A. C. Peterson

"There's nothing worth saying anymore," the dry tips of her lips on my earlobes. A kiss or a whisper? I can never tell which.

Throwing out arms, she twirls like a Hot Topic dervish, palms upward, eyes closed, Manic Panic red hair forming helicopter blades around her thick-lipped smile. "I am a green goddess of forever and tomorrow. You will worship at my altar. You will kneel at my feet!" she giggles, hurling the faux velvet bed pillows at my head while I sit motionless in my chair.

There are things that have to get done. I am the one who has to do them. These are my responsibilities.

Tatinkclinkclink. The rough smack of her frightening-gauge piercings hitting my refinished wooden floor.

Muffled by floor boards, she screams straight into the downstairs neighbors. I do my best to refrain from a "shhh".

"Attention is the food of the future and I am starving. A Biafran child in the desolation of your desert. Star-ving. Starrrrrrrrrr-ving. Star. Are. Ahhhh." Wide mouth held against floor polish, she does push-ups with her lips, leaving Urbay Decay Kisses on parquet. I slip on my headphones, turn up Dylan and imagine myself in my cubicle. She slips off her hot pink bra and kicks Care Bear cotton panties onto my lap.

I refrain from rolling my eyes, from letting loose my signature sigh. I continue at the computer, smiling wad of underwear in my lap, nagging at the bottom edge of my vision with every keystroke.

She is on my bed bouncing, mussing the neatly-arranged covers, singing along to a Belinda Carlyle tune -- the slow, poppy one. I am a complete unknown, with no direction home, trying desperately to keep my fingers on the keyboard, moving, working. She is an eternal flame, saying my name, sunshine in the rain, throwing her feet against my headboard, buck naked an\ d bucking like a donkey with a constant eye on my face, waiting for a reaction.

And the last thing I can do is look. The last thing I can do is stop working. The last thing I can do is pull off my headphones and pay attention to her antics as she hurls foam stress balls at my monitor idly and flips through Programming PERL as if it were "Cosmo". The last thing I should do is encourage her.

The last thing I should say to her is, "Can't you see I'm busy here?" And I do.

The taunting pout has become a cold grimace. The bra quickly rehooked. The panties snatched back with a quick punch to my crotch. I'm gasping for air as she zips up those phenomenal thigh-high boots of hers. I'm searching for the right words as she softly utters:

"Fuck. You." and closes the front door that half-assed way she always does.

And now I can finally get some work done.

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