The title is inspired by the fact that a deer crossed my yard just as I sat down to write, and by the headliner — if headliner is the word I want — at a strip club not far from somewhere I used to live: Bambi deForest.
by Marian Allen
Joe had to keep his mind on his work. A factory line is unforgiving, and sprues don’t remove themselves. He couldn’t afford to be without a job – or a finger, come to that. But lunch and breaks gave him plenty of time to replay the fight.
When one of the guys asked him what was wrong that he didn’t want to talk sports, he said, “Would any of you guys know a one-month anniversary of the day you met your girl was something to celebrate?”
Some groaned, some said, “Well, yeah!”, some said, “Is that what I done wrong!” and one guy famous for tom-catting said, “What’s a one-month anniversary?”
His best friend at work clapped him on the shoulder and said, “Son, you been schooled. Next time you’ll know.”
“I don’t want there to be a next time! I love Bambi! She’s the one, Harlow, she’s the capital-O One.”
“Sorry, man,” Harlow said. “Move on. You done peed in church. No going back from that.”
But Joe couldn’t move on. As the week passed and Bambi didn’t answer when he called and didn’t call back when he left a message on her voice mail, he found it harder and harder to concentrate off shift.
Then it was Sunday, and he went to have Family Brunch with his widowed granny at Silver Lake Retirement Homes.
She had a little house on the grounds with a kitchenette, but she liked to dress up and eat in the main facility’s dining hall, where staff brought you plates of what they knew were your favorites or, if they didn’t know you that well, you browsed the buffet.
“I want to show off my handsome grandson,” she said, every week. He had even bought a suit so he could be snazzy for her.
Naturally, she could see that he wasn’t himself. She asked, and he told her.
“She’s the one, Granny. And I blew it.”
“If a little old thing like that blew it,” his granny said, “you’re better off without her. What would she do if you really stepped in a big pile of it? A relationship is always going to have its ups and downs, and if she calls this a ‘down’, she doesn’t know what the hell a ‘down’ really is. Why, one time your granddad….”
As Granny reeled off his granddad’s (mostly) youthful indiscretions, Bambi’s attitude faded into unimportance. If she was The One, she was a One he didn’t need.
When it came time for dessert, Granny asked Joe to go get her a hot fudge sundae and whatever he wanted for himself.
They were sitting at a table at the opposite side from the buffet, so he had to thread his way between tables through aisles made uneven by the occasional mobility scooter or wheelchair. When he got to the ice cream bar, he realized that, although he’d eaten a raft of hot fudge sundaes, he’d never built one. A plain brunette with a dynamite smile helped him, and he went back to the table aware that a hell of a lot of eyes were on him. At least two men and four women, watching him serve his granny, murmurred, “Now that’s a nice boy,” to someone at their tables.
His granny beamed at him and patted his hand.
“Don’t you worry about that Bambi. She must come from an ignorant family. Everybody know ‘Bambi’ is a boy’s name. Haven’t they ever watched the movie? It’s a wonder they didn’t name her Thumper.”
By the time Bambi thought he had suffered enough and returned his calls, he was celebrating his one-month dating anniversary with the great-niece of one of his granny’s poker buddies.
Here is something I made the other night:
This is vegan gnocci (not all gnocci is vegan, so, if you care, read the ingredients before you buy), multi-colored cherry tomatoes, onions, and grilled Brussels sprouts, topped with some pretty gnarly looking vegan Parmesan. It tastes fine, though. It’s made with cashews, so beware if you have a tree nut allergy.
MY OTHER PROMPTS TODAY: Brussels sprouts = Brussels = Belgium = Belgian chocolate = Abuelita brand Mexican hot chocolate (Abuelita means grandmother, in case you didn’t know) = granny. This is kind of how prompts work.