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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Bell Ringer - ©2010 Claudia Schlottman

I tack into a cold wind across the
Wal Mart parking lot, eyes focused downward.
At the crosswalk, I look up and see her.
The Bell Ringer.
Boots, black and spikey and pointy-toed, white
fuzz spilling out of the tops, tight black jeans
look painted on long legs, shapely yet slender .
Under a black leather jacket a red
turtleneck hugs her swan’s neck, a jaunty
green and white scarf wrapped around it.
Dark red lipstick just matches her sweater.
Breasts, small and high push against the fabric.
“Merry Christmas.” “Thank you.” “God Bless You.”
I look into her cafe au lait face.
She grins, revealing gold caps on two front teeth.
From under a Santa hat pulled over
her ears, golden hoops, the size of bracelets,
dangle, brush her shoulders, twinkle in the
sunlight as she jumps and dances, keeping warm.
She must be six feet tall without the boots.
I think I should drop a dollar in the
red bucket suspended on a black frame
but decide to wait, give on my way out...
Too cold now to dig into my purse.
I shop for dog food, eye drops, beauty cream,
check out, but at the door I realize
I’ve not kept out a dollar for The Bell Ringer.
I scurry past, a rat hiding from light.
Didn’t I put a check for $100.
in another bucket the day before?
I load my purchases into the trunk
start for home, her golden grin shining from
every light pole, stop light, oncoming car.
I brake and turn, speeding back to her post
only to find she has evaporated
vaporized into the cold.
Dark is falling hard and I drive home
at a creep, not understanding just
who it is that I have disappointed.
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