Troy saw a crazy fuckin' girl lunging off the concrete overhang.
She fell -- from near to ten meters over his head -- in a rapid drop toward his steadied, open arms, but broke through his catch, sending his five and a half foot ass and his shoulder-strapped guitar down the recently watered hill. His open mouth hit the ground, after saying, "Shit", forcing him to swallow the wet, manure-ended blades of grass, until coming to a belly-flopping finish three yards away from the base of the hill.
Troy slowly pushed himself up from the sloping hill. His Dickies were grass-stained, especially his groin. His arms and face, green from the hill and soil-covered, appeared like a real life person attempting to recreate "Swamp Thing" on the campus. They were currently playing the television show in his TFM (Television, Film, and New Media) 300 course.
He sighed at the bent-in-half, frayed-wire look of his guitar. Three nylon strings had snapped, dropping like they were whiskers from either side of the neck, which had also split in half. He kicked the pear-shaped body made of real mahogony wood, hearing warped sounds as it thudded down the hill and exploded on impact with the one-way street, leading to the same parking structure the crazy fuckin' girl had climbed and departed.
His chin felt rocked. Blood -- from his mouth and both nostrils -- stained the cotton fabric of his formerly all-white tall tee. Crimson fluid trailed across the short cut grass, while he sideways-stepped down the campus hill, toward the red curb, performing a mental search on what exactly he would need to say to fully express his umbrage at the fact she felt it was humurous or sexy to jump on top of him.
"Hey. What in the fuck?" he said, and shot a snot rocket of mostly blood out his left nostril. Then the other.
The crazy fuckin' girl only cried, sobbing over the curb. From what he could see, surprisingly, there wasn't a bone broken on her. This was a tiny miracle. A Deus Ex Machina, from what he remembered out of his Freshman-only history of theatre class. His scuffed body was the Machina.
"Are you planning to stay there all day? You know, cars go through there," he said, his anger ebbing as a deluge of sympathy swept through his heart.
She looked at him, and he saw the display of her wet face with its pretty Asiatic features: soft, caramel skin, a tiny, bell-shaped nose, very soft eyes, and even softer, smaller ears. Still she smelled like a ubiquitous lemony perfume, at odds with the scent of grass and mud. Her tears stopped -- as if by abrupt turning of a knob -- and she smiled like her fortunes had changed.
"Hero of mine...you saved my life," she said.
Troy felt her ability to move was mind-boggling. Hero?
"Tried to catch you, but, yeah, you fell harder than I expected. You weigh, what, one o five. Sorry."
"It's okay," she said, then shot a glance at the portions of guitar strewn along the base of the hill. "It's broken! I must pay you for a new accoustic. That's what that is, right? How much?"
"Don't worry about it. I got another."
She turned onto her butt, swung her feet over the curb, and threw her hand out, behind. "Help me up," she said.
He pulled her up through mostly her effort. She was astonishingly unaltered by the fall, save the abrasions on her legs and the look of her hair. There was a little blood pouring from a cut on her right calf and from her scraped upper left thigh, but this wasn't necessary to call a doctor about. Grass stains on her clothes and roots clinging to the folds of her disheveled, plain black hair gave her a matching Mrs. Swamp Thing appearence.
"Tabitha," she said, waving her hand whimsically like it was a wand for magic, taking steps up the hill. "That's who I am. And you are?"
Troy bent his head leftward, and said, "Absolutely confused."
Maybe his head craned toward the left in accessing the more creative side of his brain--a fact he'd learned in Psychology 100 last semester--hoping to find logic enough to distinguish this perennially surviving girl from that of a proper supernatural being. She wore the same outfit as yesterday but showing different colors. A green skirt, yellow blouse, and black flats adorned with a ribbon along the toes. The only difference was today he'd dropped her, and her chin had become a sand-covered strawberry. She didn't seem to mind the pain, or was ignoring it.
"Hi Absolutely Confused," Tabitha returned, waving again. "Did you know I just jumped from the first level of the parking structure and tried to land on you again? Last afternoon, my jump was from Lot B. You moved to Lot A! I didn't want to kill myself after yesterday's suicide attempt, when you caught me and thwarted my plan to end it all. Today, I wanted to surprise you. Did I?"
"Yes," he answered her, giving a slight nod. "I'm very surprised."
"Really? Did you see me up their on the first level before crashing into you?"
"No," he said. "I didn't see you, but next time I'll move out of your motha fuckin' way. I won't try to catch you a third time."
He wanted to peer into her eyes -- to convey the full solemnity of his words -- but she pushed a rock with her foot, clearing a space as if to do something on the hill, which stole his attention.
"It must be like twenty feet up," she said. "That's pretty high for jumping off."
Troy now looked up, measuring. "Sure is. Did you just mention how you are suicidal?"
"Like right now?" she asked.
On the ground, she twirled like a flower in the wind, twisting the grass underneath her slip on flats and leaving green pancakes in various spots she leapt to and then away from. Her graceful glides and leaps inspired him to think she might be crazy about ballet or something close to that kind of dance style.
"Look here." Troy wanted to ask if Tabitha was mentally retarded. "I mean," he began, but paused briefly, with a tightening of the lips and forcing his brows. But he couldn't hold the look, or the words, which vanished like they were abondoning the idea altogether. He softly asked, "Are you some kind of suicidal girl?"
"What did you say?" she said, stopping abruptly, feet arranged to leap and twirl.
"I mean that's pretty damn high up there. You really could die," he said, solemnly.
"My shrink says I'm sick in the head," she announced, groping her chin, wincing as she cleared red bits of sand.
"Oh," he said, wanting to laugh with her humorous delivery.
"I'm just kidding," she said.
She stopped brushing sand off her chin and began studying his facial features.
"You're black, right?''
She looked at his guitar dispersed along the lower hill, and then, somewhat perplexed, back at Troy. ``Wait, what race are you?''
He smiled, lifting the bulge of his khakis where his nuts lay, and kept a smile shining, as he said, very confidently, "Does it matter?"
He had delivered the joke in good taste, but she didn't respond. She just stared at him like a wax sculpture at the museum she didn't get.
He tried to laugh for her. ``You know I'm just joking with you,'' he said, nervously. ``I wouldn't grab my package like that, not in front of some girl I just met, but since you're crazy, at least,'' -- he paused briefly in panic, thought, and then backpedaled -- "Not crazy. To me you're set apart from other girls in a good way. I feel like, to compare, I got to do some crazy antics like flap my arms like a butterfly, pretend I can leap over clouds, or was transplanted with a dead astronaut's brain if I want to get on your level." He felt his smile stretch, wiping away an embarrassed look. He added, "You enjoy life, right?"
"That's funny," she said, enjoying the fact he held a smile.
"What's funny?" he said, with a laugh, though he knew it had something to do with his smile.
"You probably have a small penis," she said.
"What," he said.
"You heard," she pitched, and danced a little more on the grass, hopping like a fit of joy overtook her internal muse, exhorting her soul to spin.
"I have proof," he made sure to say, firmly and directly at her gyrating body. "But I'm sure you aren't ready to see all that God had the great pleasure of endowing a gentle soul like myself with, and I'm guessing -- "
As she landed on her toes, then descended to a flat foot stance, her look changed from happy to disappointed.
"Whaaat,'' he echoed, and seeing her fading expression of joy, he softened his tone. "I mean, you know, explain. In fact," he said, catching the point he was speaking too much in his defense, ``forget that I said that about myself. I have a small penis. There,'' he said, with a short laugh, ``I said it. Feels good. And truthfully, I'm just now free of this tired and bullshit conversation."
"Any guy who talks about his wang worries too much about having a small penis," she said, forming a grin with her curvy, maroon lips. "Wood...'' she paused, "...n't you agree?"
"You think you can fly," he said, and twirled like that internal muse effect he imagined. He meant to ridicule her dancing, but realized his spinning body reflected more her suicidal drops from the parking structure. He felt the need to stop. "Nah, forget that. I seen you fly twice now in two days. I guess you can. Maybe, only you can."
"I fly all the time," Tabitha said.
She pinched either side of her skirt and flapped the frog-colored fabric so that it leapt up from her sinewy thighs. She let go of the skirt as her slender legs kicked and flittered. He wasn't an expert, but she appeared to be practicing pirouettes. Though ignorant about ballet, he felt she was a pretty good prima ballerina. "I can see how you fly," he remarked, gaining confidence in her ability to recover from hurtful ridicule.
He thought to himself, and that idea she might be schizophrenic resurfaced. "I fly all the time," he repeated in a whisper, watching her do more twirls on the grass. Her responses did not convince him either yay or nay on whether this girl had a mental handicap. His guess was that she felt the urge to do a butterfly dance or some bologna like that every now and again. It did look cute.
Did she like him, though?
"Nice outfit," he rushed to say.
He had been watching her defined calf muscles twitch, as if itching to perform more pirouettes, when she noticed him staring at her from a few feet away on the grass.
"I know it's not my outfit you like," Tabitha said, mirroring his flirtatious tone.
A rose-hued blush jollied up her soft brown cheeks, lightly dotted with sweat and ricocheting a sheen from the direct sun. He completely saw past the dark grass stains on her elbows and kneecaps, the dried blood on her chin, resultant from her strange behavior. He looked beyond the dementia and found the girl. She was not that crazy, just different.
"Is that so?" he replied, watching her as she bent her arms and clasped her hands together to mime -- at a slow speed -- a dancing manuever about to be executed.
But she halted, studying his clothes to follow up on what she had said about him.
"Another pair of Dickies shorts this afternoon, you're very consistent," she commented. "I like the button up flannel on you, too. The green shirt and gray shorts together look especially nice, a very smart-looking combination," she said, and then lifted her arms and pirouetted on the grass. Soon, finding a rhythm with her feet, she went back into the same ballerina twirling routine for a few swinging hops and loops, and, mid air, she managed to perfectly time a "you're cute" while arching her tiny supple arms in a sun shape overhead.
Ryan Gregory Thomas was a film student, but after leaving school became a fiction writer. He will forever be a life-long resident of California, residing in San Diego, mostly, and -- of recent -- Riverside, and plays in a band. He has been published at everydayfiction.com, short-story.me, firstwriter.com. His Ebook novel, "Catch A Body Series", can be found on Amazon.
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