"What's wrong with me?" Harley sighs raggedly.
From where Leila and I are sitting, not a thing. But just to make sure, we lean a little to the left to more fully inspect the merchandise. Let's just say the boy comes fully loaded.
"Man, it hurts to breathe," Harley moans, tearing his fingers through his tangled hair.
Harley is going through Kat withdrawal. After Kat told him to hit the road, he climbed onto his hog and rode all night. He finally broke down at Rosie's kitchen table around 6 a.m.
Turning the faucet on full force, Harley bends down and laps water like a dog. Then, holding his head under the sprayer until his long hair is drenched, he stands up and shakes water all over Rosie's kitchen.
It's like having a wounded wolf with an earring in the kitchen. Hearing the call of the wild, Leila and I stare at him and pant. Meanwhile, Rosie spreads newspapers on her no-wax linoleum.
Suddenly, throwing back his head, Harley howls in pain. Then, grabbing his black Harley Davidson crossbones T-shirt, he tears it away from his well-sculpted chest.
"Not once has a man ever torn his clothing off for me," Leila sighs.
"Shoot," I huff, "I can't get Sweetie to take his socks off."
Meanwhile, Rosie pulls out her sewing kit.
Kat is a man magnet. Her path is strewn with broken boy toys. No doubt, she's pulling a new GI Joe out of his boxers as we speak.
"I can't live without her," Harley groans as he pounds his head on the kitchen table.
Leila and I glance at each other. This pretty much confirms what we have long suspected. When it comes to men, there's something that Kat knows that we don't know that she's not telling us.
"Well, Kat is an intelligent woman," I say analytically, as I refill our coffee mugs. "She's very well read."
Lifting his shaggy head off his arms, Harley stares at me.
"And she's adventurous," Rosie adds, threading her needle with one eye closed. "Who else do we know who's hitchhiked across China?"
"China?" Harley frowns. "China, the country?"
"And of course there's her benevolent side," Leila says into her coffee.
Knitting his eyebrows, Harley racks his brain on this one. I'm not sure if he's trying to picture Kat as benevolent or if he's trying to figure out what it means.
"How many years has she been volunteering at that soup kitchen?" Leila asks.
"Oh, yeah," Harley nods slowly. "That's where we met."
"Harley," I frown, "what exactly is it about Kat that you love?"
"Well," Harley says as he scratches a tattoo through the hole in his T-shirt, "she's a smooth ride."
Leaning forward in our chairs, we give Harley our undivided attention.
"You know," he shrugs, "like if I want to do something ... she does it."
Coffee cups hanging in midair, we stare at him.
"And she doesn't talk much," Harley says, thoughtfully stroking his two-day old beard. "I like that in a chick."
Clearing her throat, Leila takes a sip of coffee.
"Then of course," Harley says, slowly licking his lips, "there's the body."
On that note, Rosie, Leila and I fall back in our chairs.
"So basically," I say, "the perfect woman is built like a brick outhouse and follows you around like a welltrained poodle."
"Wow," Rosie says, stunned. "Who knew that men and women had so much in common?" (Copyright 1999 P.S. Wall Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.)