“It is for stamina.” She said to him with her cute mouth on her cute face. She was Korean. Just Korean - no hyphen. Her English was as cute as her face.
“I am strong enough. American macho me.” He laughed. They had met in Koreatown by accident. By traffic accident. She had run her Silver Lexus into the back of his red BMW. The true American auto industry in action. A coming together of countries.
“Not strong. Endurance. It is very hot. It will keep you hiking.” She placed the strip of jerky to his lips. He was sweating.
“It’s not Kimchi is it? I’m from Ohio. Spicy is too spicy for me.” He laughed pushing it away.
“Kimchi not too spicy. Kimchi right spicy. Garlic just right.” She giggled. He liked her giggle. She giggled at their accident. She had only run into his rear bumper. It’s what bumpers are for he had joked. She was so short, he first thought she was only twelve and stole her father’s car. What if he didn’t have insurance? He had forgotten he was in California with its no fault insurance. Turned out she wasn’t a kid but had a high deductible on her insurance and asked him not to report it to the police. She giggled. Could he just tell his insurance he found it that way? Of course, he could. Her giggle won.
He smelled the strip she held out. “No garlic. What is it? Korean jerky?” He stuck his tongue out just a little. She giggled as she pushed the strip onto his tongue. He tried not to draw back. He didn’t want to insult her culture. “Okay. It’s not too spicy.” He took it into his mouth and started to chew. “Salty.” He smiled. She smiled back cutely.
He said he wouldn’t call the police if she would see him again. She giggled yes. Next week, but only a hike. No dinner date. She liked to hike. A hike was good for him. She wanted him to pick her up on the corner of Vermont and 3rd in Koreatown. Her roommates wouldn’t approve of her going out with so white an American. She said this in such a way that he couldn’t say no.
“Mul. Water. Have water.” She leaned over and poured some water into his open mouth. She splashed some on his face pushing him as she giggled.
He choked a little on the ice cold water. He had frozen bottles of water for the hike. Still, it felt good. It felt so much better because she did it to him. He grabbed at her but she giggled pulling away.
“Some thanks!” She laughed and threw more cold water on him. Then she started to run down the path.
He laughed. “Thank you then! Ha! Ha!” He stood up and reached for his hiking sac. It had all his stuff in it. He didn’t want his new hiking pants to have a wallet bulge or keys poking out. He looked over to her running form. “Oh you took it. You cutie rascal!” He laughed again and started running after her. He did like her back side. “What a great ass!” He yelled out but then thought better. He hoped she hadn’t heard. It was their first date, well, hike. He still liked what he saw. “Thank you!” He yelled again, but meaning, for the view. Still, she ran fast down the path and across the grass. She was young and in shape, while he wasn’t either of those. He laughed as he jogged way behind her.
The grass lead off to the park’s parking lot. He watched her race with grace across to the parking lot. He smiled at her body in motion. She wasn’t just cute, she was a beauty. An Asian beauty. Every Ohio man’s dream, Asian exotic. He had to slow down a little to catch his breath. He waved at her when she got to his BMW. It had been repaired quickly and you couldn’t tell there had been any damage.
He waved again as she turned looking back for him. She smiled and waved. He then heard the BMW’s door beep unlocked. He waved again. “I’ll stay here. You can pick me up!” He shouted.
The engine roared to life. He loved its sound. And he smiled as she backed the car out and it roared away. He laughed. “Very funny! Ha! Ha! Ha!” He stood there for a few minutes regaining his breath. He smiled. He patted his pockets for his phone. He had put it in his hiking sac with everything else. It took him a few more minutes to realize he was out in the distant Los Angeles Park without his phone, his car, or his money. It took him a little while longer to be certain she wasn’t coming back. “I don’t even know her name.” He sighed.
The EndMichael W. Clark is a biologist and professor living in Santa Monica, CA.