In response to Donna Moore's request for 750-word stories sharing a title with a Ramones' song.
Carly was only ten minutes late. A new record.
“Excuse me, miss.”
“Yeah?” She eyeballed me from the ground up, thick-soled skateboard sneakers to vintage corduroy jacket. Then my face.
“Oh, shit. Alyssa. Is that you?”
“Call me Alec.”
“I will not. Why are you dressed like a Williamsburg barista?” She peered at my mouth. “Is that stubble on your upper lip?”
She pushed her hair off her shoulder, a flirty move I’d seen her perform a thousand times. “It’s kind of hot, actually.”
“I know. I look great, right? I’d totally do me right now.”
“Keep it in your pants.” Her eyes widened. “You’re not - you don’t have anything down there, do you?”
“Like a strap-on?” I grabbed a handful of fabric below my fly.
“I do not. Sit down and hear today’s plan.”
Carly wasn’t quite as eager as I was.
“No fucking way. Getting glammed up so we can boost from those snobby stores on Madison Avenue? Sure. That’s fun. Dressing like a gay hipster to lift wallets at a Chelsea garden party? Where’s the fun in that?”
“I’m bored with that girly stuff. Stealing shit we can’t use. I want the real thing - cash.”
“And we have to dress like guys? What about this?” She flipped her blonde tresses again.
“I got you a baseball cap. You can hide it under there.”
“You get your criminal tips from the Disney Channel? Put my hair up under a hat. Yeah, that way they’ll never notice my tits.”
I hadn’t thought about her tits. They were huge. I stuck my hands in my pockets and slouched. Too much boob was not my problem. I’d wriggled into a extra-small sports bra and was as flat as the wall.
Carly gave me the appraising look she usually saved for jewelry counters. “I think you’re into this.”
“No, I’m not,” I said way too fast, then took a breath. “What do you mean?”
“You don’t care about the high heels and hair extensions. You like the excitement.”
“So do you.”
“But my favorite part is making them think we’re rich, that we belong in their tight-ass stores. The salesmen practically bowing, unlocking displays so we can try on emeralds. The getting away with it - that’s the part you like. Even better if the security guard is chasing us down the street.”
Hefting her huge leather tote onto her shoulder, she stood. That bag had walked out of Saks with her while I’d instigated a screaming match with the sales lady.
She lifted my chin. “Stubble. Cute.” She pecked me on the lips. “Count me out this time. And don’t get caught...Alec.”
Carly will be so disappointed, I thought as the man grabbed my wrist and pushed me against a tree, out of sight of the rest of the partygoers.
“I saw you take that phone off a table.”
He was an inch or two taller than me, eyes a deep blue. He squinted, daring me to deny it.
“It’s my friend Greg’s. Ask him.”
I nodded vaguely toward the dance floor laid over the lawn. All those men. There had to be a Greg there somewhere.
He was close, one arm around me, strong hand pinning both my wrists to my back.
Second try. “It was an impulse. A sickness, my doctor says.”
“An impulse? I watched you for an hour, putting your hands into jackets, poking under tablecloths.”
Fat lot of good it did me. I’d come up empty until I’d spotted that damn phone. Wait, he watched me for an hour?
“I’m disappointed. I thought you were cruising me,” I said, earning a half-smile. “Listen, just take the phone and I’ll go.”
“No need to involve the authorities, right?” The smile disappeared and a lock of dark hair fell over his right eye. God, he was gorgeous. “What if I told you I was a cop?”
“Not with that $200 haircut.” I leaned in and kissed him. He pulled back.
"You’re too much.” He released my wrists. “Give it up.”
I laid the phone in his palm. I should have run. Instead I left my hand on his.
He moved a step closer and returned my kiss. It took a minute. I didn’t mind.
I waited until I was out of the park before opening his wallet. Thomas Passarelli, 460 West 28th Street. His fault, holding me so close.