I have trouble starting conversations. It’s not as easy for me as it is for others.
Last night, while I was out trying to stargaze, an important-looking dick walked toward me on the sidewalk. As he approached, I noticed he had the kind of face that would look exactly the same with or without his stupid mustache. He carried a black cane with a wolf’s head for a handle.
I envied it.
I imagined leaning on it, knocking things off the top shelf with it, and throwing it like a spear to pretend the wolf could fly. If the cane were mine, I’d make believe it was an army-issued rifle. I’d holster it in the elastic of my sweatpants and have friends. And when I came across these friends of mine, I’d pull the fake gun out of its holster, point it at them, and say, “Gotcha, bitches.”
I’d be what they call “a character.” People would want to see more of me. They would say, “He’s such a character! Always with the cane he pretends is a gun!” then exchange glances with one another. Then they’d wave the whole thing off with both hands and decide to do lunch with me.
“Lunch?” they’d ask.
“Let’s” I’d say, holstering my pretend rifle.
The important-looking, mustachioed dick continued in my direction. I skinnied sideways so he could pass. But he made no effort to make himself passable, and our shoulders collided.
“Pardon me,” he said as he brushed past me, just like the last person who had something I envied.
“Come back!” I beckoned.
He waved me off and sped up. I went after him and tapped him on the back of his pea coat.
“I have something to ask you,” I blurted out.
“What?” he responded tersely. He kept walking, like he was scared of me. I wanted to ask him if he ever imagined his cane was a rifle. Then, when he said “Yes,” I’d say, “Me too,” so we would have something in common. But I knew that would scare him, so I said something I thought was scary so we could be scared together.
“I’ll shoot you with your own cane!” I bellowed, lunging toward him and reaching for the wolf’s head. He recoiled into a batting stance, ready to swing. That was when another important-looking dick came along. This dick was bearded and owned the hat shop we were standing in front of. But he wasn’t wearing a hat, and I thought that was funny.
“What the fuck? Who the fuck are you?” the bearded dick said forcefully, poking me in the chest.
“Uhhhh,” was all I could get out. I couldn’t look him in the eye, so I looked at his display window. It was full of breastless mannequins wearing derby hats sitting around a square table. There were playing cards stuck to their hands by means of some invisible adhesive—probably the quick-dry liquid variety. However, there wasn’t a single thumb between the four of them, and this bearded dick expected me to pretend they were playing poker.
“Who the fuck are you?” the bearded dick grunted.
I think he thought I didn’t understand him, and that was why he asked again. I think he expected me to say something. I made a thinking face to appease him. Then I actually started thinking:
They don’t have ears or hair…yet their hats do not fall over their eyes…there has to be an adhesive…but the same quick-dry liquid adhesive used on the cards and hands…would probably ruin the hats…no, a liquid adhesive wouldn’t be right…the mannequins must have adhesive tape between their heads and their hats…and these strips must be looped into O-shapes…wait…they sell double-sided tape at the Five & Dime…dumbass.
“Go!” barked the bearded dick, pointing across the street.
I scurried across the street and sat on a bus bench. I watched the bearded dick talk to the mustachioed dick like they were friends. The bearded dick pat his hand on the shoulder of the mustachioed dick as he leaned on his cane. Then, they laughed. And when they laughed, I could see the steam of their gasps converging. It looked so cool. So I set out to find someone to converge steam with.
I have trouble with this, too. It’s not as easy for me as it is for others.
I walked a block and found two assholes talking. I approached the one wearing red and said, “What the fuck? Who the fuck are you? Who the fuck are you? Go.”
It didn’t work. But I finally saw stars.