A NYC comic sits alone in his small and cramped apartment somewhere in the city (No name? No specific part of the city? C’mon! Flash is short but it also needs depth.) with a nearly empty green-bottled Heineken and his note pad, talking to himself, working it out. The clubs will open soon.
“Amused Douche: Tiny little chuckling one-bite Chads they give away as pre-workout at cross-fit gyms, sorry, boxes!” he says, scribbling, “Is this a thing…. Probably not a thing.”
The apartment isn’t airconditioned and it’s warm and he’s sweating and the bottle’s condensation is beginning to run beads down to the table on which it is sat, creating a ring, which he will then have to explain to the girlfriend that he’d just met when this whole thing began, hastily deciding to move in, only later finding out she was a total neat-freak and super into preserving her possessions. (Sure, give those details, why not, it’s not as if you are purposefully trying to stay within a super tight word limit in order to be able to market whatever this is to one of those hip new literary magazines with their hip new super-short pop-up and random micro-submission windows; they only want that fucking energy, but, you know, under 500 words would be great.) We’re going to have to have a talk about the ring now, god damn it, he thinks.
“People in recovery are the new vegans. You are literally in no danger of accidently offering them a drink or whatever without knowing because the second they get their one-day chips, they fucking tell everybody. They don’t even wait for it come up naturally either, ‘Oh, you’re fully vaxed? Yeah, I would be too, but I had to postpone because my first shot conflicted with my zoom AA.’ We get it, you’re impossible to go out to eat with! What the fuck does the other A even stand for anymore, Announcement!” He writes that down, “That could be a thing.”
Outside, six floors down — a walk-up, no elevator (Yeah, because people need to know that. What are you at, huh? About 400 words? Better wrap this thing up, otherwise good luck, dude!) — the heat of the day has warmed the trash in the alley and the stench is wafting through the open window he can’t close because he knows it will be no cooler at night and that the smell won’t be taken care of for a couple of days, when the trash is scheduled to be picked up (Now you’re detailing the city’s sanitation schedule? Okay.), and he knows that that, and the state of the apartment, combined with the new con-ring on the girlfriend-whom-he-still-doesn’t-really-know-all-that-well’s own personal (Own personal? That’s a choice.) coffee table, will make for one really dumb and fraught evening.
“Ummmmmm, okay, something else, something funny, ummmmmmmm, dooo, dooo, dooo, okay. So, when did we decide, like collectively decide, that we are all just cool with bagging our own groceries? Was there a meeting? Did they take a vote? Because I know how I would’ve voted, which, is probably why I wasn’t invited to the meeting in the first place. Big grocery knows where I stand on the whole bagging my own groceries issue,” in Sienfeldian voice, “I’m… opposed.”
He hears steps in the hallway (Wrap it up.) and he feels the skin behind his ears tighten in a way that’s vaguely canine, like a canine perking up, listening for danger and finding some. He finishes his beer (Yeah, everyone was just hanging on this far for you to close that loop, dipshit.) and grabs his notebook off the table and considers the fact that if he leaves now, he will surely pass her in the hallway and have to tell her where he is going and how long he will be gone and if he thinks he’ll want food when he gets back and if he thinks she should just order enough for herself, or what. He sets his things down and leans back in his chair, trying to relax, to look relaxed. He hears the key schlunk (wasting a word on a word that’s not even a word, not the choice I’d have made, but, like, it’s your thing, dude.) the lock and he girds himself for the onslaught, and he knows that it’s going to be so epically bad.
“Hey babe, how’s it going? Got anything funny for me?” she asks, kissing his forehead.
“Ahhh, I don’t know, do you think making fun of people in active recovery is okay?”
“I don’t know love, sounds touchy.”
“You’re probably right, thanks. Think I’m gonna do it anyway…”
(God, I hate you so much.)
Scott Mitchel May is a writer currently living in Vermont. His work has appeared in many publications, a selection of which can be found at scottmitchelmay.com. You can follow him on Twitter @smitchelmay.