I Go Back in Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime

20 Apr

I lay on my back, staring up at the ceiling. The popcorn ceiling. I’m topless. My milky white breasts show for all the world to see. All the world is a stage and here look at my tits bounce around on it.

I roll onto my side–my right side. There lay Roman Brown, brother of Max Brown, singer for my band, Savage and the Big Beat. This is Roman. 

“Roman,” I say, “You ever just–want to get away?”

Roman, who is also topless rolls onto his right side. I stare into his back, confused.

“Like how?” Roman asks, still not facing me.

“Roman,” I say. Roman seems startled, then rolls back onto his back then onto his left side and looks at me. Our faces are inches apart.

“Our faces,” Roman says, “are inches apart. We could kiss.”

The realization hits both of us like a ton of bricks. Are we gay? Are we two gay men in a room together? Neither of us speak for what feels like a long time.

“Roman,” I say. “Do you think we might be gay?”

“I don’t know, man,” Roman says. He is trembling. He looks as if he may cry.

“Let’s check.” We get up and walk to my room. Roman shuts the door. “Ready?” I ask.

Roman stretches his neck out and nods. “Ready.”

“Okay. Here we go,” I say. I open my laptop and open the internet to WebMD. I type in “gayness” to see if trembling or having black hair is a symptom. I also look to see if GoogleImage searching “Queen” at least once a week is also a symptom.

“It doesn’t even have it here,” I say, pointing at the screen. I punch the air.

“Then how will we ever know?!” Roman asks. He’s sitting at the edge of my bed, looking at his hands. He keeps dropping them, letting them go limp, then he kind of waves his limp-wristed hands around. “Does this look normal on me?” he asks. His voice is shaking. “Does this look like how my hands should always be?”

We go into the kitchen. Roman takes a seat at the kitchen table.

“Okay. How about this–” I begin, “What if we just pretended to make out with each other, just to, like, see how it feels–see if it feels weird or not.”

Roman nods.

“Okay, so stand up.”

He stands up.

“Now pretend to make out with me and I’ll pretend to make out with you. Let’s get a little space.” I take a few steps back and wrap my arms around an invisible Roman.

I start my makeout miming, then glance over at Roman. He’s practically doubled over, his lips pursed tightly, his face twisted as if in pain. He starts to kiss his invisible partner for a second, then recoils, wiping his mouth, pulling a hair off his tongue. Over and over and over again.

“Is that how you make out with someone?”

“What?” Roman seems startled, like he forgot I was in the room.

“Is that how you make out with someone, I said.”

“That’s how I make out with you.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re so…” he does this thing with his hand that signals that I am little to write home about. “And you have all these cats running around.” He gestures around him.

“There aren’t any cats in here! And anyway, we only have two. That’s less than one per person.”

“You’re also a small person.” He bends over really far and embraces an invisible me that looks to be around three feet tall.

“I am a normal-size person. You’re a fucking giant.”

“Oh I’m a giant? Rather be a giant than a hobbit.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah!”

“Well why don’t we go ask them how they feel about it.”

“Who?!” Roman asks.

“Hobbits! Giants!” I respond.

“Looks like we’ve got quite a drive ahead of us.”

Roman and I both look at the camera. “Everytime” by Britney Spears starts. Roman shakes his head at the camera. The music stops. “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC starts. Roman nods, then turns his head to another camera I was unaware of. I try to turn to it but then Roman turns his head again back to the old camera. He makes a face at me, then rolls his eyes, then smiles smugly. I try to look into the camera to make a face like “Oh that rascal,” but Roman turns his head again, then gives the camera a thumbs up. All you can see is the back of my head and even from behind you can tell that I am profoundly sad.

Soon enough we find ourselves in my Civic. Roman puts his hand on my leg. I swat it away.

“Stop,” I say to him. “We’re not doing the gay thing anymore.” Roman nods like he understands, but I can see his hand start inching back to my leg. I glare at him.

“Okay, okay,” he mouths, then puts his hands in his lap.

I put in Permission to Land by The Darkness.

“Jesus, man. Can you change the station?” Roman bellows.

“Fuck you, man! You don’t like my music, get your own fuckin’ time machine.”

“I’ve had a–“

“I’ll pull over and kick your ass out, man!”

“I’ve had a rough night, and I hate the fuckin’ Darkness.”

I would have pulled over, but we were going though a worm hole in the space/time continuum and I couldn’t pull over without my molecules splitting into the infinite and my consciousness evaporating and vanishing as if it had never existed at all.

We arrive in the past. In the alternate past. In Middle Earth.

“I like it,” Roman says, stretching his massive frame as he exits the car, “but they have better restaurants in upper-middle earth.”

“And better schools.”

“Less riff raff.”

“Mail men are nicer.”

“Landscaping is better.”

“Less of them.

I stop.

“Less of who, Roman?”

Roman gets very red. He starts scanning Middle Earth for a distraction.

“Of who?”

“Gollums.”

“Less Gollums?”

Roman swallows hard.

Years later I would look back on this day as one that changed my friendship with Roman forever. It was a day that changed my life forever. Because it taught me that racism doesn’t always come from where you think. Racism doesn’t always come from underneath a Lynryrd Skynryd (God what a fucking stupid band name. How do you even fucking spell it? I hate Skinnerd) shirt. Racism doesn’t always throw bottles or insults, isn’t always so–obvious.

And maybe that’s the worst kind of racism, because it’s the racism that is so subtle that it can almost feel normal or accepted.

Roman never got over his racism, and took it to his grave. He never left Middle Earth, either. When it was time to go back to regular Earth, he bent down, picked up his little hobbit wife and said that he had all he could ever want in this tiny place. I smiled at him and told him I’d miss him and never forget him. I went to hug him. He doubled over and pursed his lips very tightly and tried to give me a make out. I pushed him away and said a cuss and that he ruined a really nice moment with his typical, horny Rome-Dog behavior. His wife seemed nonplussed by the whole thing.

Then Roman got down on all fours and crawled into his hobbit house. I never saw him again.

The End.

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