Storyglossia Issue 25, December 2007.

Winter Pride

by Robert Aquino Dollesin


Tanya Berdoff is trudging back and forth through the snow in front of my house. A straw hat shields her face and Christmas lights flash all over her body. Other than that she isn't wearing a thing.

When Tanya notices me watching, she stops pacing and faces my window. Her steaming breath rises skyward and she is shivering, almost convulsively. Her pale, puppy-dog-ear breasts, and her heavy thighs wobble beneath the myriad of colors and shapes coming off the lights strung around her.

Across the street, the Berdoff's porch light flicks on and the front door opens. Henry Berdoff steps outdoors and lights a cigarette.

"Beat that, you fucking pork chop!" Henry shouts from his porch.

I let the curtain fall and turn away from the window.

My wife, Myra, who'd been lying in bed, puts her magazine down and looks my way. "What's going on out there, Roy?"

"They're pissed," I reply.

Myra comes up on her elbows, her magazine drops onto the carpet. "What's their problem now?" When I don't answer, Myra climbs out of bed and joins me at the window.

I pull aside the curtain. Across the street, Tanya's broad blinking backside is moving past the life-sized, mechanical Santa Clause on the Berdoff's front lawn. When she reaches the porch, Henry kisses her.

Myra says, "That crazy woman just has to be freezing."

We watch Henry crouch, reach past his wife and unplug a cord. Tanya's lights flicker off. Under the blotchy porch light, Tanya slowly spins herself free of the cord she's wrapped in. Henry comes to his feet and flicks his cigarette toward our house. Both he and Tanya give me and Myra a not so neighborly gesture. Then they both disappear through their front door.

Myra and I stay standing at the window, silent, staring at the Berdoff's mechanical Santa as he waves his arm and bends at the waist. Finally, I let the curtain fall and put my arms around Myra, pull her close against me.

After a moment, I say softly into her ear, "Myra?"

She pulls her head off my chest, looks up, glaring. Her head moves side to side.

"Myra? Please, Myra?"

She jerks out of my arms, retreats, backing toward the bed. "Not a chance," she says, jabbing her finger in the air between us. "First thing in the morning your ass is on the roof and every one of those reindeer are coming down."

Copyright©2007 Robert Aquino Dollesin