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  • WJ King

MY PAL JOE

The woman threw a book at him yelling, “You can kiss my ample ass, you sorry son of a bitch.” Barely dodging the literary missile, he noticed peripherally the book was written by Friedrich Nietzsche. His attention to detail very nearly allowed her to displace his testicles to where they could easily be mistaken for earrings. As cordial as the situation was, Joe couldn’t help but think the argument wasn’t going his way. Odd to even call it an argument, he hadn’t had the opportunity to say anything yet.

After an afternoon of wine and exchanging bodily fluids, he was preparing to leave. On her toes, kissing him goodbye her finger tips innocently enough, held the top of his waist pockets of his sport coat. Pulling a note out of his pocket and glancing at it she realized it was from another woman. A woman she knew he had, “received notes from,” before. The onslaught began, disparaging his good name and attempting to assault him with an eight-hundred-page weapon with the intent to inflict bodily harm. As was the course, Joe was as faultless as a newborn babe. Finally given the opportunity, he explained he found the note under the windshield wiper when he was parked downtown. That was true. He went on to say he hadn’t read it and had no idea who it was from. That was not. “Well, you’re not going to read it now either.” She was still several decibels above a reasonable ‘inside’ voice, but the windows were no longer rattling. She tore the note into tiny pieces as if the smaller it was shredded the more pain would transfer to his already alluded to, sorry ass. He looked at her incredulously, “how can I control what other people do? What’s it say anyway?” It had been determined who the author was, but like any accomplished liar, he was prepared to swear dead souls, the entire catholic church and his children’s eyes of which he had none. Multiple relationships kept him afloat.

Herein lies his modus operandi, M.O., if you will. He had sabotaged each and every romantic relationship in his life, sometimes subconsciously, that seemed as though it may have had the legs to get somewhere. Disregard any unintentional pun. “I can see myself being with you.” “I’ve never been happier.” “My son thinks the world of you.” All indicators of a relationship, perhaps progressing to the next level and a level that absolutely terrified Joe. He considered himself a swashbuckler of sorts, but was a yellow, sniveling milquetoast when it came to the responsibility of a relationship.

At thirty-five years old, Joe’s options were simple. Stay the present course and be deservedly alone in his declining years or man up and embrace culpability for his feelings, emotions, future and act like a damned adult.

At sixty years old and having not wrestled over those diverse paths very fervently, he rests quite comfortably in his recliner, living vicariously through Magnum reruns.


3/7/17 wjk

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