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Not A Stalker
by AJ Pierz

Ben circled her block for the third time and decided to park on the east side of her building, right between a brand new Mercedes SUV and a long black shiny limo. That was the nice thing about riding a bike – you could park it practically anywhere. He nodded hello to the limo driver to make it seem like he came here all the time.

Why didn’t he just ask for her phone number at the bar? Because he had about as much grace as a bodybuilder doing needlepoint, that’s why. The only thing he really knew about her is that she left for work at precisely 7:30am every day, and she lived in the brownstone across the street from a bench where a homeless man in a pink raincoat ate graham crackers every day. Do you know how hard it was to find that guy in New York City?

In any case, he’d found him. Trying to be nice, he’d picked up some graham crackers on his way to her house and stopped by the bench to offer them to the homeless man. The pink-coated man snatched the cracker package out of Ben’s hand and chucked them at a newspaper dispenser while releasing the loudest battle cry in the history of humanity. So much for that idea.

Ben checked his watch – only three minutes until she’d be coming this way. He Froggered across the street to the front of her building and casually walked down the block in front of her door. Too soon. She wasn’t out yet. He turned around at the end of the block and walked back the other way while trying to look casual. After 7 more laps, it was finally time!

She looked beautiful as she stepped out of her front door and locked it behind her. Ugh, she was taking way too long fumbling at the door! His pace was all wrong. He'd be 10 yards past her by the time she turned around. He jerked to a stop and knelt down to tie his loafers - his loafers with no shoelaces. The old lady walking behind him crashed into the back of him and knocked him forward onto his hands and knees. "Watch it, Doofus!" She shook her fist at him. Oh god. Hopefully Amy didn't hear that.

He looked up right as she was in front of him on the sidewalk. "Oh, fancy meeting you here!" What was he, the Monopoly guy? Who says that?

“Oh, hi Ben. What are you doing here?”

“I was just in the neighborhood, going for a quick jog, you know how it is.” He tried to channel Fonzie from Happy Days as he stood up and dusted off his hands and knees.

She looked him up and down and her eyes lingered on his dress shoes, then lingered on his leather jacket. She wasn’t buying it. ABORT! ABORT!

"I would have given you my phone number, you know…saved you some trouble." She winked.