"Airy Chick" was originally published in Alienskin magazine, June 2009:
I sucked down the last of a cheap tamarind bidi as I walked onto the sidewalk where Tom and his date waited. The guys at the office were right--she was really “Airy”. I tried not to wince as I got closer. They had warned me.
She had blonde pigtails and bright yellow hair--“blonde” I think they call it--and bright blue eyes.
She had blush on to highlight her high cheekbones and pink skin.
She looked really bizarre.
Her clothes were equally weird. She wore a blouse with a tight “tartan” wraparound skirt and shoes with those spikes on the heels.
I walked up to Tom and we clasped elbows.
“This is Lydia,“ he said with a small smile. She extended her hand.
Ah, yes. Shaking the hands to dislodge weapons up the sleeve is the traditional “Aryan” greeting of friendship.
“Pleased to meet you, Lydia. Tom had told me so much about you.”
Tom and I shared an office at work. The four of us had planned to hit the West End for a good time Friday night--but then Raven dumped me two days earlier.
I knew it was too good to last.
Tom said it was no use for me to mope at home, and the three of us could still go out and have a good time.
We began walking. “Where’s Raven?” Lydia asked innocently.
I shot Tom a look. He shrugged as if to say, “None of my business, dude.”
“We broke up,” I lied.
“Oh,” she said. “I looked forward to meeting her.”
“Just as well,” I said. “We would have made a strange quadriga.”
Raven had classic cheerleader good looks–coal eyes, black hair, and a pale--not pink--complexion.
Like I said, too good to last.
Lydia giggled. “Let me guess, she’s a real Goth, huh?”
I smiled at her, and then Tom. “Yeah, you could say that.”
We walked into Sonny Byrum’s barbecue and sat down at the bar. Tom and I ordered clover mead.
They dug up some of that corrosive whiskey for Lydia. After a swig, I began to feel a little relaxed. Tom hugged his date. “Lydia works at the university--for Professor Welch.”
I had taken classes in anthropology with Professor June Welch when I maxed out of electives in the SMU accounting department.
“Hey, that’s interesting.”
“I’m his lead research assistant,” said Lydia.
Tom took a swig. “I thought you’d like that. That’s a reason I pushed you to come. You two actually have something in common.”
We had a pretty good night--for a threesome--and after getting suitably loose and jovial at Byrum’s, we enjoyed some hot hopping klezmer past midnight at one of the nearby clubs.
The following Monday at work, Tom dropped something on me I didn’t see coming.
“So what do you think of Lydia?”
“She's kinda cute, for an Airy Chick. No bitter aftertaste.”
“Think you would like to go out with her again?”
“Huh? What’s with you?”
“Honestly, she’s an acquired taste, and my parents are so respectably Gothic…”
Ah yes, I forgot. The Trust Fund Kid. Tom’s rich and respectable North Dallas family didn’t like him zipping around town with some blue-eyed yellow-haired bizarra.
I stroked the dark stubble on my chin. “Well, like you said, she is an acquired taste… but I’ll try anything once.”
“And my folks aren’t nearly as picky as yours,” I added.
Next Friday we went out again. Tom gave Lydia a sob story about how I was still lonely and dateless.
This time, we went to the dinner theater. For the weekend crowd they would be having a neat little Aztlan team jai alai match. The meal was singed boar with blood sausages and turnips. During dinner, Tom’s cell phone rang and he returned to tell us there was a problem at work and he had to leave. Of course, that was bullshit.
I said that I should stay with Lydia so she wouldn’t miss the show. “That sounds great,” she said with a smile.
Both teams played well, and afterwards the winners vigorously raped the first wives of the losers.
The winning captain then lopped off the head of the losing captain and his first wife before disemboweling himself to honor the gods. In other words, a good time was had by all. All good clean fun--Lydia actually seemed to enjoy herself. I could tell as we left that beneath those pigtails and blush she had enjoyed it. More of a normal girl than she’d like to admit--or so I thought.
But I was proved wrong early in the morning when we made love--face to face.
We had been dating for three weeks when the routine changed slightly. We were going out again but Lydia asked me--to save time--to meet her at the university. She was alone in Dr. Welch’s office,
peering at a computer printout under a desk lamp, when I arrived. “The department just received a crucial report, “she said. “I’m still reading it… but I think Dr. Welch will be thrilled. It’s on a subset of the humane genome project, on the Gothasian population.”
Dr. Welch was the foremost proponent of the Bottleneck Theory--that Europeans were descended from an extremely small group of related people who had moved from Central Asia at the end of the last Ice Age--and the fact they had been dark-eyed brunettes determined typical white “good looks”.
“It seems it could have been down to as little as one individual,” she said.
“I can imagine two brothers drawing straws to decide who goes east and who goes west,” I said.
“I wonder what would have happened if the roles had been reversed?” she asked.
I rubbed her shoulders. She looked up and I saw her strange blue eyes.
“Then, my little airy chick,” I said with a grin, “you might have become Miss Amerika!”