Leonard scratched it down, his name on the nametag as he has been for the past month. Vegetarian ya, he thought looking on to the fat bald guy leaning over the check in table from behind him as he steps in to the room.
Leonard; the kind of guy that if ya seen him you would think he needed a body cast, extra milk in his diet, steroids to get from A-B. A thin guy, cargo pants, the turtle necks he wares and if he had one of his zits bubbling from off his face in under the dark greasing hair of his. You’d probably be wondering what kind of bird the misquote that had bit him there had for breakfast.
He sits in, the chairs formed in to a circle, the people gathering around; all vegetarians from in the city. He looks around, the meeting begun, next to him sits Joe, He’s been on to Joe, watching him, ever since Joe enounced the death of his dog. A Rottweiler, a pup from in the litter of his old mans guard dogs from in their butcher shop.
Joe thought it to be a conspiracy, thinks his father had it killed after finding out about it being on a vegetarian diet. Leonard thought different. He’s seen Joe attending the meetings that take place down the hall; The bulimia groups, excess thinking group, he’s even seen him coming out of the so- called eating disorder meets. No one from in the vegetarian group tends to the eating disorder meets, none except Joe.
Leonard looks over his right shoulder, on to Joes dark yellow sweater, looks along the collar; try’s to see if he can spot any signs of barbeque sauce. Like the drips he had notices on him from in the meetings before. Wondering, thinking the yellow sweater he has on is means for a cover up, a guilt, he probably knows Leonard is - was on to him.
Jane, the eldest of the group; starts the session. “Hello fellow vegetarians.” She said, smiles, and then looks around at each one of the faces. Leonard looks on, watches her then tilts his head down and stares on to the floor.
Oh great, little old Miss Moffat is hosting the group today. He knows once you get the older women going then you’re in for along ride. Its like turning back the clock, going back in to the time where women had no rights, their duties were mainly for tending to loves ones, housing, chores and cooking. And now all of a sudden they’re forming a women’s right, the so called equal to man and from were she sits; her thoughts and views of being a vegetarian from in that day are about to be expressed.
Leonard sits tight; his objective for today’s meeting was to express the fact that he is now living with a meat eater. His new roommate; tell all about his new house since he sadly announced to them that the one he had been living in was struck by an out of control half ton truck, left his basement apartment in dust, dirt and filled from floor to ceiling as it crashed down in earth; dirt farmers use, dirt that was mixed with cow manure and on its way to local green houses. The group was devastated; shocked of the news he had introduced in to the group. Questioned if he had any plants, pet plants of his own that fell to the tragedy. Ya, he told them, letting them feel for his plants as he felt for his apartment. Leonard had no plants yet he played along, found himself amused at how all these green eating, yellow licking, red sucking vegetarians could feel compassion for the death of their food; its prime mates, the leaves you see growing in windows, used for their color, smell and sense of taste.
Troy is his name, Leonard’s new roommate; a house he is going splits on, paying half the bills and paying them with, sharing a kitchen with; fridge, stove, the sink, the sink in the washroom where he stores his toothbrush just inches away from his.
The egg shells in the garbage can, the stench of bacon as the fan above the stove sucks in its fume; smoking lard setting from sizzle in the frying pan.
“Good morning.” Said Troy in cheer, egg yellow pasting to his lips, fork striking on to a strip of bacon, the sweat of him tending to it wile it sizzled; leaked out from in his army styled hair as he sits the table in a white tank top, green shorts and staring on; waiting for a good morning cheer in return for his.
Leonard knows, he’s seen the kind; those free loading sons of bastard, the drifting American dream, your classic couch potato, the kind of guy who swept in under the educational breeze as a child and now lets a wind set him in along the rest of the good old fashion American dreaming sons of bastards setting sail in to a life that’s being lived.
He itches, wants to know if and where Troy works, what it is he does for a living or is he indeed how he seems; a son of the good old American dreaming bastard. He swings the fridges door open, leans in as his left hand grips around the handle, grabs the orange juice, looks onto the rim of its bottle; ketchup. He sets in, scoping around the rim, eyes setting for x 2000 from in his sights; chunks of dry flesh swarming around the rim, down along the inner, swirling around in the ripples of ketchup mixing in to the juice as he holds the bottle in under his noise.
“Have you been helping your self to my orange juice?” He asked, turning around, left the oranges juice in on the rack, and closed the fridge.
“Oranges.” Troy said, shaking his head from side to side, nods then shakes it again looking up in to the ceiling. “The sun is up, out this morning.”His eyes in a dilated sate.
Leonard standing in front of the fridge, his shadow closing in over the table and takes notice of the sun setting its shine from in the kitchen window and shines in off its walls.
“So what are ya doing today?” Troy asked as Leonard walks him on by, setting a step out in to the living room, empty handed, his shoulders slummed from in under his dark blue housecoat.
“I don’t know, I’ll go for a tan.” He told him sarcastically and un interested, waving him off from in its tone and stepping into an exiting step from in the bacon stench airs from in the kitchen.
“Some girl called for ya last night.” Troy said, spitting it up in to the ceiling and directing it back over his head as he snapped out his hand; grabbed the cigarette box , flicked one out, then slipped it in to his mouth as he reached out andfired up his Zippo.
“What?” Leonard asked thinking the cru cut bastard was wanting to play a game as he sat down, grabbed the news paper up off the side table of their flowered velvet inclining living room chair.
“Ya, wile you were out at that farm.” Troy puffs back for another drag, feeling his view as it spread from in his stare on the fridge and back over him in to the living rooms air. “I can help ya know.”
“Did she leave a name?” Leonard asked in discuss knowing he hadn’t made any friends and especially not that of a girl, well not close enough for her to be calling him at his residence.
“No, no name.” Troy answered, shook his head then lifts the cigarette from off the end of his plate. “Ya that smell; cow shit, its really starting to mess with my digesting.”
Ya a digesting, Leonard smirk from in his own thought, whips out the paper, sets it up in front of his face and begins to change the subject as the other remains in under a cloud of a smoking cigarette.
“I got a friend, she models, works part time at a clothing boutique. Pounds of clothing, you can guy buy it by the pound.” Said Troy, nods, brings the cigarette up to his lip, puffs back, looks over his left shoulder; the stove then on to the coffee pot dripping its last of drips from in its maker.
How refreshing, Leonardflips the paper from in that thought, pins the tips of his fingers in to the last page and opens it up into its comics. He hears the dishes drop into their sink, cups bashing in to each other “Ooh ha.” Shoot from out of Troy’s mouth. He shakes his head, gives the paper a good tug and tunes in to the toons.
“Here, come on, its hot.” Troy said, speaking in to the paper as it’s held up over Leonard’s face.
Leonard sets the paper down, letting it rest on his lap and grabs the white mug from out of his hand saying, “Alright.” And nodding his head. “So what are you doing today?” He asked as Troy began to step back.
Troy’s hand come up in front of his chest, sets them out as pistols, looks on to him, tilts his head down and smiled. “Ya.”
Leonard lifts his brows, looks up in to Troy’s eyes, brings up the coffee mug in his hand, and then nods.
Not getting his turn tonight wasn’t too great of a deal, it didn’t matter much yet he felt a need to be there tonight and expressing his view, getting a feed back from the others for how he was coping yet not willing to understand the life style of a non vegetarian.
Blabbermouth, he stands from in his thought for Jane as everyone else has. They step from in front of their chairs. The coffee pot in the corner, muffins and donuts on the table next to it and the girls of the group following in behind their eldest; Jane, Miss blabbermouth, the women who needed to know why was it she felt guilty as a Christian vegetarian. Questioning her saneness in regard of the bible; for them unlike her ate and eats meat.
Joe and the other two fat guys stand in left of the table; donut in hand, shoving them back down their throats and setting stir for the next one. Leonard follows his lead, a break from in any other gossip before it holds him in. He followed in behind Sandra, a girl of his age, physique; for she too is somewhat petit and more so then the other’s from in the meet.
She lifts her red denim jacket from off the hooks, lashes out a shine from in her pitch black hair as she turns her self in to it then steps for the door.
Leonard steps in behind her, sets out the flaps from on the caller of his black leather coat then looks back over his shoulder and gives the coffee table a good look; knowing indeed the others wanted to hear more about his apartment, its out come, as in their minds; its still a fill from the spill of fertilized dirt, farmer grade manure, the stuff used to grow plants, greens and for the production of what they seem to be tending to; a vegetarian diet.
Sandra stepped on, leaving him in a pace of his own and watching as she headed on out, down the hall, and for the door.
He takes his time, walks by each of the rooms from in the hall, sneaks a peak in thru the glass window of the doors but not showing too much concern or interest; kind of like the same way he has most of his life, in school and around other’s. He was never one for bragging about being a vegetarian; dirt dipper, pebble sucker, H.2.0 grease ball. He kept it all aside from in school as he grew up; no one really noticed, or paid much attention to him. His mother as happy as she could be watching him down all his greens and fruit juices, his Dad couldn’t stand the sight of it; knowing his son was just another kid; a scrawny little boy, living the pleasures of life as it was there, offered to him from in the death defying, back breaking, hand grinding, placed in behind the four walls from in his own home then bringing a child up in to this world of ease and piece that his son had come to be in the privilege of.
It wasn’t until after his parents died. Leonardo stayed in touch with the family doctor, going to him for any or all counseling. The will as it states; he is only to receive his family’s inheritance when and there after he has made engaged; married in order to pass on his family’s name for he was their only child.
“Then come off the diet.” Said the Doctor staring on to Leonardo, looking him up and down; knowing him all his life and seeing nothing wrong with him eating a variety of foods.
“Just like that?” Leonardo asked, looks on to him; wondering how and where that suggesting was coming from.
“It’s your life; you go about it on your own. I have no idea where or how you came up with this diet. No allergies, you weight a little below average. You’re a good old kid and your parents where healthy all natural eater’s.”
Leonardo hums, going over what he had just heard.
“Look” Said the Doctor, “If you want or need to expand your view. I don’t know and personally I can’t help but I know of a place that helps people cope with, well it’s like a group counseling. Down town, aren’t you living downtown now? It holds a bunch of these group meetings, everything from eating disorders to foot messages, you give it try. I know they hold one about the every day vegetarian. If you’re still feeling stale them come back and I’ll see what I can do for you. And Leonardo there’s still a large sum of money in your name; its just waiting for a miss’s to come along.”
He gets to the end of the hall, coffee no longer seeping in under his noise from out of the meeting rooms. The door shadow in as the lights from in the street lamps shine thru from the outside. He walks out, stands in on the top step, looks out into the night, onto the city lights, and then spots Sandra.
“Yes maim.” Said the dark skinned overweight hot dog vender from in behind the counter of its stand.
She sets her purse back under her arm, steps back and watches as he sets her with all the toppings she had requested.
“No mustard hu.” The vender asked spreading ketchup in along the bun.
Sandra smiled letting out a wind of patients as her tong drips in hunger.
“I have some meat sauce.” The vender said, grabs on to the handle of the spoon from in the pot and gives the sauce a good stir.”
“Is it spicy?” Sandra asked lifting to her toes and looking in over the counter.
“My specialty.” The vender said smiling then sets her with a wink.
“Oh, my stomach can’t.” Said Sandra stepping down and maintaining her wait from in her stand.
“Not a spicy meat ball hu.” The vender said, smiled, and then begins setting the napkins on and around the hot dog. “That’s too bad. The peoples during the day eat it up like there was no tomorrow. Ha, maybe I try a sweeter touch; I can’t stand the sight of these skinny girls running around now days. Some juice for the bones you know.” He said then sets the napkin covered hot dog on to the counter.
“Well, thank you.” Sandra said, smiled then smiled again as she turned and walked away.
Leonardo steps in under the vending stand’s light, looks on to the price board; its menu, scrolls around looking for any signs of a vegetarian mix; hot dog, salad burger or any other specialty.
“What can I get you?” The vender asked.
“Looking.” Said Leonardo.
“How hard can it be?”
“Get out of here.” The vender said, dropping his jaw, waving out a napkin from in his right hand as Leonardo turns and walks on.
Following in behind Sandra; watching her gulp down the hot dog.
Meat eater, spy, she’s a witch, she’s probably telling that slab of meat all about tonight’s meeting, its kissing her, licking her tong, tickling her throat. He steps in behind her, lets her enjoy and take pleasure before he decides to interrupt.
She chews on, slurping back the toppings, crunching in as the crumbs crumble on down her front then she steps in to the garbage bin next to the bench; throws the napkins in, lets the last bite; butt end of the dog drop then turns her self in on the bench and sits.
“Sandra.” Leonardo giggled her name, steps on then stops next to her and sits him self down on the bench.
“Ya.” She asked, rolls her eyes then brings one leg up over the other; letting her foot shadow in over his left.
“What was that? A relapse, flash back a pig meant for your imagination.”
“Oh please.” She said laughing then beginning to blush as she was, is and now caught from in the relationship of her meets with a fellow vegetarian. “So what of it?”
“I wouldn’t know. Maybe we should ask Miss Jane. We can catch her; she’s probably in her bible study group.”
“You wouldn’t dare.” She said, sets her right hand on to his knee and gives it a good squeeze.
“I can hear it now, seeing them look on to you from in the corner of their eye, chomping in to a donut, growling a slurp of coffee from out of their cup.”
“Oh please.” Sandra laughed; leaning forward then sits her self back in to the bench rest. “Your apartment, furniture crushed, walls caved in, top soil from floor to ceiling? Where in the hell did you come up with that?”
“You don’t believe it,” he said smoothly, shaking his head slowly and rolling his eyes away from her and holding them to the left as he holds his guard.
“I was willing to play along”
He looks on to her, up in to her eyes as she sets her self in stubborn; her head tilted back. “Play along?” He asked looking down along her stomach, legs then on to her feet.
“I was going nuts in there. She totally spoiled the meeting, unless the others forgot about it or it gave them nightmares having their plants being crushed, suffocated under dirt wile images of them selves being crushed, suffocating. And why didn’t you call me back? I waited all afternoon.”
“You.” Leonardo said, smirks, and then looks up into her eyes. “You called me?”
“What did you think it was Jane or one of the other bimbo’s?”
He shakes his head away from her, shakes it side to side slowly.
“You afraid of me offering support and help. The guy who had his apartment demolished, his plants crushed, choking on.” Sandra laughs, tried to hold back but let it go quoting; “Cow manure”
Leonard sets for a smirk as she rocks back and forth from on the bench; laughing and squealing a tear. “So here we are?” He said sitting back in to the backrest and setting in for a stiff sit.
“Ya.” Sandra replied, sits back, and lets her foot sing back and forth from over his. “My folks own this restaurant, its just a few blocks over. They’ve been bugging me to get, bring in a date. It’s like the place to eat for all the inner city vedgie heads. Like; every moth they come up with a new meal; a vegetarian entr. My place is right above, I have the whole top floor to my self, a view of the west end, east end then from on the roof top; the whole city.”
“Sounds how do I say; Bon appetite.”
“So?” She asked, looking on to him as he smiles in to the dark sky above.
“How could I say no.”
“Well then.” Purred Sandra. “How about this Friday?”
“Friday.” Leonard said, looks down on to his hand, waves out his fingers and begins looking them over one by one.
“It’s in a day, tomorrows Thursday.” She said, pushed her hand on to his thigh.
“Friday.” He said then stands to his feet, turns, and looks down in to her dark brown eyes, sets out his right hand.
Sandra grabs a hold of his hand with hers, lets him lean back as she wade her self down and stood up. Leonard looks down on to his hand, stares, and his eyes squint then turns away and looks on to Sandra as she breaks for a smile.
“I’m this way,” She said waving her hand out over the bench; in thru the park as streetlights from in the other sides shine thru.”
“Ya and I’m a couple of blocks that way.” He said, looking over his right shoulder and in to the stoplights ahead.
“See then.” Sandra said, setting her hand on to his chest and pushing him back in to the direction he had leaned in to.
“See ya then.” He said as he leaned in with her push, watched as she stepped on then turned and stepped out in to the street; heading his way.