“Smile,” the doofy-faced man whispers, daring to lean his beard into the passing woman’s ear.
Hombre, you have erred. Oh, how you have erred.
And smile the woman does, but not the sort of smile the man was looking for. The smile is deep, but there is no joy. It is wide, but not welcoming. He said smile. And she does.
“Lumpty dump,” the man thinks, loping down the street. “Food, food, beer, sport, boobs, sport,” goes the news ticker in his head, to the tune of a Lumineers song audible only to him. A little girl draws on the street, but he doesn’t notice, for she doesn’t have boobs. Not yet. Not yet. She smiles. On he walks.
A middle-aged woman snips roses from her yard. The man takes notice, but not of the sort he enjoys. “How dare this woman, whom I do not desire, regard me,” the man thinks, amid the whining strains of Ho Hey, still in his head. Fuck this song, he mutters absently, distracted by the woman’s awful plainness.
Is it real? Is it a dream? The man is confused. The women are doing things, but not the things he told them to do. This, friend, is no dream. It is a nightmare.
Ah, here. They’re laughing now, and normalcy is restored. Like lambs frolicking in a pasture. He walks among them, relieved to be back in the land of sexual attraction.
What are they doing. Why is…who is…?
Now they do not smile, not anymore. He considers saying it again. It’s on the tip of his lips, as it always is when he comes upon a woman’s face not stretched in a mask of delight. He doesn’t, though. This doesn’t seem like the right time.
Something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong. She’s smiling, but it’s not…