Crystal was around 14 when she first noticed men giving her what she called “the look”. Before she reached 16, she fully understood that the look was one of sexual desire. By 32, it was a simple fact of life.
While giving her order at the deli counter in the Shoprite, the guy in the apron and paper hat would glaze over, no longer hearing her. He was stripping her naked and doing freaky things to her in his deli-guy mind. Crystal would smile at him, lean over the counter a little, and end up with a pound of imported soprasetta for the price of baloney.
One man hadn’t given her the look in years. They say marriage does that. She didn’t know whether it was the years or the fact that Mr. Light had doubled in size since their wedding. Everyone, including Crystal, called him Mr. Light, out of respect and fear.
She’d gone to see a private eye to help her discover if Mister was off his diet, but wasn’t in his office two minutes when the guy started giving her the look. She re-crossed her legs and tried to ice him back to reality. She hoped he’d returned from his porno mind-vacation as she handed him the cash. Now the detective wouldn’t even return her calls.
Crystal changed her strategy and tried to get a young guy named Nicky from the pool to hang out with Mr. Light. Maybe a guy who could see his own feet without mirrors would snap her husband out of the habit of stuffing his face. She was talking with him to see if he’d pal around with Mr. Light when Nicky got the look. She knew his brain was busy pulling off her bathing suit, touching her in places which the sun hadn’t browned. He wasn’t listening anymore. How many guys today? She broke it down as simply as she could for him.
“Could you just take him out?” she finally asked.
Nicky looked stunned. She thought she’d gotten through. Satisfied she’d made her point, Crystal got up from the chaise lounge and walked to the snack bar to find Mister. She could feel Nicky’s eyes on her. She swayed her caboose a little to thank him for finally paying attention.
Mr. Light had just finished talking to that creepy pool manager with the missing thumb. The amputee looked a little pale as he shuffled past Crystal like a zombie. She gave silent thanks to the patron saint of pervs, as the troll didn’t try to sneak a glimpse down the front of her bathing suit like he usually did. Mister was giving her a look, but not the look the other men did. Not a good one.
That all was two weeks ago and nothing had changed, except her bruises fading slowly toward yellow.
She went down the driveway to pick up the newspaper, and saw a gun under the bushes. She wondered if it was time to find a safer home as she picked it up and quickly wrapped it in the Inquirer. She glanced around the still street before heading inside.
Mr. Light was asleep, making those choking sounds like he did. A smile crept across Crystal’s full lips at the thought of him choking. As she glanced down at the bruises on her arm, her eyes traveled further to the newspaper with the pistol inside. She touched the cool metal, wondering if the police could miss her bruises. She thought about a horny cop giving her the look and what he might do to help her get away with something.