This morning Ingrid forces me to go with her to her yoga class with the obnoxious guru-cult-leader instructor. I’m very competitive about my yoga practice but I’m also not very flexible or coordinated so I’m especially annoyed that this morning’s class is an Intermediate/Advanced class. Ingrid gamely moves from one pose to another, smiling the entire time, and I give up halfway through the inversion sequences and sulk in Child’s Pose until class is over.
Ingrid buys me a coffee afterwards and I feel better. I am preoccupied by a problem in my latest book proposal. I’m having trouble articulating the central question. My agent says to keep writing. Friday I wrote her a long email listing seventeen new ethnography subjects and asked her which she thought would be the best topic to switch to. My agent wrote back telling me that she didn’t have time for that and that I needed to decide what I was going to work on by myself. She’s right, of course, but her email soured my mood.
Ingrid proposes that we go downtown to the bookshop next, and I say that’s a great idea because I want to check out their LSAT books in case I want to apply to law schools. Once we’re in the store, Ingrid wanders off and I park myself in front of the study guides. It’s shocking how expensive these books are. I start thinking about what a racket the LSAT system is and then I’m thinking about how the MCAT’s the same and next thing I know I’ve written off both law school and medical school altogether.
Ingrid finds me in the Psychology section. She’s bought a new non-fiction hardcover about the Oregon Trail and a “Keep Santa Cruz Weird” t-shirt. I tell her she should have saved her money and waited for the book to come out in paperback but she rolls her eyes and tells me she wants ice cream.
We leave the bookstore and turn left onto the Pacific Garden Mall. Ingrid points out a bunch of calla lilies in a flower bed. I can smell carnitas on the wind and I’m suddenly melancholy. I turn to Ingrid to tell her that I think we should eat burritos and watch a football game but she’s gone. I spin around searching for her. Just as I turn back to face the intersection in front of me, I see Ingrid across the street and down the block, rushing into Palace Arts Supply with a group of strangers. A Palace store clerk closes and locks the door, and there’s Ingrid peeking her face through the glass with a bunch of other lookie-loos. I am suddenly alarmed.
Right about now I hear the singing and then I see the man: in the intersection, making his way towards me, he is wearing a shirt and nothing else. His flaccid penis and scrotum peek out from under his shirt hem and swing as he dances. He spins slowly as he hops on one bare foot, singing: “We make great pets!” I am wondering why he’s clothed his top-half but not his bottom-half when he reaches out to embrace me — I trip over the curb as I lurch back away from him, and next thing I know I’m flat on my ass in the street. A siren whoops and suddenly there are police officers squeaking in their regulation boots and the half-naked man is whisked away.
I get up and walk over to Palace Arts and knock on the glass. The clerk won’t open the door until the police clear out, and then Ingrid grins at me as she files out with the rest of the shoppers.
“I can’t believe you didn’t say anything! You left me all alone to run right into that guy!”
Ingrid shrugs at me and pantomimes an exaggerated look out! She taps her index finger to her temple and wiggles her eyebrows: “There’s a yoga joke in here somewhere, Alex.”
I propose we see a matinee next door but then change my mind. Ingrid whistles the tune the half-naked man had been singing. She swears that it’s a Pornos for Pyros song, and I’m adamant that that isn’t the case.
Sarah Arantza Amador is a graduate of the Creative Writing BA program at UC Santa Cruz and is a former Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish and Latin American Literatures at NYU. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with her dog Roscoe. She’s most recently had fiction and poetry published in FIVE:2:ONE’s #sideshow, sPARKLE + bLINK, Vending Machine Press, The Airgonaut, and Word Riot. You can find more examples of her fiction, scribbles, and oddities at cheapfruits.tumblr.com. She tweets @ArantzaSarah.