Again, far from the first time, he is caught, grabbed up, he he, but not funny, never has been, less so every time. At least he knows by now, when they come to get you—have your story straight. Not that they ever believe it. Not that they care about, or need, a narrative. They want, as always, a full confession. Not just the usual sad song that none of it is his fault.
As before, he needs deflection, distance, especially regarding what he has heard repeatedly are his disgusting, native instincts, which are skewed, toxic, and diseased. He needs a bulwark, a moat. A library full of lies if need be, a bastion of defense.
This time, he begins with the house next door, how his problems started when it sold. The new people moved in, and they changed the bulbs in the fixtures. De-watting, re-watting, inside and out, shifting light patterns, draining illumination into shadow. It wasn’t his fault. New dark spaces stimulated new dark thoughts.
Next he adds in, casually, by-the-way, that he sees little creatures. Well. He doesn’t see see them, hasn’t yet anyway, but it’s going to happen. He hears their sounds down the hallway when no one else is in the house except the cat, who’s on the bed with him and he hears it too, perks right up. Not that he does anything about it, the prick.
But these little creatures, real or imagined, do not impress. The ones who have him again are not sympathetic.
They think, no, know he is pathetic—proving even more so, if that is possible—with this latest dodge. They demand: Get to the point, own up, man up, Gender Felon!
So what choice does he have? They’ve caught him again: red-handed, ham-fisted, fingered—and not in a good way.
His wife left him, okay? (He tries, he proffers, he pretends.) She’d taken long trips before, mostly to see her mother in Van Nuys, but always came back. And before that, called a lot. Now nothing. Not that he doesn’t like it, truth be told, and we’re all about the truth here, but it changes things.
However, it’s not clear that he ever had a wife. He can remember someone coming down the aisle, but who is that waiting? Whoever he is, he doesn’t look like he belongs, let along appear familiar in a mirror.
No matter who this guy is… he will cajole, prod and insist that she push a carriage through the store, a stroller down the street. And she will have full-lipped, blushful make-up, coiffed ‘do, and come hither pumps while she does it. She will balance the family budget on the tip of her nose, spic and span the domicile, change the oil in the mini-van every three thousand.
Did he just confess? Did he just provide foundational evidence of his felonious nature?
His missteps are clear. His nature is defined. His holders now fight over the chance to pronounce it absolute, with prejudice.
These ones who claim him as fodder, who bring him into their damp, dank rooms, don’t believe in ambiguity. They’re not fucking around. Their actions toward him are concise, focused. They present events with moral certitude; the answers are definitive, even to him, the never teacher’s pet.
When they let him go, a new limp re-shapes the footfalls of the usual dodge. Because after this time, throughout which they have been thoroughly thorough, he won’t wake up the same. Let’s just say… he’ll be a tad less excited, morning-rise-wise.
And truth be told, he’ll find it a relief, because enough already with distractions. No longer will he spend sour, pent-up energy on something so wrong-headed. Vague stirrings of imagined conquests. Lusty travels within the hairy fray. Imaginings of the wife he doesn’t have and most certainly doesn’t deserve.
It’s been a bright and guilty world he’s lived in, with no way out until now.
Jon Fain’s most recent publications are a short story in Fiction on the Web, a humor piece in Riot Act, flash fiction in Back Patio Press, micro fictions in Molecule, Star 82 Review, and Scribes Micro Fiction, and a baseball story forthcoming in The Twin Bill. Twitter @jonsfain.