All The Pretty Girls

The watcher sits down on the park bench that overlooks Main Street. It’s a nice day to be out, eighty-five degrees or so. He’s brought his camera today, the one with the long black lens. It sits on his lap, ready for action. It’s a nice day, after all. People go outside when the weather is nice. They dress for summer then. The watcher loves when that happens.

All the pretty girls, they would be out too. This is why the watcher is here today. When the weather is nice, that is when the pretty girls look especially pretty. He hates the junk that most of them wear in the winter, when it’s cold. In the winter, most of them look like his grandmother, with her mothball sweaters. Or his ex-wife, with the grey sweatpants she wears now because she’s fat after having their kid and is too lazy to lose the weight. So ugly all of girls looked then, in the winter. In the winter, there was an occasional pretty girl showing off her nice legs. It did happen, now and again. But it was usually too cold for him to wait around looking.

It’s good that winter is over, because he can sit here on the park bench and not have everyone stare at the weirdo as much. When it is warm out, people sat on park benches, enjoying the weather. When it is warm out, people take pictures of the quaint beauty of nature. When it is warm out, the pretty girls showed skin. He likes it best when it was warm out. Like today.

The camera came with a strap, so that people like him could wear it around his neck. He likes this feature. It makes him feel like he is good at what he does. He feels professional this way. For awhile, he was taking pictures with his phone. You’d think he’d come off more stealth with the phone. But when he snapped images with the phone, that was when he got more dirty looks. He had to be awfully close to the subject to get a decent picture with the phone. People assumed he was up to no good back then. After all, only creeps went around taking pictures with their phones.

So, he had shelled out money for this photographic contraption with its bells and whistles, f-stops, shutter speeds, and other trivia that went along with the ranks of Real Photographers. He didn’t know what all that stuff was about, but luckily the camera worked well in its everything automatic mode. The watcher’s investment in this camera was well worth it. Funny how less people looked at him with this camera than when he was sitting with the phone. With the camera, he could hide in plain sight. No one seemed to care if a person sat on a bench with a professional looking camera. It was a terrific strategy, and he wondered why he hadn’t thought of it sooner.

So now he sits on the park bench, waiting for his subjects to arrive. His blood stirs within him. Everyone needs an adrenaline rush. Everyone is entitled to his secret fascinations. He heard on some expert on a TV show say that these were healthy things. What he was doing now was his adrenaline rush. And even an expert said that he was entitled to secret fascinations. That was why he is here today, for just that reason. He was doing good things for himself, being here.

The watcher has good luck, almost immediately. There is a blonde girl with a black short sleeve shirt that doesn’t quite reach her waist, so he can see a sliver of skin that circling her waist and around her back. Her legs are bare, which is always good. But they are pale, and short compared to the rest of her body. Too bad, he thinks. This is a bit of a flaw. But she is thin, and her hair is perfectly in place. Because of that, she seems to him to be the kind of girl worried about appearances, wanting to look good. So to him this means, she wants him to stare at the naked flesh she’s showing. She’s in public, right?

He zooms the lens on her, and captures the target. She looks at him, just as he hides the camera under his arm. It was always wild when people looked at him after he shot them. It was a shock, like a burst of energy. He felt it now, like he did every time. She looked away. When this happened, this was usually when the shock melted out, like a gentle orgasm flowing through him. The watcher waits in anticipation for it to happen today.

But strangely enough, the happy flow isn’t streaming today. His heart thumps in high gear, pumping blood quickly through him. He can’t figure it out, because the girl has already walked away. The part of her leaving was okay, because she never had to be gone for good, unless he decided to delete her image. She hadn’t even seen him take the picture. But it is strange that the shock isn’t getting less. Maybe it was the heat, the watcher decides. He ignores the feeling, and continues searching for prey to shoot.

For the next few minutes, good luck visits him. First there is a black girl, about eighteen or so. She has a pink halter top, and a blue denim skirt that went to her mid-thighs. She wears one of those weaves that makes it look like she has naturally wavy hair, and big silver hoop earrings. He sees a lot of jell-O on her legs, but not so much that she is obese. She would probably be considered bodacious by many, a word he’s heard from time to time. He would just call her hot. He never had a black chick, or any other chick other than white. But the camera will change that with one click. Now she is his, though she never looks at him once. Still, his heart can’t stop thumping. He can’t figure out why. Well, so what. There were plenty of girls out now. Just keep watching, was his motto.

Next comes a redhead, and another blonde chick. Both of them wear jeans, the kind that were so tight that they looked like they were painted on. At the same time, he sees a couple of chicks walk by wearing mini-shorts and high heels. Lots of leg, lots of skin. This was going good, really good. Snap, snap, now they were his. This camera was something else with its “live view” thing. He could get up close and personal, and the chicks wouldn’t even know it. They do look in his direction after he hides the camera, giving him a dirty look. But screw them. City chicks, probably. They’re always prejudiced against guys like him. Screw them. He has their images, so they could give him dirty looks all day. He knows who has the situation under control. Him. He does. Despite this reassurance, he still can’t quite get over the shock feeling. It’s making him nervous.

All this time, he’d been scanning the immediate view across the street in front of him. After all, he doesn’t want to make what he’s doing seem too obvious, and if he looks around too much, that may look suspicious, call too much attention to him. But something compels him to look to the right of him. There is a restaurant there, some Italian place, the kind with an open terrace. Seeing that it’s hot out, there are people dining there, as they did in this kind of weather. That was good. Maybe there was someone there that he could add to his portfolio. His heart beat faster as he looked at the restaurant. Something about the place was really calling to him. There were some things that were just meant to be, like fate. This gets him really excited. Time to scope this one out now.

He notices a chick sitting there, eating lunch at the table alone. She’s in her mid thirties or so. And she’s platinum blond, which is always a plus, and not too fat either. That was unusual for chicks that age, because most of them were pudgy from shooting out too many babies, like his ex-wife. Not this one. This one seems to know her place in the scheme of things. She’s hot the way some older chicks were, like Heather Locklear. This girl was wearing a sleeveless purple sundress. She has a chest, which is always good. Hey, the bigger, the better. Unfortunately, the dress itself is not the kind that shows a lot of cleavage, but the girl herself leans forward, as though she’s beckoning for a lover to join her. Double hot. I’ll come if no one else does, babe, he thinks. She is a tease with a hot body, nice. She’s pretending that she doesn’t notice him, oh so nice to see some girl play hard to get. He readies the camera and zooms in.

This girl must be what the watcher was sensing before, why he got that strange feeling that won’t go away. In that childhood game which he forgot the object of right now, they would say when you got close to home you were boiling hot. Now, you could say he has gone from warmer, warmer, warmer to absolutely boiling hot. He has located the source of his internal disturbance, he is certain. Get ready to get caught, my dear, he thinks as he aims the lens to see what he can catch of her under the table.

There’s something wrong, though. He had expected to see the girl throwing sly glances. But shit! She isn’t alone. Shit. He should have known better. A chick dressed like that would definitely not be without a man, and this one was no different. Her movement away from the table revealed that her sexy movements and dress were not for the watcher, not in the least. She’s at the table with some guy, who is now looking directly at him. He’d been so busy keying in on the chick with the new zoom lens that he totally missed the guy with her. The watcher is now in sheer panic. His adrenaline pumps hard, like his heart is beating throughout his body. Whoever this is, he was the source of the watcher’s troubles, not the girl. The watcher is sure of this fact now. Things were going bad for the watcher, fast.

The guy sitting with the chick was a big guy, a lot stronger than the watcher, which wasn’t a good thing. But what disturbed him the most was a small black bag on the table, that the big guy had his hand on. The watcher has seen that kind of black bag. It was just the kind used for the watcher’s type of camera. The watcher has no idea how long the big guy has been there with the camera. He remembers about the strange feeling he couldn’t shake. The thumping inside him freezes instantly. The watcher suddenly has a disturbing thought. What if the big guy had been sitting there, taking pictures of him sitting here? Had the watcher been tricked at his own game?

The big guy keeps his hand on the black bag. His eyes were hidden behind sunglasses. Is the guy looking at me or the woman, wondered the watcher. The watcher tries to resume taking pictures. Just keep going, that’s his motto. But no matter what he says to himself to mentally fend off the big guy, he can’t get him out of his mind. The watcher glances at the table. The big guy is still there. The watcher wonders, is he still watching me?

All the pretty girls are walking right past him. All the short-shorts, all the skin, all the beautiful bodies. They are all there. But all he can think of is the big guy with the sunglasses, his hand on the camera like a cop ready to reach for his gun, still watching him. The big guy ruined everything for the watcher. The day is no longer a nice one. The watcher leaves his post on the bench, feeling those hidden eyes stabbing through him. He feels violated. He’s being watched. People always know when they were being watched. The watcher is just like other people, because he knows the violation of being watched, too.

All the pretty girls walk by, but the park bench is now empty. It is still eighty-five degrees out. A nice day to get out and enjoy the view. It’s always nice to get out when things are like that. It’s always nice to see what people are doing.

5 Responses to “All The Pretty Girls”

  1. Interesting story. I read an article recently on a new law passed by some states in which only people with children may use their parks. This would be hard to enforce in my hometown of Chicago where the main park borders Lake Michigan. I am guessing that your protagonist is in his early/mid fifties, lacking confidence and looking for the ultimate adrenalin rush. His insecurity dissolves away when he looks through the lens of his camera. I wonder who is watching him.

  2. Mike Maynard says:

    Interesting story. I have been taking photographs for two hours today and a child asked me to photograph them so I took a couple of pictures. My friend said I shouldn’t have! I rarely take pictures of people but occasionally I do that if they are funny. Some are dressed ridiculously and so I take a shot with full zoom for my own amusement. You could have made the story funnier and I think the word craft could be better; I thought the use of a semi colon in places would have been appropriate! I’m English, I’m allowed semi colons!

  3. Joe Tosti says:

    Story-line is interesting, but you should use a copy editor or at least a proof -reader. Verb tense changes are annoying as are some of the repeated phrases (I realize that some are for effect, but there is at least one that is totally out of place). These things distract the sophisticated reader and make the experience less enjoyable.