I tell ya, this has gotta be my favorite spot to cool my heels in this town. Park my Pontiac down the block from the high school 'round 3 o'clock, slide my Steely Dan CD into the dash, and wait for the show to begin. Because that's the thing about high school girls…they stay the same age, which is perfect for me, because I also do, ever since I drank from that magic well all those years ago.
Hanging out here's a total gas, year after year, decade after decade. Thanks to the cyclical nature of high school, I can almost fool myself into believing those girls do not fall victim to the ravages of time, similarly to how I have not aged a day in God knows how long.
Actually, God doesn't know. God has surely forsaken me.
Sometimes I'll see a girl I really take a shine to, and then I'll sidle on over and ask if she wants to go dancing down at The Oriole tonight, or go for a joyride down I-75, or hear the story of how I was once lured into the woods by a mysterious wood nymph and tricked into imbibing enchanted water from a well that pulsed with a glowing light.
Or maybe I'll drive one little chickadee over to the diner on Alameda and buy her a cream soda while I only pretend to drink mine, as drinking or eating anything causes the very fabric of my being to shudder in and out of existence, as I glimpse the tantalizing inky blackness that my soul longs for, but am quickly and cruelly dragged back into the here and now.
Sure, some may see the age gap as a little weird, but it's not nearly as weird as if I looked my real age, because then I would be a decaying skeleton.
My buddy Chuck likes to hang out by the high school with me from time to time. Not too many folks old enough I can relate to anymore, and it's tough to sign Chuck out of his nursing home since we ain't kin, but he's a good pal. And useful, too. That nosy Constable Barker thinks Chuck is the grandfather of one of the students, which beats explaining to him that I'm unfathomably ancient but stuck in a body that's only 10 or 15 years older than the kids there.
Trust me, that one does not work.
Hanging out by the high school is also convenient because it's in the same part of town as the cemetery, where I sometimes go afterward to put flowers on my grandchildren's graves and weep over how everyone I've ever loved has grown old and died — that is, if I can't score a cheerleader!
I'll be honest with ya though, it's not a perfect situation. Sometimes I have dreams about how cool it would have been if I had drunk from the well when I myself was in high school, because then I could date these girls without their parents calling me a loser and a deadbeat. But then again, I also have dreams of hands, endless withered hands reaching towards me, claws extended, not content to scratch at my face but instead reaching, reaching for something deep inside of me, ceaselessly yearning to seize my soul and devour it. So I've learned it's best not to pay dreams any mind.
Now if you'll excuse me, my wife is calling.