The Liquid Lust of an Ordinary Day (1)

Liquid Pablo Pablum stood in the aisle of a warm CVS store in Lucifer, Colorado and stared at a shapely bottle of Scope mouthwash. The liquid was such a mystical green color, a leprechaun on acid green. Liquid Pablo Pablum liked colorful liquids and so took the name he had without any sort of official court decree. He wasn’t one to be ruled by the rules of ordinary men he had never met. He was an independent nation. He was a rebel.

Liquid Pablo Pablum had been standing there mostly motionless, dreams and desires spinning in his head, for nearly 37 minutes when a middle-aged woman with a red vest approached him to see if he was shoplifting or just crazy. “May I help you, sir?” She looked as if life had been brutally tough on her.

Liquid Pablo Pablum turned his head slowly and looked at the human roughage. Her nametag read Rose. She didn’t look like a Rose, he thought. She looked more like a tattered chrysanthemum. “I’m just trying to decide on some mouthwash. What would you recommend?”

Rose scrunched her soft-as-a-Colorado-cloud face. She had mauve goose lips, the top one nearly touching the tip of her nose. Liquid Pablo Pablum wanted to pick her up and throw her into the sky to see if she could fly. Her hair was the color of a lazy orangutan drinking hot cocoa from a Christmas mug, and the hair jingled soundlessly as natural ringlets bounced against the tops of her shoulders.

She fitted reading glasses over her dragon-green eyes and looked over the massive selection of mouthwash that was neatly arranged on the shelves, plastic soldiers of oral sanitizer, cake hole cleaner. “I suppose it depends on your personal needs,” Rose said. “Are you looking for something that simply freshens the breath… Or are you interested in dental hygiene? You know, the never-ending battle against tartar and plaque and gingivitis.”

Liquid Pablo Pablum put his pointer finger to his chin and went “Hmmm… What I really want is something for kissing. I want to cram my tongue into a woman’s mouth without the fear of being gross.”

Rose took a step back, cleared her throat, touched her hair. “Oh,” she stammered. “Then perhaps what you need is Close-Up.” She reached down and grabbed a plastic bottle of liquid lava mouthwash and showed it to him. “Look right there on the label. There’s a picture of a couple about to kiss.”

Liquid Pablo Pablum quickly snatched it out of her hand. He greedily looked it over. “Damn. That looks hot. Perfect to me.” He suddenly tore off the protective plastic around the cap, opened the bottle and took a big swig.

“But, sir,” Rose began. “You can’t do that in the store. You must pay for it first.”

Liquid Pablo Pablum paid her no attention as he swished. He then spit the liquid out onto the floor and leaned into Rose the CVS clerk’s face and kissed her right on the mouth. Once their lips parted, Liquid Pablo Pablum gleamed and said, “Well, what do you think? Does it work as well as they portray it does?”

Rose nearly lost her balance. She had to straighten the glasses on her face. She looked at him intently for a moment, and then she rushed off toward the back of the store. There may have been crying.

Liquid Pablo Pablum sat in his car listening to alternative rock music from the late 90s. It was currently something by the band LIVE. Something about dolphins crying. He watched the doorway of the CVS store for signs of Rose. He had already been there for two hours. “Shit,” he said aloud. “Does this lady ever get a break?”

Then it dawned on him that being an employee, she might park her car at the back of the store and therefore could exit the building from its rear. He started his engine and crawled the car around to the back of the CVS. Lo and behold, there was Rose standing outside near the loading dock smoking a cigarette and slurping on a can of soda pop. Her eyes widened when she saw him. Liquid Pablo Pablum rolled down the driver-side window. “Hey there,” he called out to her. “What time do you get off?”

Rose exhaled. She was afraid to approach the car, but she did it anyway. “Is there something else I can help you with, sir?”

Liquid Pablo Pablum smiled his best smile. “I wanted to know what time you get off work.”

“Why?” She turned her head to the side, exhaled her last puff and tossed the cigarette.

“I thought you might want to do some more kissing. I really enjoyed it. Did you enjoy it?”

“I think maybe you should just go home,” Rose suggested. “I don’t want to have to call the police.”

“Police? Jesus, Rose. I just want to make out with you.”

“I don’t even know you. And what we did inside… That was just wrong. I could get fired.”

Liquid Pablo Pablum reached over into the passenger seat and lifted the bottle of Close-Up mouthwash and showed it to her. “I’ve got plenty. We can share it.”

“Oh please, sir. This is becoming absurd.” Rose started to walk away.

“Wait. Don’t you want to swish some of this delicious cinnamon-flavored mouthwash after your cigarette?”

Rose stopped and turned to look back at him. He wasn’t bad, she thought. He was maybe about 20 years younger, dark hair, a warm Latino sheen, soft eyes the color of newly born mud after a warm rain in the desert. Her heart skipped a beat and her insides felt like golden-yellow butter melted by a microwave. She approached the car and held out her arm. Liquid Pablo Pablum placed the bottle in her hand. She uncapped it, took a shot, and swished furiously. She spit the red liquid onto the ground. She looked at him, waiting for a prompt.

“Come here,” he said softly. She moved closer. He reached out his hand to touch the side of her face. “Give me some sugar,” he said. She pressed her face to his and their lips tangled for several seconds. There was an audible smack when they pulled away from each other.   

He grinned.

She smiled. She blushed. She fidgeted. “I should really get back to work,” Rose said.

“Okay,” Liquid Pablo Pablum said. “Do you want to get together later? Maybe share some more mouthwash?”

Rose smiled. She couldn’t help it. “How? Where?”

“I’ll pick you up when you’re done with your shift. We’ll go have some fun.”

“I’m off at 6,” she said.

“I’ll be here at 5:59 then,” Liquid Pablo Pablum said with a charming smile. He backed the car away from her and drove off.


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