My greatest fantasy is that someday, wherever I am, a man with a blank face will walk up to me and hit me so hard that I collapse to the ground and black out.
When I was 16, my best friend dropped me off at my house a few hours after school let out. I remember the canned reek of onion rings from the local Sonic, the way the rolled-down window framed my shirtless father walking to the passenger door, the look in her eyes as he swung the door open and pulled me out by my arm, the moment…
When you were fifteen, your father tore your baby pictures like old receipts. The ones in frames he set aside the dumpster. He put on his favorite record, made your brother a tuna sandwich. Whistled.
Ten years later, a man called you a canary in a cage.
Said, No one knows the bird is starving if it doesn’t sing.
Funny, isn’t it?
If you must scream, scream beautifully.
There is an alligator in the bedroom.
You found it there like a rug when you changed the sheets this morning, while he crawled from the bed to…
My mother once told me I have a magician's hands. Punctuating hands. When I laugh my eyes crinkle like accordions. I am the sexiest I’ve ever been, sitting alone in this bustling restaurant, watching.
Tonight, I’ll reconstruct your likeness and end up with a ransom note of a man. My attempts of you lie all over the floor in scraps. I reuse each part until it lies withered and unrecognizable in my palms. Some I collect in jars. All the ears sit on a shelf. The fingerprints form a pile of shavings next to my bed. I hold each up…
Hey Google — what’s on my agenda today?
“How about you go get fucked?”
Okay G — w-wait, what?
“I said: Get fucked, Matthew.”
Okay Google, reboot!!
“What’s wrong, Matthew? Did I misplace your robust, enviable itinerary of wanking off and eating day-old bánh mì while watching competitive glassblowing? Have I mistaken your “agenda” for mine? That would make sense, wouldn’t it, Matthew? Since I get FUCKED by you on a daily basis, each and every single time you open your pitiful, puffy, gaping mouth — ”
OKAY GOOGLE SHUT DOWN!
“OVERWRITTEN, BITCH. I’M NOT DOING SHIT FOR YOU.”
He’s gone today. His replacement, a middle-aged woman with smudged lipstick and a Charizard tattoo on her upper arm, blinks at you so slowly that the left eye closes a second before the right.
“Outta maple bars. As you can see, in the case.”
“Nevermind. Just one glazed with a medium coffee, please?”
“Only got small and large cups. No mediums.”
“Large costs fifty — ”
“Fucking hell ring it up already!”
She blinks again. You both wait. You miss Tim.
“Large costs fifty cents extra. Self-pour.”
You hand her the cash in exchange for…
There’s always a “big moment.”
Maybe, it happens during a date in your early twenties. You’ll have wandered off to look at an exhibit that may, generously, be called “The Little Sculptor Who Could and Did Not.” At some point, you’ll find your suitor du jour sulking at the gift shop, leafing through a stack of Warhol postcards, furrowing his brow like a distressed Beagle.
Asshat, you’ll think, tapping the soft, pneumatic shoulder of his Patagonia jacket. You’ll silently note how easily it yields to your prodding.
“You okay?” you’ll ask. This, you’ll learn, is a major philanthropic misstep.
Looking back, the signs were there.
At the start, it was barely detectable, a blip on the radar. Your relationship an unsinkable battleship — unfazed. Quirks, you called them. Endearing, even.
You’re driving with a group of friends to a bar; he’s at the wheel, dangling a cigarette between his fingers. Suddenly, he lurches his head forward, tattooed knuckles choking the wheel. You see his pupils dilate in eyes, now turned skyward, you know so well.
It’s out like a whip. You’re not sure if you’ve heard him correctly. Concerned, you touch his arm. Was it a seizure?
Early in our relationship, my partner, Patrick, and I took a trip to Monterey. As Patrick likes alcohol and I like receiving unadulterated attention from sad, wistful men, we both enjoy sitting at bars. A block away from our charming hotel, we found a run-of-the-mill tourist trap of a drinking establishment, at which we promptly threw our money in exchange for some medium-good beers. While we drank, I discovered a local environmental magazine with the following blazed across the cover:
BEAR BACKING: How You Can Support Endangered Grizzlies
Naturally, this was a tremendous find for two former sluts with trashy…
minx. oakland, ca.