Let me tell you, most guys who get punched in the face deserve it. I would say maybe eighty percent of them fully deserve what’s coming to them. Maybe the other ten percent could’ve used a good tongue lashing instead. This guy was one of those people I wished I could’ve taken out myself. Every second word out of his mouth was faggot and he’d uttered a variety of rotating racial slurs. He smelled like a decomposing liver.
Today I checked the lock on the pink BMX, and felt a wave of guilt for even contemplating stealing it. It was my day off. I had planned for the sweet, calming tedium of grocery shopping, perhaps a magazine read cover to cover while sipping a fourth cup of coffee, no random crimes. But there was something in the air: expectation.
Despite Roxy’s stripper name — the actual name on her birth certificate was Roxy Barbara Streisand Gillard, and I’m not even kidding — she was as far as possible from the way you’d expect a Roxy to look. Roxy was a connector — or was it a nucleus? At school I had always skipped biology, so I wasn’t good with scientific metaphors. Anyway, she connected people. She was pretty much how I made all my friends in Toronto. She made an effort to make plans with friends, and to introduce them to others, like a community hub. There — Roxy was a community hub. She was rarely alone. She was always up to something interesting.
Roxy liked to talk. I liked to listen. The roommate situation would probably work out well.
The stale coffee is boiling up but he catches it before it goes over the side, pours it into a stained cup and blows on the black liquid, lets a panel of the dream slide forward. If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.
“At first, I was afraid, I was petrified.
Kept thinkin’ I could never live
Without you by my side,
But then I spent so many nights
Thinkin’ how you did me wrong.
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along.”
“Well, now go! Walk out the door!
Just turn around now,
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore!
Weren’t you the one
Who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
Did you think I’d crumble?
Did you think I’d lay down and die?”
“Guess there’s something wrong with me
Guess I don’t fit in
No one wants to touch it
No one knows where to begin
I’ve got more than one membership
To more than one club
And I owe my life
To the people that I love”