When Donnie first came to Book Club last month, we all thought him strange. We talked Jane Eyre while he talked Jane Who Could Pull a Rabbit Out of Her Underwear. He said it was a real book—no one bothered to look it up.
"Donnie Hammerhead," he had said, with a wink in my direction, as his bottle cap earring caught the fluorescent light. "But you can always call me Hammerhead Donnie if you get tired of it."
And after we had all put fresh dust on the book jackets to make them look unread, and laid them on the cobweb heaps, we looked at Donnie, waiting. Our lips moved. Hammerhead, they said. Hammerhead. He mouthed back, Headhammer. And danced.
No one was quite sure when the dancing stopped. It seemed to go on all night. And all day. And all night. And all...
But one thing we do know is that at first all of us sat still, ice-pupils rolling to his movements, fingers twitching to make skirts a half inch longer and collars a half inch tighter. But that was at first. At second, we loosened. The ropes unraveled. We found ourselves letting the air contort our bodies in shapes unimaginable and throwing fingers above our pompous noses.
Hammerhead Donnie's voice sang, "All the world's a raccoon and the men and women merely.."
"Rabies!" I offered, shaking my hair into someone's face. Donnie put a moonlight-striped hand on my shoulder, and we left the group.
We ran to my apartment, just for the sake of possibly twisting an ankle. It didn't happen, but when we were inside I finally looked at his eyes. They were green on one side and gold on the other with two black sunspots that rotated toward wherever he happened to glance. Mostly that was at the painting on my wall of a three-eyed Cyclops. I didn't know such a thing exists until I painted it.
When I had sunk about five feet into my sofa, he leaned over and kissed my cheek. My skin tasted it in place of my tongue and the taste circulated my body. It was three-fourths cocoa, one-fourth carpet cleaner. The one-fourth felt the best against my cheekbone.
My eyelids stretched out and I could feel the tension strung and released, strung and released as my eyes dilated in time to the light-rhythms.
I tilted my head toward Donnie and he said one last thing.
"Donnie Hammerhead. Look me up sometime."
He sprouted feathers from his fingers, shed fur, twisted his chin into a candy cane, and evaporated into the painting on the wall. Some of his body particles tickled my nose before finally departing. There was a bottle cap earring left on the sofa seat. I forced it into my ear, though it wasn't pierced.
The next week at Book Club, we read a book that had been released the night before. It was entitled Jane Who Could Pull a Rabbit Out of Her Underwear.
Grace Lazarz is 15 years old and has been published twice in TeenAge, and she recently won an Honorable Mention in the 2008 IUPUI Poetry Contest.