the movie site and checked out what was playing in town. The local Edwards had Indiana Jones, Iron Man, and Hellboy, and, since I had seen Iron Man, I chose Hellboy, ‘because my girlfriend wanted to see Indiana Jones together and she’d kill me if I saw it first.
Dinner would consist of a double scoop of ice cream from Coldstone Creamery in the theatre lobby and a hot dog from the concession stand on the 2nd floor. To my surprise, the theatre was almost empty so I went to my favorite seat, 4 rows from the top, dead center, with my feet over the row in front to discourage anyone from blocking my view.
The previews kicked in and I finished off my hot dog and started on my ice cream.
The voice from my left startled me.
You aren’t going to finish that all by yourself, are you Howard?
In the darkened theater, it was hard to see who was approaching me. All I saw were legs that went forever, wrapped in tight black leggings and an oversized Jayhawks t-shirt that showed off a terrific rack.
The picture on the screen switched and the whole theater brightened. It was Janice.
It’s Janice, but I think you knew that. Most guys try being cool and showing that they don’t remember, but I know better. Are you here by yourself Howard? No dinner plans with work?
All by myself. Everyone else has family to go home to.
And what about at the end of this trip, eh Howard? Do you have family to go home to?
Just a girlfriend, I replied. She was standing next to me, over me really, as I sat low in my theatre chair, my legs hanging lazily over the back of the seat below me.
Are you going to ask me sit down and join you or do I have to go back with my friends and see “Sex in the GAG ME City”?
Won’t they notice you missing?
Not for a while. They were just jolly that they got in. I don’t get why horse face parker is even famous. She’s a crappy dresser, uglier than mud, and couldn’t act her way out of a soaking wet paper bag. Move over.
Move over, I need the middle seat.
Left or right, but I get middle.
I’m leaving if I don’t get middle.
Ooooh, the small town girl knows big city words. Sit down.
With a plop, she sat down and reached over for my ice cream. I handed it over.
She took a big spoonful and licked it clean in a heartbeat.
Oh shit, I haven’t had ice cream for a month, I love it.
Why no ice cream? Lent was over months ago.
‘cause of this stupid conference. I had to drop 10 pounds to fit into the dress I was wearing last night.
The a-line skirt and the white blouse?
No, but thanks for noticing, it was a long floral number for our “graduation” ceremony last night, after you ogled me in the elevator.
I did not ogle. I noticed.
You noticed my shoes, you ogled my chest.
What color were my shoes?
Navy blue with a white bow with blue polka dots and white trim.
What color was my bra?
I stared at the screen and smiled.
I don’t have to answer that.
It doesn’t matter, you’ll see it again.
I watched in stunned silence as this beauty settled in next to me. She was almost done with my ice cream as the opening credits rolled.
Oh, I guess I should let you have some, and she leaned in to give me a spoonful of my own ice cream.
It was Pralines and Cream, my favorite, and apparently, one spoon was all I was going to get that night.
Hmmmm, that was worth $7, I joked aloud.
Yes it was, wasn’t it, she said as she licked the spoon clean and stuck it back in my shirt pocket. Save that for later.
The action started on screen and she reached over and tried to take my hand. I moved away gently, but firmly, and sat up a little straighter.
You are still in high school.
No, I’m not. I graduated last month and I’m going to college this fall.
How old are you?
How old are you?
Bullshit. I have t-shirts older than you.
Bullshit, give me your wallet.
She reached in to her clutch purse and pulled out a small Gucci credit-card holder. The first card was a Platinum Neiman-Marcus card, with obvious marks on the numbers; this card had been used a lot.
The 2nd card was a Shell gas card, then a Macy’s cark, a Dillon’s grocery discount card, and a member card to the Willow Tree Golf Course. I held it up.
What’s your handicap?
I kept going. Wal-mart loyalty card, a 25 punch-pass to the Hugoton Swimming Pool
Hugoton’s a fair drive just to go swimming.
Swim team in Liberal was kind of weak, plus the coach was cute.
Tammy. She stared at the screen for a moment before turning to me for a reaction, but I was inspecting the target of my search, her Kansas driver’s license.
#K05-28-9726, DOB, 07-13-1990. My head spun as I did the math. She was 18 and 4 days.
She looked over at me again. Now can I hold your hand?
It was warm, and soft, and she squeezed it tightly when the action got intense.