John A. Ward
He put down his fork. He
could have used it as a weapon, stabbed it into the hiney of the
surly waitress, lifted her onto the plate and eaten her for
dessert. He was only 69 inches tall and 155 pounds, not a big man.
He was angry enough, but he was bigger than anger.
Anger is just a seed of
dissent in an overheated hippocampus. He knew that he shouldn't
devour the food service personnel just because they were snotty
about his dietary preferences. It would have been absurd, because
he was a vegetarian and she was a minion of the carnivorous
majority. If he did fork her, he would be playing into their
hands. One bite of her quivering thigh and they would have won.
Still, the longer he looked
at her with his herbivorous rage simmering, the tastier she
looked. As he stared, her legs turned to celery stalks, her hips
to eggplants and her breasts to rich ripe muskmelons. Her face
resembled a rutabaga, her hair alfalfa sprouts. All in all, she
wasn't a bad looking salad. If he pretended her skirt was grass
and not leather, he could just manage it.
Wait, that's vinyl, not
leather. Vinyl is a petroleum product. Petroleum is fossilized
plant material. She's perfect. His color returned. The blanched
white of rage gave way to the sunny blush of excitement. He
hunkered down, a wild carrot in wait for the unsuspecting
cottontail. Slowly his fingers wrapped around the cold steel of
JOHN A. WARD was born on Staten Island, attended Wagner College in the early 60s, sold his first poem to Leatherneck magazine for $10, and became a biomedical scientist. He is now in San Antonio, running, writing and living with his dance partner.