by Oliver Hunt
Look man, have you been getting serviced?
Serviced? You mean…
You know, serviced. Egon held his palm up over his crotch and humped the cushion of air, grunting unh unh unh. Egon was nothing if not smooth. One of the young mothers by the coffee shop's play area shot us a look. Egon was a little loud, especially considering it was storytime, and the toddlers and tykes-- sitting cross-legged amid the blocks and stuffed animals and plastic kitchen and construction toys-- were all there to hear a reading of Goodnight, Gorilla. Egon grinned, winked at the milf and gave her the finger pistol, then turned back to me. Seriously, how long has it been?
I sipped my coffee. Admittedly it'd been a while. I may or may not have said that aloud.
Yeah, see, he said. You're almost at that point, I can tell. The pursuit feels like a joke, right? He shook his head. You're my boy and I'm concerned about you. I'm telling you. Man, the worst is when a dude stops caring. It's one thing if he's married, but if he's single, sitting there, unshaven, drinking his coffee like he can't be bothered to give a fuck…that is a sad husk of a man my friend.
I shrugged and he said See? There you go. The shrug. The whole I dunno…whatever shrug. His raised voice turned a few more angry-mom heads, so he lowered his head and whispered Nature's gonna weed out your genes, bro. You're whole family name just…poof.
I laughed and said You sound like you're pitching some douchy Mystery Pick Up Artist seminar. Weed out my genes…I looked over at the storytime crowd. The kids sat, cute and well-behaved for the time being, rapt and riveted by the tale of animal bedtimes and a mischievous primate. The moms around the perimeter, their double wide strollers and dayglo warm-up suits, drank lattes or glasses of wine, jonesed for their cigarettes and maybe their pills, looking snotty and entitled. I thought of the assholes I went to high school with, or the pieces of shit I fell out with as an adult in my twenties, so many of them—married like they're not crazy, having reached their teleological peak by making a couple of screaming fleshpods. Fuck all that noise, I figured. Why would I want to till my seed in a world where so many assholes- legitimate sociopathic narcissists- have spawned their broods? My genes…nature was fucking welcome to them.
Egon, head still lowered, hissed Know what you'll become? You'll become one of those guys who masturbates in any single occupancy restroom that locks. You'll be in public, surrounded by women, awkward and stressed out because you have no game anymore, with no other outlet or release. Before you know it, you're an impotent serial killer.
I laughed again. Impotent serial killer. He said, I'll bet you're already halfway there. He head motioned to the coffeeshop's bathroom- which was single occupancy, and so of course would lock- and said I'll bet you just go in there and fap away, for like hours, until the barista knocks on the door, saying she's about to call the EMTs.
I shook my head. Not likely, I said. I didn't whisper. I didn't care if we got kicked out. Egon was my friend, but he was a douchebag and, really, fuck this conversation. We're both fucking middle-aged men. I had to wonder if distended adolescence could legitimately be considered a developmental disability. I said If it takes longer to do that than take a solid shit, I just tuck it back in and call it a day. The cheerfully frumpy woman reading actually snickered, as did a couple of the moms, though even they still sneered.
Egon leaned back in his chair and said You have got to be the world's most defeated man.
What I didn't say was that, if I've learned anything, it's that you don't always want what you think you want, so you stop trying to get to a place you don't really care to go. What I said was Yeah, it's kind of like the Ricky Nelson song, except I'm not even pleasing myself.
All rights reserved.
I wrote this for an RUI reading in Chicago, with a day's notice. I'd revised it a little, but this is the piece I read.