By Greg Grogan
As the Twigglesburg State sophomores stumbled down the sunny Cancun street in search of more foam parties and tequila-shooting opportunities, one of them spied a girl selling Chicklets from a weathered wooden case strapped around her neck.
She could not have been more than six years old, this little girl, with copper skin and shiny white teeth and tangled raven hair that hung to her shoulders. She saw Kevin looking at her and she smiled, and her eyes were filled with such sublime beauty and innocence that the pre-accounting major began to weep.
His friends stopped to watch two women have sex on the hood of a nearby car. But not Kevin, who found himself stumbling across the street toward the little girl, who continued to watch him with those kind brown eyes as she dispensed chewing gum to passerby.
Who is this little girl? Kevin wondered aloud. She seemed bathed in an aura of heavenly light, and her saintly countenance was a comfort to him like the warmth of a campfire in a winter forest, enveloping the wilderness of his heart and filling it with tender, wordless lessons of love and compassion! Soon the Bacchanalian memories of the last four days washed away like the outgoing tide, leaving Kevin's mind a tranquil beach of pure white sand, redolent of hope and joy.
The little girl looked at him with her big, beatific smile, and it was like a revelation, a redemptive splash of cool, sweet water on the face of his soul. It made Kevin's head spin and soon he grew dizzy, his vision began to blur. The streetscape before him became a kaleidoscope of wet T-shirt contests and big inflatable bottles of liquor and Jimmy Buffet cover bands. And suddenly Kevin bent over and soaked the street with a putrid blast of rum and nacho cheese.
When he was finished at last, and his vomit lay glistening in the tropical sun, the cherub ran to him and offered up her last package of wintergreen Chicklets. Kevin smiled, and with a gentle, world-weary sadness he waved her away. He was a lost cause, he wanted to tell her, lost forever amid life's flotsam and folly. And then he burped and farted at the same time, and his friends laughed at this, and he laughed as well, and the little girl watched them all stagger off into the tumult of the crowd.
She sat down on the curb and closed her eyes. She sat there for a very long time. She would always remember this man, this man to whom she had imparted, if only for a fleeting moment, a universe of love and truth and wonderment, before he had thrown up.
Eventually the little girl opened her eyes and looked skyward, and there was Kevin, standing on a platform high above the buildings and the palm trees. A trio of bikini-clad women and a drunken chimpanzee were strapping him into a nylon harness in preparation for the upside-down-margarita bungee jump. For a moment ― just a moment ― Kevin looked down at the bustling street beneath him, and his gaze fell upon his tiny, gum-vending angel.
Their eyes met, and they smiled at each other one last time. Perhaps, the little girl thought, perhaps his heart has been touched after all.
"Fuck yeah, motherfuckers!" Kevin roared for all the world to hear. "Let's get it on!" Then the chimpanzee gave him a shove, everyone cheered, and Kevin leapt into space.
(Electric Storytime regular Greg Grogan is quietly establishing himself as a rising star in the world of inspirational fiction.)
Friday, June 22, 2007
By Greg Grogan