Hula Girl By Johanna
Even from a distance I could tell she was full of potential energy by the way she tap tap tapped her heel on the rim of the stool leg, like if I shook her up she might pop, maybe even explode. Intrigued, I bought her a drink and waited for her guard to drop.
On her second daiquiri, she’d told me that she had moved to the landlocked Mountain West from the Pacific Islands. She didn’t know anybody. She didn’t have a job.
“I took a chance,” she said swinging her long black hair over her shoulder with a smile.
But I suspected there was more to it. “Why here?” I asked.
“I don’t know, just something different.”
“But any place is different. You could have gone anywhere.”
“Not anywhere.” Her smile puckered and she tap tap tapped her fingers against the bar. Her eyes searched the room uneasily.
“Let me get you another drink,” I said.
“If you must.”
On the third daiquiri, she got up to dance to a reggae song on the juke box. Her eyes closed as she swung her hips in small circles as if they were spinning a hula hoop. She was somewhere else, somewhere with the sound of the ocean breeze through palm trees. She laughed and I leaned in to listen.
Short Time with Hula Girl by Forrest
With dashboard Jesus going out the windshield, hula girl moved in on his turf. I spent nearly three months in traction mulling over how I hadn't managed to follow him, my best charm against dumb accidents. So it happens. All around the world Jesus sits on every other dashboard and most of them go busto at some point. Realizing that was more painful than the shaft they put in my leg. If I had wanted a token decoration, I would've put hula girl in there and be done with it.
And, for a few pleasant memories, I did when I got my new wheels. No one's ever that healthy after a hospital discharge.
I had remembered buying her with someone I was seeing after graduation, our trip to Honolulu, strictly a gag to toss in some box later. I was more serious about dashboard Jesus. Hula girl was kitsch. Dashboard Jesus could have the sexy hips, too, I tried convincing myself—I just had to think about it hard enough. Then he did, but only after the break-up. Very inconvenient timing on his part. But like I should talk.
Yes, I see hula girl's supposed to be an unconscious stand-in for her, the one I shouldn't be attached to now. Neither of them, to be sure, can be a stand-in for dashboard Jesus, his own sexy hips, his kitschless smile. Someone could care about me, except there's still a long, slow pain I feel which shoots up my leg as I push the clutch, a vague forsaking of something I had missed from afar: a turn, a warning, a warm breeze passing through and finding my face.
The Pineapple Queen Revisited by Alan
Along the loneliest road in America, which is any road heavy with memory, a car romped through the succession as if it were the supreme conduit – Wallace Stevens’ necessary angel, lightning rod, adolescent book thief in a mall full of adults with nowhere to go – whilst the figure on the dash froze time incessantly.
(And then again, it was still there, days later, only transposed, transliterated, trans pacific, transit, the pinnacle transformer. The pineapple is the secret codes of summer. In it, the image is transfixed – not the eye. In it are shifts from hula to fruit to soma to soup. The ride is a loop.)
It was all he could bear.
Wither Betelgeuse by Bill
Fremulon Jakes gives up drinking just before the stuff already in his stomach decides to come back the way it went, staring at the hula girl chotchkie on the dash trying to right himself after the horizon lost some its fixedness, curving here and there along non-Euclidean lines and twirling along like it was a child’s picture-mobile, watching for the emergence along the line of the fat roundness of the ships low in the sky.
He really hopes he will just pass out before they reach the airfield so he won’t have to actually walk toward and climb aboard the ship under his own power. It would all go so much smoother for everyone if he could just wake up off-planet.
Good Times by Nicole
Do you remember who was driving on the way to Salt Fork after Bobby Joe came back from the war? I think it was Chuck. He kept turning the lights on and off. Looked like some God Damn video game with the yellow line feeding into the car like pac-man. He would turn the lights on and off and that car was a piece of shit. Loose wires or something like that. He was always fixing it. He had this hula girl on the dashboard that would shake her ass from side to side. She danced while the lights flashed on and off like a camera with a low battery. What do you call it when you only see something for a second? A snapshot? That’s what it looked like. A flash and we could see trees and shadows. A flash and we pass a bridge. A flash and nothing but the dam dark road. There was this dude walking along the shoulder. Bobby Joe left the lights on and we could see him moving back and forth like a pinball. Chuck, or maybe it was Bobby Joe, thought it would be real funny to get close to the guy, you know scare him like we were going to run him over, rev the engine and shit. He was an old fucker like Mr. Magoo. Suspenders and everything. Probably sauced out of his mind so he didn’t even realize we were right on his ass at first. His face man, when he saw us? I have never seen anything like that before. Eyes all round and his face gone long. His mouth hanging open like a pulled rubber band. He started running and kept looking back. His face got longer every time he looked at us. It was like that painting, with the alien dude holding his hands on the side of his face? The yell? The Scream? Whatever – you know what I mean? Anyway he was screaming stuff like something about his sick mom and how he needed to go home to her. How there would be no one to feed his three legged dog or some shit. Bobby Joe, or was it Chuck, just kept following him real close. Tapping the bumper on the back of his knees every once in a while so that he would jerk forward and run a little faster. We ran that bastard until he started crying and holding his chest. Calling please, please, please like the old guys do in movies. Bobby Joe pulled around the side of him, You alright old timer? The bastard just kept saying please, please, please. Chuck threw half a bottle of JD at him. It hit the ground and didn’t break. Lucky son-of-a-bitch. Like someone throwing a 20-dollar bill at his feet. And man, Bobby Joe hooked it out and passed the old bastard so quick I didn’t even get a chance to see his face like I wanted to. He was probably faking anyway. Probably laughing his ass off.
Man those were good times, know what I mean?
Commerce by Lyle
Before the apocalypse was really after the apocalypse. People walked their dogs and ate sandwiches, to be expected. But the lavender lipped ladies spilt breast bones on the boardwalk like so much halloween candy and their bruised eyes smeared at the corners. But then the fear of war was always eminent. Just around the corner pausing for lunch. Salvation: always a bitter stalk next to suicide. But on down the road we trundle. Barely a whisper of wind — barely a hip shake from her before - after - during the apocalypse. Just barely a sigh from her lips.
(for Frank O’Hara)