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Little John and Tall Sue She was, still is, and always will be sixteen. That s how I will always remember her. I was twelve and hopelessly in love. She called me Little John. That was her joke. Little John was also a character in Robin Hood, but he was quite big. I was, still am, and will be till the day I die, small. The doctor said that my height was determined by genetics. Mom said it was because I started smoking. My Rabbi said that it was G-d s will. Nobody admitted my height resulted from Mom s drinking. Well, she was sixteen and I was hopelessly in love. I asked her why she smoked and she said, because I m Tall Sue. That was her answer for most questions of why she did certain things and she didn t have a reason. So, I started smoking Pall Malls right along with her, and that was that. I remember clearly the last time I saw her. Her mom had just let her get her driver’s license. She pulled in the driveway while I was drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. I recognized the car as her mom s beat up Buick Century. She was so proud of that automobile. It was an okay car. She then asked me if I wanted to go and get ripped. I thought she was using one of her words that meant driving; well, she didn t. Anyway, I jumped at the chance. I thought this was the opportunity that for months I have been waiting for. In seconds I planned out the entire evening and it ended up with us parking out on lover’s lane. I watched too many movies. I didn t even know where Lovers Lane was, but I knew it must have been on the outskirts of town on a mountain or something. I lived in Iowa and there aren t mountains. There was also no Lovers Lane and ripped didn t mean driving. So, Sue, after driving for a while in silence, gave me a bottle with the name Jack Daniels on it. She had a larger bottle of the same name and took a big swig. I did the same but I started coughing a lot and my eyes filled with tears.

Pretty good…Eh Johnny? That was the first and last time she called me Johnny. It made me feel older, so did Mr. Daniels. The shock and the coughing made it hard to talk so I just nodded my head, smiled, and took a small complimentary sip. I managed to hold back a cough, but my eyes still teared. She laughed and rubbed my head. I noticed a tear in her eye, too. I remember that like it was yesterday. Keep in mind that this will be the last time I see her again. Well, I was dizzy and Sue told me if I wanted to drink I had to learn to smoke cigarettes. And, as I said before, she gave me my first Pall Mall. I coughed more from the fag, as she called them, then from the booze. It was 7:30 and I needed to go home for dinner. I wasn t hungry. I didn t care. I felt good. But then, Sue told me it was time to go. I knew not to argue. We drove to my house and when we got there I made my move. I leaned over to give her a kiss like I saw Cindy and Nathan do it on Love Boat, not like those kisses mom gives me before bed. She kissed me back, but not like the way they did it on Love Boat. She put her tongue in my mouth. Those three seconds or three years ended with a slap in the face, mine. She yelled at me and said, Get out, Little John! I got out. She sped off. I never saw her again. From what I heard she spent the rest of the night with her liquor and her car, and later a policeman. So that was that, the end of her license and from what I heard, she was put away. I don t know where. I think it s like when you throw something away, no one know where it goes.


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