The Black Twist

by Chris Okum

It was a conversation for another time. Not right now. Not while he's sitting there, starring off into space. The middle distance. Looking at the pictures in his mind. Missiles and tits. Missiles with tits.  Missiles painted pink and red. Whatever he thinks about, she doesn't know. Right now she's so mad. She's mad at her friends for introducing them. They're the ones who told her to do it, to go out with him, they said it was probably a step up from the last crumb bum. Probably. "You want me to go out with him." "You want me to go out with him." "You want me to go out with him." It was all their fault. And now she was sitting here, in this room, with him, and he wasn't saying anything to her. Where she came from you didn't just sit there and say nothing. That's not what you did. You talked. You screamed. You fought. But you would talk about it. This guy? He had nothing to say. Okay, here's the deal, she said. If you want me, she said, to stop talking, you better start, because if you don't, it's going to get real quiet in here, and I don't like the quiet, I think the quiet is scary, and when I get scared I get scary, you get me? He did. He got her. He was listening. So he said something. He said they kept burning his brown sugar lattes. That the coffee tasted old and bitter. Because they never wanted to give him the good stuff. He never tipped. He never smiled. He never said hello. So they wanted him to get his coffee somewhere else, he understood, but it wasn't going to stop him from doing what he wanted to do. She stood up and got herself another glass of "punch." His lips were cracked and bleeding. One of his teeth felt loose. Oh, hey, he said, I think we're low on dude lube. He asked her if she could please go to the store and get some bread and butter. He said, I've made some really bad decisions in my life, but deciding not to get some bread and butter the last time I went to the market is the worst decision I've ever made. For him there was no second place. Here was the winner, at long last. He didn't know how long he could wait for what he wanted. It was nothing that complicated. Bread. And butter. He was easy. And now he was sitting here, in this room, with her, and it felt like forever. She raised her hand, didn't ask a question, and walked out of the room. He stared out the window. The girls who lived across the way were getting ready to get ready for the night.