It’s been a while since I posted here, but I just had to tell you about something that happened to be over the holidays.
First of all, I shouldn’t have been surprised when the gentleman called me a faggot. I didn’t stare at him like that. I didn’t cock my hip and adopt that half-melted posture I use for seduction. But, yes, I wore my purple Pooh sweater with the neckline cut off. Why was the neckline cut off? Because of mustard, that’s why. I’m a terrible eater. After consuming an overstuffed frozen taco one time, I wiped my mouth on my pants. With my legs crossed, it’s surprisingly easy.
Yes, it was laundry day, so I should have understood. And plus, there was no hate in his voice. Just a dumb kind of certainty, like he was pointing out the make and model of a particularly interesting truck.
“Hey, faggot,” the gentleman said.
I nodded at him like, “Uh huh. Yes.”, and stepped closer to the register. A secretary in worn-out flats carried six or seven boxes of donuts from the counter. Unless she had eyes in her hair, I couldn’t tell you how she navigated.
Yes, my sweater was cinched with a belt. That may or may not be relevant.
And so, when the time came, I ordered my little white sack of one half dozen glazed donut holes and took them to my usual corner booth to read the headlines in USA Today. I moved to toss the sports section, but an article about hockey caught my eye. There’s still professional hockey going on, which I find unbelievable.
“Sir, if you’re not going to order, I’m gonna have to ask you to please step out of line,” the little fat redheaded girl with the freckles said to the gentleman.
He hitched up his dirtied chinos and rubbed up and down on his breasts. His t-shirt sounded like sandpaper. He lifted his baseball cap and brought it back down on his greasy mop again, like he was airing it out. “Well,” he said, “I don’t reckon I’m in the donut market today.”
And I went back to my USA Today, because how was I supposed to know he’d sit down at my table? Who’d expect that?
“Hey, faggot,” he said, “Let me get one of them donut holes.”
I just had the sack open on the table there, so there was nothing stopping him from reaching in and grabbing himself one of my holes, which is exactly what he did. I watched him chew and noticed he was what my high school friends and I would have called a dirtlip. Meaning, he had this wispy, prepubescent dusting of mustache along his upper lip. I was so grossed out, I didn’t even look at the hand that just contaminated my donut hole sack. I can only handle so much at a time.
“Mmm. They make a damn good hole here.”
The gentleman pulled a napkin from its chrome prison and wiped his dirtlip of sugar glaze.
“So what are you doing today?” he said. Like we were friends!
“Well, I’ve got some laundry to do.” I looked at my sleeve, noticed an old mustard stain I’d missed, and clandestinely covered it with my hand.
“I’m thinking of seeing a movie,” the gentleman said. He grabbed the lifestyle section of my USA Today, licked the tip of his index finger, and began flipping pages. “What’s playing, do you know?”
USA Today is a national paper, so there aren’t any local listings. But even after I told him that, he still flipped through the paper like he didn’t care.
He slapped the table, and I got a look at his hand. I twisted the donut hole sack closed. “I know!” he said. “Let’s go see that Christ movie. You know, the Christ? Let’s go see that Christ movie.”
“The Passion of the Christ?” I offered. The local Tinseltown was showing a Christmas revival.
“What do you say, faggot? What’re you doing today? Wanna see a movie with me?”
And though I never saw him buy one of those soft plastic bottles of chocolate milk they sold at the donut place, he obviously hid one somewhere on his person, because he poured a little milk onto the floor every time Jesus was whipped, which was a bunch. Every now and then he’d laugh at something—I don’t know what, because that movie was terrifying—but then I’d turn to him, and he looked like he was crying. I saw a tear, I swear, catch in his dirtlip before he wiped it off with the back of his contaminated hand. But it could have been chocolate milk.
He offered me one of my donut holes towards the end, but I turned him down.
I should have been surprised when we were back at my apartment making out with Mythbusters on the TV. Out the corner of my eye, I saw that guy with the walrus mustache, so there was no way I couldn’t think about that dirtlip the whole time. Plus, the gentleman’s tongue tasted like chocolate milk and donut holes.
Anyway, that’s not what I should have been surprised about. I should have been surprised because I barely knew this gentleman. Also, I wasn’t gay. But he made assumptions based on my sweater, and I’m not really good at asserting myself. For instance, when he didn’t wash his hands after using my bathroom, I couldn’t muster the balls to say a word.
Not only should I have been surprised, but I was surprised when the gentleman pushed me away, reached behind his neck, and unzipped what I suddenly realized was a skin suit. He wriggled out of his dirtlip skin like a surfer on the beach and stood there in front of the Discovery Channel looking like an entirely different gentleman. Thanks to the movie, I understood that he was Jesus the Christ.
“And so now you understand,” he said.
“Yes,” I said. This was shocking!
“You understand why I couldn’t appear to you before. We have important work to do, you and I. This is just the beginning of something that will last through the ages.”
I looked at his forehead and shoulders for scars, but because of miracles, he was smooth as a puppy’s tummy.
“I have good news for you,” the Gentleman said. “An exciting opportunity you can’t turn down.”
I picked a piece of donut hole from my molars with the tip of my tongue and waited.
“Have you ever heard of Amway?” he said.
I rolled my eyes like, “Oh, one of these.”
The gentleman laughed. “Just kidding,” he said.
And then we did it.