The Literary Girlfriend: Over-Cursing
WARNING- Danielle sometimes cursed too much. I’m not sure if cursing too much is a character flaw, but it was something that I (and others) noticed. This is a problem because I don’t put much profanity in my writing. It’s just not my style. But Danielle (at times) used inappropriate language, and it’s tough for a writer who doesn’t use profanity much to write dialogue for a person who does.
I could have toned down her profanity, but that would have changed her character and maybe even the story. So I decided that in this scene (where she over-curses), I’ll go ahead and put in what she said because that’s what she was like. So if you don’t like cursing, then you might not want to read this. Or maybe you can close your eyes a couple times.
It didn’t take me as long to fall asleep as I thought it would. Even though the date with Danielle had gone better than I expected with the promise of a second one (she said she was coming back), I knew to keep my expectations low. I didn’t have her phone number. She worked nights at a topless club. With her hair pulled back and the thick glasses and the drab but appropriate clothes, she had appeared like an ultra-cute version of the type of woman I was used to dating (especially when she carried my paperback copy of Sense and Sensibility with her).
But Danielle was nothing like a typical literary girlfriend. She was also the hot chick who ran around braless in clingy t-shirts. I probably wouldn’t see her for a few days… weeks? She would come see me when it fit her schedule, not mine. I tidied up my apartment. I made plans to update my wardrobe. I even thought about buying some liquor (even though she didn’t drink on the date, I guessed that she did drink). I had to be ready, and once I understood the nature of this new potential relationship(?), my mind was at ease.
The Tom Clancy book was too big to read in bed (I liked to lay on my back holding the book over my face), so I grabbed a Robert E. Howard Conan paperback and read a barbarian short story. Robert E. Howard Conan stories are always good and to the point, and I was sleepy before I had finished it (“Rogues in the House”). It was probably a little before midnight.
Saturday nights in my apartment complex could be loud. The complex sprawled through a city block near the suburbs and was considered to be in a nice part of town, but it was still an apartment complex. Loud parties, domestic fights, car alarms going off, dogs barking, cats hissing at each other, there were a lot of distractions. I was a light sleeper, so anything outside my second story window could wake me up. I had a fan that blocked out a lot of it, but on Saturday nights, sometimes even a fan couldn’t help.
I woke up at around 2:30 AM to somebody pounding on one of my neighbor’s doors. God, I thought, it must have been some domestic dispute because there was a constant racket and a woman yelling. Whoever it was kept yelling “Fuck! Fuck!” over and over and followed this with more door pounding. Then there was one last “Fuck!” and silence.
I laughed because some guy had just pissed off his girlfriend and I could tell that his life was going to become miserable. I started to relax and close my eyes again when I heard just outside my window, “Goddammit, Jimmy!”
That got my attention. Slowly, the dots started to connect. My name was Jimmy. A woman was yelling my name outside my window. There had been pounding on a door. A woman who used profanity had pounded on the door. I knew a woman who used profanity and pounded on doors. No, I thought, this couldn’t be…
I flipped my legs out of bed and opened the window.
“What the fuck, Jimmy?”
“Danielle?” I said again.
Once again, I almost didn’t recognize her. The sidewalk was well lit, but I was staring down at her from the second floor, and she had changed her look again. Her hair was over her shoulders. She had a black leather jacket on, tight jeans, and it looked like she had thick black heels. I felt a moment of pride. My literary girlfriend was a badass.
“What are you doing?” she said. She wasn’t yelling anymore, but her voice still carried. “Open the goddamn door!”
My pride took a hit, and I knew I had to connect more dots. “What are you doing here?” I asked.
“I told you I was coming back!” she said. Her voice was still a little loud.
“When?” I asked. I remembered what she had said to me when she left. “You didn’t tell me when you were going to come back.”
“I meant tonight!”
“You didn’t say tonight,” I said.
“What else would I mean?”
“You should have said tonight,” I said lamely. Maybe this wasn’t the time and place to argue.
“Open the fu… Let me in, Jimmy!”
“I’m going to the front,” I said. “Just… quiet down.” I knew instantly that was the wrong thing to say, and I braced myself.
“DON’T TELL ME TO BE QUIET!!”
I didn’t bother closing the window because I didn’t want her to interpret that as rudeness. I threw some shorts on, grabbed a robe, and rushed to the door. Danielle was already storming up the steps.
“I didn’t know you meant tonight,” I said before she could steamroll me.
“I know. I know,” she said quickly as she brushed past me into my apartment with a black gym bag and her purse.
My hairy neighbor had stepped out onto his balcony and was watching. “Everything alright?” he asked.
“Yeah, I think we’ll be okay,” I said. “It was just a misunderstanding.”
“Is that… that… the same…?” My neighbor couldn’t seem to find the right words.
“It’s her,” I said. I didn’t want my neighbor to think I was cheating on the girlfriend that he thought was cute.
Danielle peeked her head out. “Hi,” she said cheerfully to my neighbor. “I’m sorry about all the noise.” Then she turned to me. “Somebody fell asleep and locked me out.” Then she darted back into the apartment.
“I didn’t know you were…” I turned to my neighbor. “I didn’t know she was coming back tonight.”
“You need to talk to her,” my neighbor said.
I went back inside and shut the door. Danielle stood in the middle of the living room, hands down but balled up, eyes red and unblinking. The shoes added a couple inches, but with her stance she seemed almost Amazonian. The leather jacket was open, and her t-shirt underneath was too small, and I could see a bit of flat belly. I knew this was a bad time to look.
“You shouldn’t wake up the neighborhood like that,” I said as I locked the door. Now that we were inside, I was more comfortable with the idea of a loud conflict.
“No, no, I’m sorry,” she said. She put a hand up to her temple and shook her head. The other hand loosened up too.
“You should have called,” I said cautiously.
“I didn’t have your phone number,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d need it.” She sat down on the same couch that she thought was disgusting. “I can’t believe I’m such a…”
I was surprised again by her change in temperament, and I didn’t know what to do, so I walked to the kitchen. “Can I get you something to drink? I have soda or flavored iced tea.”
“You don’t have any…?” She probably wanted a strong drink, but I guess she changed her mind. “Iced tea is good.”
A moment later she was with me in the kitchen. She wore too much perfume, but it was a good choice, and I was back in the frame of mind where I liked her standing close to me. “I’m not like that all the time,” she said.
“It’s okay.” It wasn’t, but what else was I going to say?
“I was sure about you when I went to work,” Danielle said. “But then I started to think maybe I wasn’t right about you. And then I got here, and I expected you to be waiting for me. But all the lights were off, and you didn’t answer the door. I thought you were blowing me off, Jimmy.”
The idea of her thinking I would blow her off made me smile.
“Don’t laugh at me,” she said, but there wasn’t any anger in her voice.
“I thought there was a 50/50 chance I’d never see you again after the library,” I said.
Danielle hesitated and then said, “And you cared about that… about me.”
“Yeah, of course!” I said. “And you cared enough to get mad when you thought I blew you off.”
“We both care,” she said softly and exhaled. “You know what I need?”
I had several answers. A hug? A stiff drink? A spanking? But I kept my mouth shut.
“A bath,” she said. “Do you mind if I take a bath?”
To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: Book Report.
And to read “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning, start here.