Storyglossia Issue 41, November 2010.

The Cream Inside the Oreo

by Angela Rydell


Once I locate my gate, I get a pack of mini Oreos from the vending machines, drop it into my purse, then search for good eye candy. My favorites are the Clark Kent type, not yet Superman. You know, the ones with potential. A man hiding something powerful—physically, if you know what I mean—underneath the awkwardness. Not just any woman can tell the way I can. To see the Superman underneath the Clark Kent, you need your own X-ray vision. Strip away the glasses, bad wrinkled suit, dazed expression. Get him naked before you, even if he doesn't know it yet, and in a very short time he's usually quite willing to oblige. Perform splendidly. Give you his all. Be a super man.

At a table by the vending machines, a chair's free. Across from it sits a tall man wearing all black, his broad shoulders filling out a dark trench coat. Very incognito. I'm hooked. But he doesn't look up when I sit down, just keeps his nose behind the newspaper. I stare unabashedly at what I can see of him—long, slender, well-manicured fingers holding The New York Times, black hair moussed and tousled to look both casual and carefully arranged. Pants with a perfect seam going straight down from crotch, over knee, down to neat black socks. He's a little sleeker than my usual, but he'll do. After all, they could call my connecting flight any minute, so there's barely time for real sex anyway.

I imagine doing it with him in the little alcove I passed while exiting, pressing him against the low window ledge overlooking the tarmac, tousling his hair even more. My hands take on a sticky dryness from the hair mousse. The cool, hard edges of the alcove press around us as we move together. Patient, trying to please, he stays hard as long as it takes for the plane to break out of formation, prepare for lift off and gain speed down the runway, pacing himself so when the plane takes off, so do we, my hands pressed against the glass and reaching for the clouds. Sticking to them a little.

I eat my cookie, imagining the oversweet cream center is buttery and soft, the preservative laced wafers fresh-from-the-oven crisp. And keep embellishing: this time we're in the plane, making love in the tiny bathroom. He's pinned in beneath me, one hand gripping the mini faucet, the other the toilet paper dispenser while I move freely on top of him, our bodies thrown together in unpredictable thrills of turbulence.

As I fantasize, his actual hand sneaks out from behind the newspaper curtain. For a moment, I think he's reaching for me, somehow knows I'm having sex with him in my mind right in front of him, wants to touch my hair, my face, my own reaching hand. But instead he dips his hand into the cookie pack and nabs one for himself. Right in front of me.

I sit back, breathe out like a deflated balloon, not sure if I feel violated, offended, or somehow validated. Did our imagined sex somehow provoke real familiarity? This is a new one. But of course that's impossible. Even real sex doesn't do that. I've slept with men I never kissed. Men I couldn't pick out of police line up. What do I say? Don't eat my cookies, sir. Wouldn't you rather fuck instead?

I may not know their names, their jobs, their favorite sports teams (well, that I know more of that than I'd like), but I do have standards: I prefer men who are generous, patient. Trainable. I take pride in spotting them. That Clark Kent thing again—they want so badly to confirm my suspicious, reveal how much more they have to give—physically, at least—that they try hard to give me all the time I need. Not that my quest for superman always uncovers such stamina. But I like to pretend.

The flimsy paper barrier now feels absolute, and I pat my hair, scan the room for a better match. A tall hunk with an ego the size of the airport itself stands with his legs spread before a giant TV, watching a sportscast, getting riled up and acting like a complete dick. I roll my eyes and look back at my cookie crook. Perhaps he was making an overture? Claiming my territory? Is a foreigner needing some schooling?

This gets me going again. After all, I'm exploiting his proximity, too.

He reaches for another cookie, pulls it back behind the newspaper, and I reach out to eat the next. As we chew together, simultaneously swallow the overpowering sweetness, I imagine we're doing it in the aisle and the passengers are watching us, vaguely interested, like we're the in-flight entertainment. His mouth tastes sweet as butter-cream filling. I start thinking how sweet the rest of him is, want to taste all of him. We're in the cockpit now and I'm the generous one for a change. The plane is on autopilot and I go down on him as we fly over the land of ten thousand lakes. He eats cookie after cookie. Thank you for giving it all to me, he says.

On the table between us one cookie remains. I suddenly feel awkward, until the loudspeaker announces a flight, and in a crisp efficient movement, Mr. Cookie Crook pushes the pack with its last cookie toward me, gets up, folds his paper and tucks it under his arm. For the briefest of moments I see his face. He looks kind, sweet, with large dark eyes and long lashes. His tongue licks at the corner of his mouth; he winks, nods curtly, walks briskly to his gate.

I take the last cookie. Nibbling, licking the grainy cream, letting it melt in my mouth, I almost miss the announcement of my own flight as he disappears behind his gate. I reach into my purse for my boarding pass and my hand grasps a small, crinkly, plastic tube. Instead of my pass, I pull out an untouched pack of Oreos.

My Oreos. The cookies were his. I revise my fantasies embellished with this new, tantalizing fact: He was the generous one after all. My mouth waters.

I run to the gate, his gate, where his flight is in the final phase of boarding. Loosening the top button on my blouse, I smile generously at the man behind the counter, begin to beg. "Please," I put the cookies on the counter, as if they're leverage. I even offer him one. "I'll give you whatever it takes."

Copyright©2010 Angela Rydell

Angela Rydell's flash fiction can be read in recent or forthcoming issues of Short, Fast and Deadly, The Citron Review, DOGZPLOT, and Foundling Review. Her poetry has been published in The Sun, Prairie Schooner, Alaska Quarterly and other journals. She is a recipient of Poets & Writers' Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award and holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College.