From 34 Feet (Cleaver Magazine, Issue 39)
Imagine it. Me! With my very own personal mugger. Because in that moment, he was mine and I was his, alone as we were at the moment. Swear to God, the gun looked heavier than the kid wielding it. Its barrel was cool against my head in the muggy Savannah night, so that wasn’t so bad.
Did he keep the gun in the fridge?
This was the same year my cat died. The first year I had ever lived alone after my girlfriend of nine years had left. The week after I’d been let go from my teaching position.
Sometimes the world just loves to pile it on.
From The Bug Thing (Coming soon: The Pinch Journal, TBA 2023)
Another thing that I hadn’t factored into being a completely free adult was the idea of consequence. Yes: I could do as I pleased, but that didn’t mean that everyone would gaze upon my works and cheer mindlessly.
The first, and perhaps most obvious, consequence would come from what my mother would refer to as “the girlfriend thing.” This idea would stand starkly in contrast to the bug thing, vowing never to appear until its darker twin vanished.
“What woman in her right mind,” my mother once asked. “Is going to date a man with an apartment full of bugs? That guy in Silence of the Lambs had a lot of bugs and look how well it turned out for him.”
“He had death’s head moths, mom,” I reminded her.
My mother’s reaction was one that suggested my response had been all too indicative of exactly what was wrong with me.
And I have to admit she had a point. Because yes, you can have all the bugs you want as an adult. But that’s rarely an incentive to attract the opposite sex. Or anyone, for that matter.
It makes me think of the articles you’ll read about Trump supporters having difficulty finding dates. Lonely and bewildered, it might be the only thing that I’ve ever had in common with that cross-section of the country.
However, my mom would eventually be proven wrong about “the girlfriend thing.” And then she’d be proven right again. And then wrong again. And so on.