This story was published as a part of the Only fools die of heartbreak collection by Equus Press.
It was New Year’s Eve and I had been drinking through the night at our place. Dee had some of her psychology-study friends over, including a gay little bugger called Janko. I didn’t care about the gayness, but the poor guy, “gay” was the hype that preceded him – “He’s gay,” Dee had said continually. “Gay gay gay gay gay.”
“I don’t care if he’s queer as a science-fiction opera,” I had said, “so long as it makes him happy. And I don’t even care about that.”
Janko showed – skinny little short scowling four-eyed unshaven bugger, Janko. I didn’t see anything very obviously gay, but it was pretty clear Janko hadn’t come to throw down his stick in the chick lottery.
The celebration dudded out with a brief fizz. It became 2-3 a.m. and everyone had gone to sleep. But I stayed up, smoking and finishing off the champagne bottles in the side room, listening to music and scribbling down some frankly astonishing works. God, it was fun, it was amazing. Sometimes that is really the most fun. Finally, I passed out in the chair, I don’t know what time.
I woke up – the windows were open, snow gusting in. My arms, my arms, they were extremely cold. That’s the last I remember.
I woke up on the floor in the main room, under the blanket next to Janko. Fully clothed, to be sure. I was a bit startled, in all honesty. But shit – nothing seemed to have happened. The windows showed dawn breaking. I rolled myself up, shook my head, went into the bedroom and climbed in next to Dee.
I got out of bed in the afternoon. I soon learned that gentle Janko had spread the alleged “news” of my sleepover far and wide.
Dee was appalled, called me “crazy,” said I needed “help.” But she’s always saying this – she should really be more creative. Her girlfriends, who had spent the night in the boys’ room, were seemingly scandalized/thrilled. Janko, privately to Dee, had speculated that I was maybe “secretly” gay. Something she should definitely look into before I caused a “bigger problem” down the line.
Psychologists, this is what they dream of.
“What’s the big deal?” I said. “Look, if I was gay, I’d let you know. Believe me. You think I’d be bashful about something like that? Me, gay? If I loved dick, I’d never have a problem saying so. Never.”
“Hey, come on. Be real, babe. I got nothing with Janko or gays – I was cold and passed out and drunk and found a blanket, that’s all. It happened to be Janko’s blanket, but so what? Most natural thing in the world – nothing gay about it! What’s so gay? Even Janko says nothing happened. You’re the guys who got gay on the mind. It’s all he can think about, and it’s all you can think about when he’s around.”
“I may be crazy,” I said, “but nothing happened. It’s you and Janko who are nuts. At some point a man has got to be able to live his life without every step being called crazy or gay.”
Three or four weeks later, Dee comes home and says she talked to Janko. Says Janko told her he went walking around in his pajamas in the freezing snow one night at midnight. He got on a tram, got off a tram, threw his identity and credit cards in the trash. This is what he tells Dee. Janko claimed a voice had told him that if he took these actions, he would become “pure” and then die. He went home and apparently did not die. He went back out a couple hours later and scooped up his cards from the trash. This is what he tells Dee. (And I know – why couldn’t Janko think of something just a little better than the hackneyed “voice” talking about purity? Well, shit, maybe that voice really exists, and he’s as dull as we are.)
“Not gonna say nothin’,” I told Dee. “Just fill in the blank.”
published: 7. 7. 2013