Kathy had a problem with her bicycle. It was out in the shed, behind the house we shared and she wanted to know if I could take a look at it for her, maybe figure out what was wrong with it. I thought this was odd, Kathy could take apart an automobile engine and I, well, I didn't even have a driver's permit. What would I know about broken bicycles?
But I said 'yes' anyway. I always did, even when I didn't want to. Kathy was like that.
"Great!", she said, grabbed my hand and led me out of the kitchen door and up the steep backyard hill to the tin storage shed.
Was this Utah? Maryland? I didn't have time to get my bearings, suddenly we were in the musty little shed and Kathy was shining a flashlight on an old, rust-colored Huffy 10-speed. Even I could see what was wrong with it.
"Kathy, your wheels are flat."
"Can't be. I just inflated them."
"No. I mean that they are flat- they are squares. They have four flat sides. Wheels, by definition, are round."
"These aren't squares. They are rectangles. Or maybe triangles".
I looked more closely in the narrow beam of light. The tires kept shifting, it was hard to determine what shape they really were or how many sides they really had. I wasn't even sure it was a bicycle. It may have been a tricycle.
"I stand corrected. In any case, that's the most fucked-up bike that I've ever seen. Did you slip me some acid earlier or something?"
"No", she laughed, "I really just wanted you to crack my lizard."
"You know", I replied,"I would have fucked you in the house if you'd asked. It would be a lot more comfortable."
"No, silly, the lizard on my back. It's sore. I need you to crack it for me. You remember how to do that, right?"
I didn't have the slightest idea what she was talking about.
"Of course I remember."
"Good." She handed me the flashlight, turned around and pulled her shirt over her head, exposing her naked back. There was a small green lizard tattoo in an odd location, halfway between her bra-strap and her ass. It was wiggling.
"Just press down on it like you always do."
"Uh, sure", I reached out and touched the inked reptile. There was a loud 'pop' and it stopped moving. Kathy sighed.
"Thanks honey. Hey, bring that light over, take a look at this", she beckoned me over to the shifty bike.
Oh man, I didn't want to look at that thing. It made my head hurt. Square tires? Fuck.
"Sure. What's up?", I knelt down next to her, trying not to let my irritation at the psych-bike show.
Our faces were inches apart and a lock of her auburn hair slipped into my mouth. My head filled with her fantastic smell and suddenly I realized that she and I were not yet lovers and that this was to be our first kiss. It was a moment of sublime anticipatory grace.
Later, I was tracing lines on her back with my finger. The lizard was gone.
"Kathy, your tattoo isn't there."
"What tattoo? I don't have any tattoos. And did you just call me 'Kathy'?"
"Um, no, of course not", I lied, and addressed her by her real name. "By the way, what year is this?"
"What year is this?", she looked at me as if I had a fever. "Are you high?"
"Probably. Seriously, what year is this?"
She rolled onto my chest and sank her eyes into mine. One of her eyes was blue, the other green.
"This," she said, "is the Summer of Fucking Love. And."
"And if you ever call me 'Kathy' again, I will kill you in your sleep."