Not the Weather
by S. B. Zellar
"Bad dog! Bad, bad, bad dog! You don't see me emptying my bladder wherever I choose. I paid extra for a purebred, and this is what I get? Consider yourself gone. Tomorrow I barter for a bird!" she shouts. Man, the sight of her makes me want to piss on the floor too! She was an ugly creature with her oversized body and plump features. She always walked around the house in her dresses made for fat ladies that you buy in those stores with the word "plus" in the name. They usually were atrocious, and she wore them way too short, showing way too much of her stout legs. She always had a cigarette in her mouth and curlers in her hair. This was her everyday dress code. She was lazy and barely left the house, except to run to the drug store to get cigarettes, but most of the time she would just send me.
It's not so much the weather, it's more Auntie's raving. Granted, Muffin sheds quite a bit; and true, the dog treats our place like a urinal. But it's always right in front of the door, and short-haired dogs tend to lose some hair. Auntie wanted a bird. Tomorrow is my second day at the Seven-Eleven, and if she doesn't lay off the poor animal, I'll never get any sleep. But I can't listen to this. Talk, talk, talk. Rave, rave, rave. If she gets a bird, it will probably be a parrot. I can hear Muffin now. Listen to him think.
"She might own me, but she had no right to name me," thought the terrier. "Go ahead and beat me, but hey, I'm worth two birds at least. Bitch. I go to the door and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. Sure I'll go on the linoleum. The neighbor kids tell me I'm good, then pull my tail. I don't dare bite flesh. My sister Tish earned a bullet that way. She was sleeping on the man's couch. The boy decided she resembled a chair, and his little hand found itself spouting blood from incisor-induced holes. BANG. Red. Tish is gone. I don't bite."
But I can't listen to this. Got to sleep. 7 a.m. at Seven-Eleven. Hate it! But it's a job, and riding in every morning with Jessica almost makes it worth the pain of rolling out at 6, when that August sun is just beginning to lick its lips, Jessica! But I can't think about that body, that curly hair, those chichis, those long legs. Why is it that we have the type of relationship that's understood? No commitment, no love, just pure sexual hormones of two utterly sexual people that enjoy each other's company. No! Got to sleep! Auntie's words fell on numb ears.
Today they stuck me with the new guy. It's bad enough I have to work Saturday night, but this guy's a snake. I'd shake Christopher's hand but I'd take my ring off first, if you know what I mean! People like to drink on the weekend, so keeping the cooler stocked with 40's was job one. Chris could listen but not retain. The Budweiser was a real mover with the locals so it goes in the ice tub next to the chips. Obvious right? Not to Chris. I went out back for a smoke and returned to find an empty tub and the rookie with his face buried in a NUDEY MAG. I've been here six weeks, and I knew if I wanted a crack at Assistant Manager, I had to deal with situations like this. And deal with them swiftly. I couldn't stop choking him, and the next thing I remember, the boss was pulling me off him. I spent a little time in cuffs that night, but you can refer to me as Assistant manager now.
You could say I run a tight ship. Cooler always full, and hot dogs always rotating--never black and dried up like you see at Quik-Trip. Some days I think I just might rule the world. I hate the walk home. It's not so much the weather, it's more Auntie's raving. "You should tie your shoes! You'll end up kissing the pavement if you don't watch it!" I like to leave my high-tops untied. Cuffing my jeans and tucking them into my shoes looks cool. Real cool. Thank God Monday's payday, I needed the money yesterday. Jessica will just have to understand. A country road will have to do. Besides, a town full of flannels and pickup trucks doesn't take kindly to two girls french kissing at the cinema. Death from old age is rare among gays in Woodvalley. Deer is in season for a limited time here, I wish I could say the same for people like me. You know, it's not a choice, we're born this way. It's genetic. I saw a segment on 60 Minutes a few years ago.
I like to begin with Jessica's neck, then slowly I work my way south to her hips. She likes it slow. Real slow. Believe me I know.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Fucking beep. Suddenly, I'm jerked from a deep slumber. "Ed...Jessica's out front. Ed... Ed... Ed...Jessica's out front! Do you still want a ride to work? You can't be late for your second day! Ed...I won't tell you again. And don't forget to make yourself presentable. Shave your face for christ sakes. You and that damn dog." preached Auntie. Man what a wacky dream. Damn her and that raving. It really tends to fuck up my sleep. The chill from the morning air makes it painfully hard to leave my toasty bed. But then again, it's not so much the weather, it's more Auntie's raving.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Keri Badding, Shawn Bainbridge, Brian Collier, Terry Heller, Lori Miller, and Jophus White.
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