I spent the day in the park doing that thing again. I’m ashamed. I’m kind of ashamed. Well, Dr. Trenohn says I should feel ashamed. Or, not ashamed because that word has such a negative emotion aspect, but that I should stop doing it, which means that this is the sort of thing I should not be doing with my days, and therefore I should feel ashamed that I am doing it. I’m trying to feel it, but I can’t. It feels good to do, and no, I don’t give a shit about those people in that park. All of them gawking and staring. They look at me with their mouths open like baby birds waiting to get fed, and all the time I’m thinking what the fuck do you think I’m doing? If they don’t like what I’m serving, then they should just go home and switch on the TV, watch Alice and Jane Shave Each Other’s Legs, or whatever is on that shit box these days. They can go stare at some other poor soul. There’s plenty to see in this city, they don’t need to warm the park benches. And Michael? I’m sure he deserves it in one way or another. Asshole.
Oh god, Judy. You wouldn’t believe this crazy woman in the park today! She looked completely normal, and I didn’t pay any attention to her, really, until she started hollering and carrying on. I thought she was a beggar or something. She wasn’t wearing ratty, awful clothes, and she didn’t look like she stank, but you know, I hear that the economy is bad, and I’m sure these poor people have some dignified clothes left over from when their lives weren’t so hard. But you know what? I don’t think she was begging at all. Maybe a prostitute, who knows. For a few minutes, while Mary was telling me that story about that yappy little dog she had last year – you know, the one that jumped from her lap out the window of a speeding car and into the bay? – and bored as I was, I watched this woman, that crazy woman, walk from man to man and then walk away disappointed. Then all of a sudden, after walking up to a man that looked like that fantastic waiter at the club, she just started letting him have it. Eff this, and eff that. Eff you, Michael! She even called him a, oh, well, a cocksucker. Mary almost choked! Eventually, the woman slapped him and stormed off. He looked then as if he’d just been the victim of a verbal mugging. Judy, it was the darndest thing, even for the city. Pretty little girl, too. I bet it was some sort of reality television stunt. You know? Crazy.
Shielding his eyes from the sun, Michael looked across the park. He thought he had heard someone saying his name. It startled him. His grandmother used to say something about what it meant when you thought you heard someone saying your name, something about a fateful warning, but unable to remember what exactly it was that she said, Michael forgot the whole thing and continued to stand in the middle of the sidewalk, completing his text message.
Terrible time last night.
Tell you later.
Michael looked up at the sky and sighed. The date really had been terrible; he wasn’t being an asshole this time. He didn’t think it was fair for everyone to always assume he was the jerk just because he had been a shit that one time and broken up with that girl poorly. Things happen. He was learning – just like everyone else. Weren’t they all just trying their best to hold on, and not go careening out into space, or some other thing that symbolizes a descent into immediate and utter insanity? This chick last night seemed to be holding on pretty good. She had a nice job, a well-styled apartment. A cat. She was responsible. But, with the terrible jokes she kept making about The Rock and Vin Diesel—it just wasn’t right. Did she assume that because he was a guy he would be turned on by the fact that she kept up with all those terrible sequels about dickheads and their cars? It didn’t make her a bad person. She just –
“Excuse me, are you Michael?”
A beautiful girl stood in front of Michael. Although he didn’t know her, he decided instantly that he would like to.
“And you are?”
The girl crossed her arms, and shifted her hips to the side.
“Just tell me. You look really familiar. Is your name Michael?”
A single man, and coming off of a bad date, Michael thought that maybe the universe was throwing him a sweet treat, something he could talk about at drinks later that might redeem him to Tony, who always had perfect dates and perfect jobs and perfect fuck stories, instead of just talking about his terrible date, and how his hours at the restaurant just got cut.
“Yeah, sweetheart, my name is Michael, who are you?”
The girl looked down and drew in a breath. A small, perfect smile appeared across her mouth.
“HEY YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE COCKSUCKER. I FUCKING HATE YOU AND YOUR GODDAMNED FACE. YOU SUCK DONKEY DICKS YOU SHIT FUCKER.” With that, she slapped him in the face and stormed off.
It was the most popular thing to name your baby boy in 1983, you know. I go to a bar and ask around, I find a Michael within the first three men about 80% of the time. They usually look like assholes. You’d think that someone with such a common name would look more unassuming. There’re a million of you Michael; you’re not shit. Michael. Michael. Michael. Michael. Michael. Fuck.
You know, sometimes I catch myself hoping that this Michael will be the one. I deserve it. More than any Michael does. I’ll be standing there, calling him the filthiest most fucked up names I can think of, and he’ll do it —he’ll ball his meaty fingers into a tight fist that’ll turn my pretty face into something he can’t stand to look at. Pow. Right in the kisser.