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Outing


by P.R. Mercado


I. 

My friend and I were arranging the things in my closet because we literally had nothing to do but he found himself in my house again, which he described to me like a disease, like he could be in some museum or bar or with other friends who do not spend all day indoors, but somehow he ends up here, which is a hellish experience and should be written about in paranormal periodicals and other things that record all manner of fiendish occurrences.

"You know what," he said, moving a Harry Potter pencil holder an uncle gave me ten years back. "Let's go somewhere."

"Where?" I said, finding a broken CD player I used to listen to James Taylor on. 

"I don't know," he said. "Pick a place. I'll drive."

"Your girlfriend will think you're going to fuck me," I said. 

I removed a book and a torrent of papers rushed down to the floor. We both had to move out of the way. I sat down to arrange everything.

"We won't tell her," he said. "She's always thought I've fucked you anyway."

"That's what the girls tell me, too."

Some mother once complained that I shouldn't be bringing her daughter to Resorts World because there were hotels there, and being a male I probably fucked her there. I would never pay for a hotel room just to fuck a lady. Moreover, I would never fuck a lady. But we spend a lot of time together, have a very intimate relationship, just like I do with most my friends. 

A boyfriend of another once asked me to “come clean.” I wondered if I arrived in dirty clothes or I had body odor or something. Apparently, she had been canceling on him to go to a pastry cafe with me. I set the record straight. He still does not like me, and imitates me in a whiny voice whenever we meet. 

"Well?" he said. I handed him the arranged pieces of paper and he placed it on a corner. 

I stood up, and thing were fixed and in order. I placed my hands on my hips. I was getting sweaty. It doesn't take much for me to sweat. I am sweating as I write this. 

"It takes a lot of planning to go to Baguio," I said. 

"We'll pass by a 7-Eleven," he said. "They have everything at 7-Eleven."

"Oh my god they do," I said. "It is such a convenient establishment for all your needs and it's located everywhere."

"They are always there for you," he said. "Like a best friend or a lover."

I closed the cabinet and said: “Let's go.”

"7-Eleven is really a god send, I think—"

"We're done with that bit. Time to move."

"Moving."

II.

I was in the car on the way to Baguio, and I looked at my wrist as I opened and closed my hand. I've been doing it for a few minutes. My mouth was half open from the intensity of my observation. 

"I have such fat wrists," I said. "Fat, ugly wrists. I deserve to die. No one should have wrists. No one should have to live with these wrists."

"You'd slice them but they're too fat," he said. He was driving and sipping on a chocolate milk drink through a straw.

"Fuck, you're right," I said. "You're right. I'm condemned to live the life of someone with fat wrists. What have I done in my previous life? Was I Hitler? Oh my god, I was Hitler."

"Are you going to complain about being Hitler all the way there?"

"Look at my wrists," I said. I held up my wrists to his face. "Hitler wrists."

"You don't have Hitler wrists."

"It's all that heiling," I said. "All that raising my hand to say heil."

He finished his drink and placed the carton on the cup holder. 

I mulled over the cycle of my reincarnation. Then he said: “And that's kind of arrogant.”

"What is arrogant?"

"Hitler? More like Nazi brute, surely," he said. "Not even an official, just a confused idiot who hates Jews."

I contorted my body to look for something behind my seat, where there were plastic bags from 7-Eleven. 

"What are you doing," he said. 

I returned with a bag of chips. 

"Karmic contemplation starves me," I said. I opened the bag and began eating.

He laughed. 

I was having a good time, regardless of my Hitler wrists.

III.

We arrived in Baguio and he knew some guy who knew some guy who got us a pretty decent place but it only had one narrow bed. 

"Someone will have to sleep on the floor," he said. "And I got us this space at all."

We looked around the room. The window had a view of the road, but also a view of the city. It was nice. There was a small balcony. 

"Looks like we'll be hugging tonight," I said.

"No," he said. "My girlfriend already did that thing when she's angry when I told her on the phone where we are."

"She went urggh?" I said. 

"It's flurgg," he said. 

"No, no," I said. "I think it's fmurggg."

"Fmarrgg is more accurate," he said. "Fmarrgg that gay guy again?"

"It's two days," I said.

I arranged our stuff into two piles.

"Just don't expect her to talk to you for a while," he said. 

"Your girlfriend smells like detergent and I don't like her," I said. "Like does she bathe in that stuff? I don't understand how someone could smell like that."

"Maybe she washes her clothes in detergent."

I walked in the bathroom to check it out. No bathtub. I was disappointed. 

"I do, too," I said. "Washes herself with it, more like. Speaking of baths, there is no bathtub."

"This place is too cheap for a bathtub," he said. "Who needs a bathtub?"

"Who goes to Baguio and not have a bathtub? That's weird," I said. 

"THAT'S weird," he said. "Ok."

I emerged and sat on the bed. 

"How did we get here? I realized we're in Baguio." 

He sat beside me. He laughed. I don't think he was expecting me to go through with it, and nor did I, and when we realized what was happening it was too late. I told my parents we were going to 7-Eleven, which wasn't a lie. We did go to 7-Eleven. Didn't say I was going home. I'd have to text them or something. 

I never really thought he was all that handsome, but now that we're here, sitting on a narrow bed looking out into a foggy city on a mountain plateau, he wasn't too bad. He made me laugh. Sometimes all you need is someone who makes you laugh. 

"We were cleaning your closet," he said. 

"You're not too bad," I said. 

"For someone who has Hitler wrists," he said, "you're not too bad, either."

He went out to ask for a mattress, pillows, and a blanket. We will have to negotiate who sleeps on the floor. I'd rather have us sleep on the narrow bed, and one has to go on top of the other to fit, obviously, but sometimes you have to make compromises, look out for what happens in your next life, make sure your body parts are in order for your next incarnation, by not fucking someone you shouldn't. Not that he'd fuck an ugly queer like me. Not that I'd ever find out for sure. 

When a boy takes you to Baguio on a whim, it is unfair to ask anymore of him anyway. Bathtub, fucking, sleeping on a bed. I don't think those matter much now. That's what I felt. 

I walked out to the balcony. I can't remember the last time I was that happy. 

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