Beautiful Girls
Gary Percesepe

I was trying to figure what it was about women's feet when a cop stopped me. This cop had the full Cleveland look, and he wasn't playing. I fingered my Native shades while he approached my car, lumbering. He said remove your eyewear. I said OK. He said you from around here? I said, well, I guess.

He studied me and went back to his car with my license. Wait right there, he said. Here? I said.

I voicemailed over to my outgoing message, to see what I sounded like when I was sober.

The cop came back and said did I know I was doing 85? I couldn't feature that, so I said so. It was a time for honesty.

I was thinking about women's feet, I said. What is it about them?

The cop had a badge that said Danny. It looked like Dandy.

In Vogue the woman's feet are strapped and loaded. The colors make me weep. Do they put makeup on feet? I see a heel on a cool blonde I wanna cry. I told this to Danny.

Danny swiped his mouth. His little mustache wiggled. He had some lunch there in the whiskers. He looked a little sad.

My wife has corns, he said. She makes me rub them. I have this special rub I do only for her. He shakes his head. God damn. When we first married I would give her foot massages. You see what I'm saying? He shakes again, hands me the ticket. His hat was off now, and his head pattern bald. He replaced the hat and shook my hand. Thank you, I said.

She can't wear heels, now, Danny said. Sensibles only. She goes around everywhere in flats or flip flops. She has the veins. Three kids. Christ, it's probably my fault.

I nod, afraid to use the voice. He was on to something.

Michelle Pfeiffer. You remember? That mob movie? She gets a foot rub?

I try my voice. Uma Thurman. The great debate with John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson about did she or didn't she get a foot massage from thus and so.

That didn't sound right. I waited.

Now Uma, she has the flat feet. Funny toes. I dunno about her.

Beautiful Girls, I said. You ever see that movie?

Nope. Danny checked his watch.

I pocketed my ticket. I smiled and replaced the Natives. Then I saluted. That didn't seem right, so I slurved my hand over to part my hair.

But Uma. She was amazing in Kill Bill. Real scary. I like that.

Beautiful Girls, I say. She is the perfect girl from Chicago. In this movie, see? She says to the guys, I'm looking for a man who can say to me at the end of the day just four words. Good night sweet girl. Just that.

Just like that.

Like that.

Women's feet, I say.

It's the arch, Danny says. She hangs her foot by your mouth. Beyond the reach of tragedy. Speed dial the pope. Sweet Jesus.

We nod in agreement.

Gary Percesepe is an Associate Editor at the Mississippi Review. He has stories in or coming from New Ohio Review, Pank, elimae, Antioch Review and others.

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Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Pedro Simoes.

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