This is Wonderland

Chapter 31

Tuesday 11:30 a.m.

“What do you mean you and Myday didn’t make out at all?” Kaleb yells over the roar of my dryer as I
finish blowing out a client named Jan. “That’s like first date criteria.”

“I know, but we didn’t and it was the weirdest thing.”

“Did you even try?”

“Of course I tried. We were standing in the parking lot and I was leaning into her with my hands on her
hips and a smile on my face. You know, the universal sign for ‘let’s stick our tongues in each other’s

“And nothing?”

“Nope. She just looked at me and then gave me a hug and said ‘Okay, by-eee.’ Then got in her truck and

“She drives a truck?”


“Why doesn’t this surprise me? What kind of truck?”

“The pick-up kind.”

“What brand?”

“I don’t know. All l know is that it’s red and has a name.”

“Like, she named her truck the way you name a kid or a pet?”

“Yes, and his name is-“

“It’s a he?”

“Apparently so because his name is Vladimir.”

“Vladimir? They don’t make trucks in Russia, why would she name him that?”

“Fuck if I know, nothing about this girl makes sense.”

“I’m beginning to see that.” Kaleb says as he twists the ends of his molestache. “Are you sure she knew
you were trying to make-out with her?”

“How could she not? Anyone else would’ve gotten the hint, the memo, the vibe and acted accordingly.”

“Yeah but clearly she’s not just anyone else. She drives a truck named Vladimir for God’s sake. But-“

“But what?”

“Maybe she doesn’t think you like her in that way, maybe she didn’t even know it was a date date.

“Why would she think that? I don’t take out girls for burgers and beers just for the fuck of it.”

“Now if that doesn’t scream romance I don’t know what does.” Jan chimes in with sarcasm.

“I’ve gotta agree with Jan on this one. Plus, it took you like three weeks to call her after you got her

“THREE WEEKS?” Jan screams.

“Yeah, so?”

“Waiting that long probably made her think you weren’t interested in being anything other than

“Again, Jan for the win.” Kaleb says as I turn off my dryer and run my fingers through Jan’s hair.

“Here’s the thing, every other girl I’ve dated, hooked-up with, whatever, there was a mutual attraction
and we both knew it and acted on it. But with Myday it’s like she’s running on a different operating
system and it confuses the shit outta me.”

“Oh blame the girl.” Jan says as I take her cape off and she inspects her new do in the mirror.

“I’m not blaming her, I’m just saying that-“

“Hey Kaleb, sorry to bother you but can you sign off on my task sheet for the haircut I just did?” says
Justine, a fellow Future Professional with curvy hips, terrific boobs and long, mahogany hair.

“If you’re sorry for bothering me then why are you doing it?” Kaleb asks in a voice full of snoot, snot and

“You don’t have to be a horse’s ass about it.” she snarls back, shoving her pen and paper in his face.

“But I’m thoroughly bred that way. Get it?”

“Get what?”

“That’s a hard no.” he sighs as he scribbles his initials on her paper.

“How was your weekend, Justine?” I ask in an attempt to diffuse the tension between the two.

“You always ask me that at the beginning of each week.” she says as Kaleb hands her back her pen and
paper with a look of disdain.

“I do?”

“Yeah. And I’m wondering if that’s because you’d like to take me out sometime. Would you like to do

Both Kaleb and Jan look at me as a seductive smile stretches across Justine’s starlet face.


“Good.” she says, writing her number down on the corner of her paper, tearing it off and shoving it into
the front pocket of my pants. “Text me tonight.” she purrs and then saunters off.

“What the fuck was THAT all about.” Kaleb asks with a strange look of concern on his face.

“It would appear that Justine just asked me to ask her out, which I did, and to be honest, I did not see
any of that coming.”

“Boy…” Jan says, picking up her purse. “You’re about to screw yourself in so many ways and none of
them are of the sexual nature.”

“For real, dude. You don’t wanna mess with Justine, she’s all drama.”

“C’mon, she can’t be that bad.” I counter.

“No? How about that shit she started with Shawna that day I was teaching specialty class?”

“When she said it figured that Shawna lived in Watts?”

“Yeah. That’s not something a tiny white girl says to a 200 pound black girl with prison tattoos. Shawna’s
friends had to step in to keep her from shanking Justine with her sheers.”

“That whole thing was a misunderstanding about residential statistics in urban areas.”

“Residential statistics in urban- did you just pull that out of your ass?”


“It’s amazing the things a man can say when the head between his legs is doing all the thinking.” Jan

“Preach.” Kaleb says to Jan as he holds one of his color stained hands up in the air. “And speaking of
dickheads, do you remember that guy Vin who used to go here?”

“Squirrely gutter-punk dude that was always name dropping?”

“Yeah. He dated Justine and after they broke up she went around telling everyone he was a closet-cased
homo who had a fetish for watching gay porn with old men in it.”

“You know, it was common knowledge Vin was sending dick pics to every gay guy here at school
because they were either telling me or showing me. And is there really such a thing as senior-men gay

“Now how the fuck would I know? The thing is nothing good will come of you getting involved with
Justine. She’s unpredictable, reckless and vindictive.”

“All traits that most of the women I’ve been with have in common, soooo?”

“Soooooo she’s also 19.”

“Really? She looks so…mature.”

“Don’t mistake tits and ass for sophistication and sagacity.” Jan interjects.

“Exactamundo.” Kaleb adds. “Not to mention, all the time I’ve spent working with 18 and 19yr old girls I
can honestly say that they’re all basket cases and you wanna know what’s inside Justine’s basket?”

“Oh I give up, what?”

“A fucking cobra that’s gonna sink it’s fangs into you. Plus, what about Myday?”

“Yeah, what about Myday?” Jan asks. “How old is she?”


“That’s the safer bet.” Jan says as her and Kaleb both nod their heads.

“Yeah but I don’t even know if she likes me and it’s obvious that Justine does. Besides, can’t I go on
dates with more than one person?”

“You can, it’s just not smart to date people within the same ecosystem, especially as small as the one
here at school. It’s even less smart to be doing that with someone like Justine who’s more toxic than
Chernobyl 1986.”

“Kaleb, it’s not like I’m gonna end up sleeping with the both of them and then Justine finds out and goes
DEFCON 1 on me.”

“And why don’t you think that could happen?” he asks.

“Because shit like that doesn’t happen to me in the real world ok? Girls only seem to like me one at a
time, not multiple girls at once. So I’m certain that I’m safe from any sort of radioactive fallout,

“Listen, I know from experience that you’re a slow learner and can be super dense…”

“I don’t even know you and can tell you’re those things.” Jan says with a wink.

“You’re both just a never-ending stream of feel-good aren’t you?”

“Anyway, you may not have realized this yet but since the day you started here, you, just like Alice, fell
down a rabbit-hole and ended up in Wonderland.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Things are different in here than they are out there…” Kaleb says, pointing towards Ventura Boulevard.

“Out there women are pursued by men but in here it’s the other way around. This is because straight
men are scarce and scarcity creates value which makes it easy for you to hook up with a bunch of
women, get caught in a spider web of those hook-ups and then get eaten alive. I’ve seen it happen
before and it’s not a pretty sight.”

Kaleb’s words remind of something Rene had said to me the day I enrolled but I couldn’t for the life of
me remember what it was.

“Why do you look constipated?” Kaleb asks.

“Because I’m trying to remember something Rene told me.”

“What’s that? That she’s hungry? Allergic to soap? Wrestles rhinos?”

“No, I remember it being something like a warning and it had to do with ummmm…a unicorn?”

“Now all I can see is a unicorn with a naked Rene on top of it. Thanks, I’m gonna be sick.”

“That’s it!” I yell. “She told me that there’s not many straight guys here which makes me a unicorn and
that every girl at school is gonna wanna ride my sparkly dick to freedom.”

Kaleb and Jan look at me with total bewilderment.

“What? I didn’t say it was sparkly, Rene did.”

“Who’s Rene?”

“You’re better off not knowing.” Kaleb tells Jan. “Listen, I never agree with Rene but on this subject I do.
And like I said, this is Wonderland and Justine…well, she’s the Queen of Hearts around here and if you
fuck her over or she thinks you did then it’s-“

“Off with his head!” Jan yells with glee as she brings her arm down on the back of my neck like it’s an

“No that didn’t hurt at all.” I tell Jan while I rub my injured neck.

“Sorry, I get excited about impending tragedies that don’t involve me. What was your name again,


“Ok. When I pay am I able to book with you in another six weeks?”

“Absolutely!” I say, stoked that this is the first time a client has ever asked to see me again. “Do you like
your cut?”

“Sure. But what I’m really gonna like to see are all the 3rd degree burns you get from playing with fire.”
she says, handing me a five dollar tip and then walking to the front desk.

“Stuke, as much as I think drama is the greatest spectator sport on Earth I’d hate to see you as a player
in that game with Justine because when it ends it will end badly.”

“What could she possibly do that hasn’t been done to me already?”

“Who knows? That’s what makes her dangerous. Take Myday out again, kiss her and make things
happen in that category.”

“Are you all the sudden Team Myday now?”

“Well, other than the fact that she’s a fucking weirdo.” He says, looking two rows over where Myday is
pretending to ice skate around her station while a Learning Leader checks a cut she did. “She seems
pretty chill. Justine on the other hand is zero chill and all kill which is why-“

“Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine! You’ve proven your point, I won’t fuck with Justine, ok?”

“Promise me.”

“Seriously, dude?”


“Alright I promise.”

Tuesday 8:47 p.m.

I’m so glad you texted me Stuke. Are you free to get together tonight?

It would appear that I’m horrible at keeping promises, especially those that are meant to keep me out of harm’s way.

2 thoughts on “This is Wonderland

  1. And just like that -snap- we are reminded that a cleverly crafted cliffhanger is what we’ve come to crave. Life teaches us anything worth enjoying is worth waiting for🙏

    Nice to see you back on our devices… don’t keep us waiting so long for the next round😉


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