She’s crazy, he thought. Well, I tell ya one thing: she wouldn’ta turned out that way if she’d ended up with me.
And then: What a thought! What a man thought.
Her rants on facebook caused him to block her, and then, somehow missing the spectacle of it all, unblock her. She’d had such a crush on him – so far as he knew, the only one who did – their sophomore year of high school. She was not his type, in particular her gender, which he was yet to discover, but there was a certain chemistry that lay in a lack of alternatives.
Their first date was at Billy’s, where she had the patty melt “well done” and he the fish and chips.
“How can you eat fish?” she asked.
“Like this,” he said, taking an enormous bite. Fresh from the deep fryer, it burned the hell out of his tongue, but he didn’t let on for fear it would ruin the intended joke.
“Ick,” was her only reply.
After, they went to see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at the mall cinemas. She wanted popcorn and Junior Mints and a Diet Coke. He got Lemonheads, which he realized half-way through the movie, seemed to be having a subatomic reaction to his burnt tongue, so that it felt as though layers of tastebuds were sloughing off, the likes of which he was then forced to swallow. But, what could he do but finish the box and be grateful he didn’t get the jumbo size? It was candy, after all.
Later, they would not have sex; the thought never even crossed his mind. But when they did have sex, in his car, after Aliens and another round of Lemonheads, it would be terrible.
Terrible? Clumsy. Awkward, to be sure. Neither of them came. Or, at least he knew he didn’t, and to be honest, how would he know about her either way?
He lettered in cross-country, and when she asked for his jacket, he thought it a joke.
“Nobody does that anymore.”
“Richie gave his to Lori Beth on Happy Days.”
Again, he thought it was a joke, until she made it clear it wasn’t.
“You do know Happy Days takes place in the 50’s, right?”
“Whatever. Just gimme.”
In their junior year her mother came preciously close to picking out their china pattern, and even then he didn’t have the balls to call it quits.
No, that final straw came in his ‘76 Chevy Nova hatchback, when The Name of the Game came on the radio and he turned it up to sing along, and she just as quickly snatched it off. “Seriously?” she asked. “ABBA?”
“No,” she said. “We’re not.”
“Uh, yeah, we are,” he said.
“Well, if that’s even remotely true, know this: you will rue the day.”
“What does that mean?”
“Rue! Look it up.”
Now here she is: actually thinner than she was then, though still with the elephantiasis of the hair, clown makeup for days. Oh! and a brood, a brood, mind you, where not a one of them looks remotely like the father, just sayin’.
“Antifa!” she cries. “Stolen!” she yells. “Lock her up!” she resurrects.
Hey, he types. I cannot tell you what a bullet I feel I dodged with you. You are truly crazy in your worldview. I mean, truly batshit! I hope you get the help you need. Who should rue? You should rue! Oh, and, ABBA rules!”
God, that felt good. Fuck her and her ravings and her big hair and her misshapen family. Yeah, man! Yeah!
And then, from the grace of whatever God there may be, and just as sure as he’d hoped from the onset that he would, and emphatically knew that he should, he hit delete.
J. Edward Kruft is an editor at trampset. His out-of-proportion fear of rodents has resulted in moving apartments, more than once. He lives with his husband, Mike, and their adopted Siberian Husky, Sasha, in NYC, and in the Catskills. His recent fiction can be found on his Web site: www.jedwardkruft.com and he can be followed on twitter: @jedwardkruft.