Damsel in Distress



“I want you to find my boyfriend,” she said.

Her hair was dark brown almost black and resting on her shoulders with an outward curl in perfect symmetry from one side to the other. She wore dark-rimmed cat-eye glasses that both hid and accentuated her face depending on the expression.

“Oh,” said Ted Goodhill who sat behind the desk, his right ankle over the left up on the windowsill and flicked Uno cards into the wastebasket while rolling a toothpick from one side of the mouth to the other. “Is he gone?”

His guest stepped forward from her spot right inside the door and put her bag on one of the flimsy visitor’s chairs and plopped herself down on the other and sank her chin into her hands with her elbows resting on her knees.

“He’s always gone,” she said with a sigh. “It’s like he thinks people get a kick out of finding him. But this time I want him home for good.”

Ted Goodhill put the rest of the Uno deck on the desk and swung his sneaker-clad feet down on the floor so the strips on the outside of the shoes lit up in green and blue. Then he stood up, put his hands in his pockets to lift the pants up a little, and stomped his feet a couple of times more. Then he looked at her.

“What’s he done this time?” He asked. “Is he cheatin’ on you again?”

“I dunno, Ted,” she said, straightened herself up in the chair, and let her hands glide across her denim skirt. “I just have a feeling.”

“Huh,” said Ted Goodhill, and looked at his shoes with a smile that then disappeared like applesauce into a toddler. “It’s not like we haven’t been here before, Wenda, what makes you think I can find him again? Last time at the beach was pretty gruesome.”

“If anyone can find him,” Wenda said, “it’s you, Ted. I don’t get my allowance until Saturday, but I’ll let you cop a feel under my training bra.”

Wenda began lifting her red and white striped t-shirt in the front until Ted Goodhill put his hand up, his face burning red from the neck to his ears.

“That’s okay, Wenda,” he said, “remember how my mom walked in on us? Your silly thumb tacks aren’t worth being grounded for over the weekend. I got money from the tooth fairy on a Nerf gun fight between Kev Williams and Snotty Lottie on Sunday at 10. I’m not gonna miss that. But I’ll ask around. He with the gang?”

Wenda nodded.

“You know that Waldo is a bros-before-hos kinda guy,” she said, grabbing the handle of her school bag on the chair next to her, “I asked Odlaw’s mom yesterday and she said they went skateboarding at the park. And if not, Whitebeard always lurks by the playground. Such a creepo.”

Then she stood up and walked out of Ted Goodhill’s room without closing the door.

“MOOOOOOM,” Ted Goodhill yelled, “Can I have a soda?”

Then he sat down again and took out his math homework.