4.17.2006

I don't really hate men. I hate the concept of man. Then again, I don't really hate the concept of man. I hate the stereotypical concept of men. Yes, that will do.

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That seems reasonable, right?
a short adaptation by Daniel T. Richards

"I'm in deep shit," he said, looking more nauseous than worried. He gazed straight at the bar, took a slow drag from his half spent cigarette. A solitary bead of sweat escaped his face, falling with near comical perfection into his line of sight.

With every intention of being cliche, I warned, "Those things will kill ya, ya know?" I immediately regretted it.

Without movement, eyes transfixed on the sweat--now, egged on by gravity, trying desperately to reach salvation on the floor--he nearly mumbled, "I'd probably be better off. At least I wouldn't have to make my decision."

"For God's sake, just tell me." My begging wouldn't do any good, but I persisted. "It can't be that bad. I'll help you if I can."

Silence. A country song of no particular importance invaded my consciousness and decided to make its home in my cochlea. The bead of sweat found salvation at last. Silence.

My impatience eventually persuaded me to leave, but just as I grabbed my coat, he broke, more like shattered, the stillness:

"I've been screwin' around with three women." He lit another cigarette with the remaining stub of his first. "They all want to marry me. What the fuck am I supposed to do about that?"

I suppose it was that bad. How can I help him? What am I supposed to say? I can't even breathe. I wanted to know, had to know his most personal problems, and now I have nothing to say. When he needed my help, I could only sit, blankly staring at the man I've looked up to since grade school, and wheeze. Blood, DNA, ancestry--in which we have no choice--mean nothing; he was my brother, and I hated him. I pitied him. I envied him.

"Bitches, that's what they are. How the hell am I supposed to decide?"

"Which one do you love?" Trite.

"Every one of 'em at least three times a week." He grinned, half amused but completely satisfied with himself. "Love ... fuck it. You can't define it; don't ask me to."

I let him words stand unchallenged. Would someone please change the radio station? He looked more perplexed than nauseous.

"I did come up with somethin' a while back. Somethin' to see if they wanted me for my money." Thankfully, he was out of cigarettes. James Dean he was not.

"I gave 'em each $1000 and told 'em to do whatever the fuck they wanted with it. I figured 'What the heck; I'm loaded.' I asked 'em what they did with the money a month later."

"And?" The excitement in my voice made me sound young, gay or a combination of the two. He laughed at me, fully expecting such an outburst. I couldn't contain myself when he told stories; they were awful, dry and often resulted in a premature climax, certainly a euphemism for his life, but they fascinated me like a bad wreck on the interstate.

"Sarah, the bitch, spend the entire grand on clothes. Who the fuck needs sixteen purses? Jackie was no better. She spent half on clothes and put the other half in the bank. I don't need no indecisive wench."

"What about ..."

"Ellen? Put the whole thing in the bank. Saved it." He was finally loosening up, enough so to ask the guy next to us for a smoke.

"That seems reasonable, right?"

Dropping the cigarette and hastily standing, he yelled, "Hell no that's not reasonable! Do I want some stuck up bitch who doesn't know how to have a good time? What the fuck is she saving for, a rainy fucking day?" His quick change in demeanor and flailing arms caused the bartender to look disapprovingly in our direction. I couldn't help but smile. Payback for the damned music.

"So, what are you gone do?" I asked again. Ad nauseum was my nickname in high school.

He sat back down, defeated. The bartender poured him a shot, on the house. ("You look like you need it," he said.) After a series of uncomfortable looking faces--apparently the shot was stronger than his will--he looked me directly in the eye, and with all the honesty this broken, bigot could muster, he simply said:

"Eh ... fuck it. I'll probably marry Sarah. She's the one with the biggest breasts."

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If you didn't get it:

A man is dating three women and wants to get married. He has to decide which one to ask. He gives them each $1,000. The first one spends $800 on clothes and puts $200 in the bank. The second one spends $200 on clothes and puts $800 in the bank. The third one puts the whole $1000 in the bank. Which one does he marry?

The one with the big breasts.

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My version is more English-major-esque.

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