The first time I met Juliet she was wearing a tutu and a gorilla mask that covered her face entirely. She had wandered over to my campsite, drawn there by the heady smell of hash and the steamy jungle beats I had been throwing into the night air.
She accepted the pipe without saying a word, and it was only when she lifted the mask to allow access to her mouth that I saw and believed her beauty, suddenly illuminated by the lighter’s flash. But then the gorilla returned, and from around the rubber mask came a thick cloud of smoke as she exhaled. After the song ended, I relinquished the mixer to some other aspiring music man and extended my hand to the fabulous gorilla who responded with her own surprisingly soft palm. The new DJ, perhaps sensing my mood, played dirty, grinding beats, but in any case he was mistaken, for I was sure what I was feeling was not lust, brother, but love, dear god, for a woman-gorilla wearing a tutu.
She returned the next day as I had desperately hoped she would; there was something in her chemistry that ignited my senses like a flash dance. This time her face was naked, and in the merciless glare of the midday sunlight it still blew me away. Giant green butterfly eyes that blinked and the world went into stand-still, easy-smiling lips in a grin that could light up the corners of the earth. So call me a romantic, but the truth is that I am generally what you might call a jerk, and yet, this woman melted me all to butter.
“Fine day for a little Goolash, eh?” she said, referring to the headliners of the music festival we were at, who were set to play.
“Indeed,” I said, trying not to look too interested. She plopped her delicious derriere into one of our vacant camp chairs.
“I brought a little something, since you all were so generous with your wares last night.”
“Good god, woman, what could it be?” I said, taking an affected swig from my flask.
“Put one in your mouth and find out,” she said, with a jingling laugh like sleigh bells.
“Excuse your mouth, madam,” I said with mock offense, and she giggled buttercups. When I leaned over to inspect whatever she held cupped in her palm, she tilted forward and planted a smacker on my lips. I was still frozen by the sudden and unexpected realization of my fantasy as she giggled again, hopped up, twirled around, and darted off, calling over her shoulder, “I’ll be back with my little friends here, we should all get together around sun-down, do the mix, mingle and puke.”
“O-Kay,” I said, the two syllables cracking like a pre-pubescent kid, but she was already gone in a flutter of strawberry hair.
Sundown came and went, my friends went ahead of me to the stage while I waited alone, but I never saw her again and thus ended the dream of my love. I wrote a song about it later, after the festival, but it was a sappy, horrid tune completely unlike anything I had ever thought to compose, and my band mates patted me on the shoulder, shoved the song in the far back of a drawer, and politely suggested I take a vacation.
Her barrier lowered by a freight train of tequila shots and the panty-dissolving power of my status as a DJ.
The second time I met Juliet, she was a petite blonde wearing not a gorilla mask, but a hell of a lot of makeup which actually worked somehow. The dark eyeliner around her blue-grey eyes made them precious stones sparkling out of a black-satin-lined treasure chest. Her lip gloss felt sticky and suggestive when we kissed on the evening we first met, her barrier lowered by a freight train of tequila shots and the panty-dissolving power of my status as a DJ. Not an aspiring DJ anymore, but one with gigs and a stage name that saw itself in print in flyers and posters across the city. GorillamaN was my name; I don’t have to tell you how I came by it, only that I had become a beast indeed.
This Juliet was not shy. She placed my music-making hand between her fishnetted legs and licked my face. It was at some point while we fucked like the world was about to end that she told me her name, but none of that should matter to you, because there, with her nuclear body pressed urgently into mine, it did not especially matter to me. She was gone by morning, a rich, velvety shadow too complex to be seen in the washed-out light of the midday which is when I woke up, spooning an empty patch of space still buzzing with her molecular energy. She left no number, no note, just a black mascara smudge on my pillowcase and a room that would continue to hum for weeks.
The third time I met Juliet was the fucking charm. She was running my items through the register, beep beep, beep, and lingered over an economy-size pack of condoms because either the bar code was stubborn or she just wanted to fuck with me. She held it up under the bright light for the world to see as she slowly, monotonously typed in each number on the bar code — twice — until finally the transaction had gone through and she laid the package on the finish line.
“Twenty-five Ninety-nine,” she said, extending a cocoa butter palm, but instead of laying in it a credit card, cash, or any other form of payment, I handed her my business card. She arched one perfectly formed eyebrow and read it aloud in a drone-like voice that may as well have been over the loudspeaker, “GorillamaN: jungle beats, sexy beast. OK then.” She dropped the card behind her right shoulder with all the confidence and condescension of a supreme goddess. “Oops.” Then she finally met my gaze from under lids drooping under the weight of impossible lashes, her pupils somehow angling downward even though I stood a good 10 inches taller than her.
“Have a nice day, sir.”
Some Juliets let you die alone.
Illustration by Keylay Tukor.