bubblegum crisis

we sat on a stone picnic table in the park. i twirled a long stem rose between my fingers. she let out a deep breath. i nudged her with my knee. she pushed it away. i nudged her again. she snatched the flower out of my hand. with a quick snap, the petals exploded over my head. i felt the broken end of the stem scrape against my cheek.

'i paid $9 for that.'

she scowled and raised her hand again. i winced. she tossed the broken branch behind her. she smirked and looked away. relaxing, i stretched out my leg and dug out a pack of gum.


with a thumb and forefinger, she deftly picked out a piece without touching my hand.

i could almost hear her teeth grinding as she chewed.

'hey,' she said suddenly.

i looked at her. she flicked the empty, crumpled wrapper at my forehead.

'you have so many redeeming qualities,' i mumbled under my breath.

'shut up,' she replied and pushed me away. she sniffed. a quiet pop of her gum followed, as she turned away and leaned back on her elbows.

i shrugged and fished out my own piece of gum. as i was about to pop it in my mouth, her hand flashed out like zeus's thunderbolt and smacked it away. the gum flew across the air and bounced a few times before coming to rest in a bed of gravel some distance away.

i hissed. 'god damn you!'

she snapped her gum in response.

my shoulders slumped as i stared at the off-white rectangular object in the distance. when i turned to look at her, something like a triumphant grin was beginning to form at the corner of her lips while she examined my reaction. she turned away before i could see it fully develop.

i jumped off the table and faced her. i leaned forward. her eyes got big. she leaned back. every inch closer by me was matched by an inch further by her until she was almost lying flat on the table.

'you kiss me, i scream,' she warned.

i blinked. she narrowed her eyes.


i straightened up, turned and walked towards my lost gum. i bent over and picked it up. i held it up to the lamplight and examined it thoroughly.

'you're not going to eat that are you?' she asked, horrified.

i rubbed it as clean as i could with my shirt.

'you chew gum. you don't eat it. stupid.' i emphasized that last part as i popped it into my mouth.

her face contorted. she clicked her teeth and shook her head.

i placed my hands on my hips and chewed like a champion, as she looked on in clear astonishment of my victory.

she stepped off the table and walked toward me. my arms tensed, readying myself for more violence. as she reached me, she looked up and burst out laughing. without missing a stride, she sidestepped me and continued toward the parking lot.

'you are so stupid!' she said, still laughing, shaking her head.

i pivoted in disbelief.

'what?' i followed behind her. 'what the hell was all that?'

'just seeing if there was anything you felt guilty about and needed to confess,' she replied over her shoulder.

'that is so evil,' i stopped to yell. i pulled out the pack of gum and launched it at her. it sailed to the left of her head.

'you're lucky that missed,' she said without turning.

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