Full-lipped boys with dark rimmed glasses are her weakness. Every time we see her she is with one, or staring at one, or following one, sometimes writing letters to one. If you pay attention, the way she does, you encounter them everywhere, every time you board a bus, explore the produce aisle of the grocery store, stand in line at the bank. I understand their appeal; they touch me too. Something deep and vulnerable about them, always so serious, always with a book of poetry in a back pocket or opened against a knee as they sit on a bench in the green space along the river bank. A certain offhandedness about their appearance, hair longish from preoccupation with other things, those full lips mouthing the words of the poem as they read. And there she will be, sitting primly nearby, ankles crossed and hands folded in her lap, only her fingers moving, tapping to the meter of the poem she can translate from the motion of those lips.

She will come to a bad end, they say. She shouldn’t follow those boys. She should find another interest, take up something healthy like tennis. Or bowling, something indoors with the jukebox playing. You don’t find those boys in bowling alleys. They populate libraries and coffee bars and grassy swales, the escarpments of rocky hillsides. She’s much better off in a bowling alley where men are men, lots of beer and smelly shoes, men she will be able to resist. We want for her to put this obsession behind her, find a football player who has leadership qualities, a quarterback who will lead his car dealership to success in the marketplace. What future is there for her with a poet, a dreamer, a serious soul craving purpose and meaning, one who might wander off on a quest when she isn’t paying attention?

Those boys are dangerous, you can tell by their lips. Their eyes are deep and their lashes are thick behind those dark-rimmed glasses. And if they should raise their gaze, there on the park bench, and see her watching, they will startle awake to her presence, cheeks mottled with a rosy flush, stammer something that makes them feel foolish, makes them start to get up to leave but perhaps turn back to stare, nonplussed at her gaze. Whether they stay or go, she will be patient, because she believes it is destiny to find the one meant for her.

Harley Crowley lives in Escondido, California, where the sun shines the way she likes it. She writes for enjoyment, and most often in the flash fiction form, although she recently published her first novel, "Clean Slate," through Smashwords. She's had stories and prose poems on line at several journals. Occasionally she blogs at

This story flowed from a prompt in my writing group. It was my own prompt, in fact, and it's now the title. There was just something romantic and submerged-erotic about the phrase and it put me in a mood. As soon as I imagined those boys, that besotted girl showed up.




Copyright 2009