Skinned Deep



by Scott Lininger

I was on a bicycle excursion near the little Colorado town of Silver Plume. It had been a long summer spent in corporate hell for me, working too much and moving too little, and I was on a mission to get some kind of exercise in before the warm days of fall were done. I have always felt self-conscious in those tight bicycle shorts with the crotch padding, and those gaudy Lance Armstrong leotards were right out of the question for a guy like me. No, I'd settled on a pair of baggy shorts, plastic shades, dusty helmet, and an "I ♥ Linux" t-shirt schwagged from a recent tradeshow. As I got onto my bicycle and pedaled to the end of the parking lot, I suddenly wished I was wearing something more flattering.

There, straddling a state-of-the-art mountain bike, was a ponytailed blonde in sports bra and black spandex... and lord what spectacular terrain they covered. She was a golden goddess, the kind of girl that you were compelled to stare at, open mouthed, no matter how cro-magnon it made you feel. As I rode past, she studied me in what seemed a purely dismissive fashion, then to my surprise she spoke cheerfully.

"Morning. You Paul?"

I wasn't. I wished I was. I pedaled myself to an awkward stop. "Ah, no," I said, then thought of the most insightful question I could. "You meeting somebody?" Ugh.

"Only kinda," she said. Her jade-green eyes were full of laughter, clearly a joke I didn't get. "I met this guy, Paul, at a party last night, and we agreed to meet up here at 9:00."

#

It was almost 9:30. For having been stood up, this woman was remarkably buoyant. But I was way more incredulous that anyone would miss an opportunity to spend time with somebody who looked like that. Embarrassed for her, I said the first polite thing that came to my brain. "That sucks. I'm just starting my ride if you want somebody to go with..."





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