by Chris Milam
A slice of apple pie. Why? The abomination stares at me, a repulsive, fruit-filled arrowhead. A golden crust with deviant edges. This would normally be a deal breaker but she’s attractive, more like a deal bender.
“You’re eating a triangle.”
“Well, the triangle is selfish and deceitful. It’s an arrogant beast. You ever watch a swan? Regal and sophisticated gliding across a lake, head held high, not even a single glance at the common duck. Triangles are swans. I don’t know, it just bothers me, you eating one.”
“You don’t understand,” she says. “I cut it with a fork, wounding it. I break its spirit then put it in my mouth and kill it. I hate fucking triangles, they’re the egyptian cotton of mathematical shapes. I’m more of a rectangle kind of girl, if you know what I’m saying.”
Her entire face winked at me. Wet blueberry eyes, hair as dark as shadow.
I do know what she’s saying; I beat off to rectangles. Parallel walls. Top mirrors bottom. Doppelgänger sides. A long box of sexy.
“Right, right. You know the square is all come on, dude, you’re me but hotter.”
“Yeah, like the square is Tom Cruise’s brother. Related but nobody cares.”
I need to tap the brakes. I’ve been burned many times by women claiming they despise triangles. Then I’d catch them caressing a pool ball rack, or ogling a wedge of parmigiano reggiano. I dated Anne for a month, was falling like midwestern snow for her until I met her daughter, Isosceles, and the mutt, Scalene. Undercover triangle lovers are the worst. It only has three sides! Come on. It doesn’t get much more diabolical than that.
Claudia pulled out a tube of cherry red lipstick, drew on a napkin, slid it over to me.
“Get down on that, Robert.”
It was the most beautiful quadrilateral I’ve ever seen. Lines thick and pouty. Voluptuous. Each corner, each right angle 90 degrees of arousing symmetry sketched by a mercurial eater of pie.
“You’re like the Picasso of rectangles. The Frida Kahlo of sensual geometric perfection.”
“Aww, you’re such a sweet-mouthed man. You want to see something that’ll make your heart beat like hummingbird wings?”
“Yes,” I said. Yes times infinity.
We drive to her apartment. Inside, glass and ceramic elephants graze on everything. No family pictures on the walls, just movie prints and rectangles. Abstract, surreal, yellow, violet, blocks of tangerine. Welcome to the rectangle jungle. I force myself not to swoon like a grizzly when it bumps into a salmon while patrolling a shallow stream.
She leads me into her bedroom. It’s all satin and scent, cinnamon and apple, a trace of vanilla. We sit at the edge of her bed. White comforter with rectangles in various stages of undress. She hands me a porcelain box. “Open it.” Those blueberries again, teasing and taunting. Winning.
I unlatch the tiny lock, flip the lid. It sits on red fabric, breathing softly. It trembles beneath my glare. “Where did you get this? I thought they were hunted to extinction. That they only lived in poems and scrapbooks. As slices of apple pie. Seriously, how? Where?”
“Ohio. A nowhere town. But it fucked up, tried to venture out disguised as a trapezoid. They’re not exactly known for their cunning. A phone call and a road trip. As simple as that.”
I pull it out of its prison and hold it my hand. Lean in close like a cop at drunk driving checkpoint. “Polygon should’ve stayed gone.”
“You wanna torture it with me?”
The most erotic question I’ve ever been asked in my thirty-two years. “Yes, let’s hurt this obtuse piece of shit.”
Her smile eats my smile. I tell her I love her. I tell her that she is the rectangle of my eye.
And the triangle stares at us, wishing it was born a different shape.
Chris Milam lives in the bucolic wasteland that is Hamilton, Ohio. When not writing, he vapes and sulks with ferocity. His stories have appeared in Jellyfish Review, WhiskeyPaper, Bartleby Snopes, Molotov Cocktail, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @Blukris.