Jackson (Jack) “pants" McLox doesn't so much show up but more like Arrives - forever not knocking. This time he walked through the door in a generic white polo, some sort of jeans cuffed high on his calf, and deck shoes. He was covered in blood that was somehow oozing from a head wound that wasn't there. After greeting everyone with overly enthusiastic (in his mind, ironic) high-fives, he disappeared down the hall and slammed the door to my bedroom.
Jenn said, “Whaaaah?"
“Yep." I looked at my phone. “He walked through the door at 6pm +/- 10 seconds, like a fucking clock. OCD as they get.”
“Uhhh, Didn't you see him?" She asked, “Is he hurt?”
“He can't be late. He'll do anything." I said, “He drives a shit box K-Car convertible and keeps a bottle of fake blood under the seat. I think he stole it from his ex or whatever. Something about a vampire fetish. Anyway, when traffic gets bad he'll get this compulsive need to pass everyone on the shoulder. Problem is he can't stand being That Dick who drives on the shoulder and cuts everyone off. Plus, everyone will block That Dick from getting back into traffic like its their fucking job. So, he covers himself in fake blood and goes. Who's not going to let a guy covered in blood get in front of them?"
“Works wonders in long-bathroom-line type situations."
Jack pushed through automatic doors:
My birthday means breakfast with grandma. She used to come to our house for my birthday breakfasts because it landed school days most years. Birthdays that weren't on school days meant a Moons Over My Hammy. The tradition had some hiccups while I was away at school but it got right on track after I quit. Recently it has been us, alone, with toast and jelly at her place.
“Woah grandma, you're gonna bust a nut trying to get that jar open." I offered some assistance. "Hand it here."
“Thanks Jack." She passed the jar. “So, honey, how are things?"
“Work is good, nothing to write home about. Friends are fine, a little crazy, but fine. XXXX is good, we might find a place together in May."
“You know how I feel about that."
“Grandma, you sound like a rusty trombone again."
“I know, but dammit you're so young. I want to see you get out there and spread that seed."
“Nice grandma. Real nice."
I slapped strawberry jelly on dark toast and said, “There is this girl at school."
“What's her name, Sweetie?"
“I'm not sure. I see her around a couple times a month."
“Is she pretty?"
“Pretty? Yes. Not gorgeous. I don't know if its the glasses or the shoes, but there's something about her that really gets me. Every time I see her, I Feel It."
“Have you talked to her?"
“Not really. Last week I pushed through some automatic doors and there she was but I didn't say anything. I froze, really. First, because I almost hit her with the door. Second, I'm sure the look on my face creeped her out because that's when I noticed it."
“When I first started back at school I was walking across campus and this girl on a moped thing rode slowly past. I didn't see her face, but I guess it didn't matter because I still somehow got this ridiculous crush. I loved what she was wearing and the way she carried herself, on the dorky moped, no less." I took a bite. “I know, dumb. Right? She had this tattoo and I thought, ‘Wow, I hate bikes and tattoos, but I wish i could know her name.' but its not like I could just call out and say, ‘Hey, I don't know you but I suddenly have this wicked crush on you and I live with my girlfriend and can we be friends?'"
Grandma talked with a mouth full of toast, “I knew you two were living together." She waved the butter knife. “What did you notice about the other girl behind the door?"
“The tattoo. It was her. I opened the door, saw the tattoo and almost shat. The girl I always see with the glasses was the girl on the moped. So, I said hi and she said hi and I held the door and she walked out."
“Oh Jack. You have to stop falling in love with strangers. Do you think about this girl all the time?"
“Aaaaannndd she's perfect."
“I can tell you right now, she's not. She's probably fast, or a moron. I know sometimes I sound like a rusty trombone and I don't mean to bust your nut (I choked a little) but I've seen it too many times with your uncle to sit back and watch you do a Little Mermaid."
“Yes. Just like the cartoon. You see some random stranger and think they're the bees knees. So, you do everything you can to be with them. You change your clothes. You change the way you talk. Once you meet them you see they're not as perfect as you imagined, but how could they not be perfect because that's why you're in love with them. You throw away your friends and everything to change yourself to fit. But, that's the problem, you'll never fit. She won't change. You'll make excuses. You'll feel like shit because you gave up everything you had that made you special - your mermaid tail - and the next thing you know you have three kids and you have to drink yourself silly just so you can stand to be in the same room with her."
“Are you on the internet?"