HI MY NAME IS Candice
by Tony Noland
More than once, Christopher told himself it was not only creepy and low class, but undignified to be so taken with this girl. No, he thought, not girl. Young woman. Aside from being less condescending a term, it was more accurate. She had to be at least late teens, maybe early twenties, what with a pair of... with a full figure like that. The mental correction of his own thoughts was automatic. He berated himself for almost objectifying and depersonalizing her based solely on her female anatomy.
If he were the sort of person who used words like "captivating", "lush" or "hypnotic", he would certainly have used them to describe Candice, one of the checkout clerks at the supermarket near his new house. However, Christopher W. Pennefield never used such words, and never read the kinds of ridiculous, time-wasting novels that contained them. Her black hair, her pale skin, her... full figure. Just as water is wet and fire can burn, it was an objective fact that she was unlike anyone else he had ever seen. She was captivating, lush and hypnotic, but he made himself think of her as merely pretty.
Besides, as attractive as Candice might be, especially when she used blue, green or black contact lenses to make her eye color match her eye shadow, Christopher reminded himself that she was just a checkout clerk. Even if he did find himself doing his shopping when he knew she'd be working, and going through her line even when others might have been faster, he knew it was ridiculous. He had an MBA from Yale and was on his way to being a rising star in his new company; he should be focusing on his own peer group for romantic opportunities. There were surely professional women he could start a relationship with; he just hadn't made the right connections yet. After all, he'd only just moved here for the job very recently, just last September.
He looked around at the supermarket decorations, changed over from Memorial Day sales to the Fourth of July sales. Nine months? Had it really been that long? His house was here, in a decent suburb. It was much bigger and nicer than he needed, but he bought it expecting to be entertaining clients and co-workers, schmoozing with the higher-ups. It hadn't really worked out that way, though. Aside from one time when a couple of guys came over to watch part of a football game, he'd had the place to himself. He hadn't even met most of his neighbors yet. That was partly because of the long hours he'd been working, right from Day One. You didn't climb the ladder by sitting down on the bottom rung. Partly, too, it was that when he was home, he was either working in his den or trying to catch up on much-needed sleep. The yard guys took care of the yard, the pool guys took care of the pool.
As he began to take items out of his cart and place them on the conveyor belt that would bring them within Candice's reach, he tried to remember the last time he'd spoken to someone outside of work. The guy at the car wash place? The barista at the Starbuck's in the food court of his building downtown? That candidate for city council who'd been canvassing before the primary elections?
His mind occupied with the task of memory, his fingers slipped, and he lost his grip on the 2-liter bottle of Coke Zero. It dropped onto the belt and the cap cracked, just at the seam. Soda pop exploded out in a wide circular spray as the bottle fell forward, bouncing off a box of Low Sodium Wheat Thins. He shouted and held up his hands to shield his face from the spray, just as Candice screamed and did the same. She caught the brunt of the assault as the bottle, propelled by the jetting fluid, bounced once, then flipped over and landed in front of her.
Horrified, Christoper grabbed at the slippery bottle, but only succeed in knocking it over into the well of the bagging area in front of Candice. When the bottle thumped down on its bottom, hard, the seal of the cap gave way completely. The cap itself rocketed upward and hit her squarely in the left eye, while the foaming contents of the bottle fountained upwards, soaking her face and chest. Candice screamed again and began clawing at her eye with both hands. Her elbows out to her sides, she threw her head back and squirmed in pain as she desperately tried to remove the contact lens that the cap had knocked to the side of her eyeball.
Her back arched, her hair flung backwards, her Coke Zero-soaked chest thrust outward, Candice was hopping and shaking, her torso waving and weaving as she tried to pluck the contact lens. She began growling and stomping her foot in animal pain and frustration as the lens dug into her eyeball. With each stomp, a shock wave rippled up and down her captivating, lush and hypnotic anatomy, every seismic nuance laid bare in soaking wet high definition. Christopher couldn't move, couldn't speak.
Finally, she hooked the edge of the errant lens with a fingernail and tugged it out from the edge of her eyelid. She doubled over forward with the instantaneous release from the searing pain. Both hands over her left eye, she sobbed involuntarily, just once. Then, with a wild, feral expression on her face that Christopher had never seen on the face of anyone, man or woman, she looked up. Among the crowd that had already gathered, she saw him standing, still struck dumb and motionless by what he had just witnessed. He cleared his throat and tried a nervous, apologetic little smile.
With a snarl, Candice leaned over the counter and grabbed Christopher by the front of his shirt. She pulled him across the counter, pulled his face down close to hers, until he was within breathing distance of her. One eye, medium-brown and already bloodshot, and the other, brilliant green and beautiful, locked onto his own as she spoke through gritted teeth.
"There. Are. Better. Ways. To. Get. My. Attention. You. ASSHOLE!"
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UPDATE: Read the sequel, "Candice on the Couch"