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Every few months Gullet says he's going to go butch and he tries rolling his cigarettes up in his shirtsleeve but it only last a few minutes before he laughs and says he's just not that macho, it feels like carrying around a jackhammer. The cigarettes go back in the front pocket of his babyblue shirt with the little horsies.

I snag a smoke out of his pocket because he's tired of me asking all the time, just go ahead sweetie. We go out on Jim's back porch. Gullet is there to smoke and I am there to smoke and talk to this strange new girl. Her name is Stephanie and I'm not sure about her yet, can't make up my mind.

She keeps mentioning this philosophical construct which she refuses to define or explain. It kind of does sound interesting despite my tendency to hate things like that. She's just come back from the Netherlands and wants to tell me about the grocery stores and weighing fruit which I think is going to be a boring story but it isn't.

She's not pretty but I have to keep looking at her. Her front teeth are kind of big but she also has freckles. There's nothing wrong with her ears but I find it hard to divorce them from her supremely dumb boy's haircut.

She's wearing a dowdy lemon peterpan collar blouse (when's the last time I even thought the word "blouse,"   I think) and a brown grandpa sweater with an alligator. She shows me its last remaining button which is hanging like a loose tooth in its last days. She says she will not sew it tighter and it will drop off in its own time.

I am starting to get impatient with myself for not forming an opinion by now. It's been more than one cigarette and I don't know if I should spend more time on figuring her out or just smile and make up something and go back inside.

Then she starts talking about her Kelly, deliciously gender-neutral for about four seconds until she mentions his big strong boyfriend shoulders. I have a little flash of unexpected anger because maybe I want to be her boyfriend.

Out of nowhere the word fag is in her vocabulary and she uses it in a tone that lets us know she is not a person who is allowed to use that word. Gullet and I are doing the worried silent eye flash thing at each other and then she seals it, she uses the word abomination and we are out of there.

Gullet's not upset, says it's just another one on his list of people to avoid. I am disappointed in her of course. Was she trying to sabotage the conversation on purpose? Could she not see Gullet's horsies? Disappointed in myself for still being a little bit attracted to her anyway. I feel like a fool but I know nothing's really lost, I was really only out there to smoke a cigarette.

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