Reasons to Stay Inside

Can be overheard, with the right set of ears:

“Listen, I’ve no doubt. No doubt.

“How did it start? It matters.”

“Why so?”

“Try to believe this is about hurting me less.”

“How so?”

“Because every thing you say, Selfish, is one more way to not tell me the truth. You, who I believed above all always would tell me the truth.”

Here lies Idris. Drinking a beer in erratic, desperate-looking gulps.

“Not here.”

“Why not?”

“I never wanted to hurt you. I didn’t want to hurt you. I was trying not to hurt you.”

“So you’re sorry you hurt me.”

“Yes.”

“You were making it easy, right? Easier for you?”

…. the air conditioner going tttttttttfffffffffffff….

“Because you’re a COW-ard.”

… and someone far away, a someone playing a sport, has scored a splendid victory and we share the joy with the television, because we did it! We were there, too!…

“And that’s not how you treat people you love, it’s just not.”

Here lies Janet. Tearing up a napkin in dull, resigned-looking movements. Eyes casting about for a wall clock. But this is a bar.

“And what am I supposed to say, huh? Say ‘thank you’? Thank you so much for all this love, the sweetest, best kind of love, only I don’t want it? I don’t want it? Yeah. Yeah. I think that means there’s something wrong with me.”

“Potato skin?”

“Yeah. Yeah. Maybe.”

“You want me to pity you now? Because PFFFT, I say.”

“Say goodbye. To the ring and the dog and the mansion.”

“Oh please. We’d never have a mansion.”

Please.”

“And babies, and this much love, as you put it.”

“It’s just using you, dearest! We both want it easier, it’s why we’re not alone!”

“I did not pick you to be easy. I am not as bad as you. Do you really believe I’m as BAD as YOU here?”

Did anyone realize there was a MS.PACMAN here in the back, still in premium WORKING order? What jubilee! Later, we will play. Clinking glasses. One topples from the table, shatters.

“I did a bad thing, but everybody’s as bad as everybody. Is what I’m saying.”

“You don’t understand love!”

“OH PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.”

“What you’re describing is not what it is.”

“Why? Why is it what you think, always?”

“Not always.”

“No, not always. Today. Today is important.”

“It’s weird it took so long to make this and today to…” Today:

Outside: a pigeon gets briefly trapped in a sidewalk grate.

Inside: an Aerosmith B-side comes on, brief hush of identification, pleased-with-ourselves brouhaha upon collective ‘shout out the title’ moment (it is ‘Major Barbara’).

The bartender’s name is Grace. She’s gnawing on a BIC pen. Idris and Janet have sucked up and tainted a corner. Another dope, the nearest, smokes an EZ-filter electronic cigarette with an index finger and a thumb.

In a little while, we continue out to sidewalk, all of us, itchy and exhausted, lit up in moon.

It’s early but it feels late. It’s August but it feels cool.

“And I’m not kidding, I’ll want my sweaters back. At least the main three.”

Idris won’t cry again for a while. He is all cried out, drained down back to feeling just silly about this.

“I feel like we should go get ice cream. Seal the deal.”

“That would be a date. You don’t get it.”

And Tony lets out a fart and there’s a mix of giggles and groans and the rest of us, hovering, stacked like chairs, a little bit of a buzz going, hey, I want to whisper, just me this time, HEY!: but what’s to get?

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