I’m at the wedding of a guy I work with. Bill, another guy I work with, who’s older than me, gives me advice.


He says: Now that you’re almost thirty, one thing I would tell you is this—and everyone I tell this to says, Bill, man, you were right—that if you’re interested in somebody, just let them know. Say, hey, I’m interested in you, you seem like a person worth getting to know, let’s get dinner.


And then he clenches his jaw and slaps an invisible ass in the air and says, quieter: And man, have some damn fun with it.


I say: Thanks Bill.


My coworker cries during his vows, looks into the eyes of the person who, in a minute, will be his wife. The sun backlights the Spanish moss and freckles onto the grass like in a movie where, later, someone will be dragged into a swamp.


I tell Bill I’m gonna sneak off to smoke, and Bill asks his wife if he can come with me.


His wife says: Fine.



Fried tomatoes, crawfish lathered in orange sauce, cheesy oysters, tiny bits of steak on little breads. I sit alone and eat fast and don’t drink anything.

When I arrived, I scanned the crowd, hoping someone else was also not wearing a suit. But even the children wear suits. I keep the sweater on even as it warms up because it is nicer than the shirt, which at least has a collar. And the pants are brand new so you wouldn’t know they only cost me 14 dollars.


I used to complain to my dad about not liking suits, not wanting to wear them. He would say: Too bad.


Sitting in the white chair, running the edge of the program along the webbing between my fingers, I think about how when I was in college, a girl I hardly knew texted me:


I’m down to fuck. The year is ending soon. Thought I’d say something.


And then a few days later: Studying in the library but want to take a break.


So I texted back the number of my dorm.


When she got there we talked for a few minutes—fake talking for the sake of talking—then started making out. We took off our clothes. When I had my hands on her ribs she said: I don’t think I want to do this. So we lay down for a while, sort of touching each other.  Then we started making out again. Then I went down on her. Then I said: Do you want to fuck? And she nodded.


I think about this again while I’m driving home. And about the time I was with Jen and Jen’s friend, Tom, at a party. Tom said: You guys are hot, should we make out?  Jen and I laughed. Tom said: Hahaha, but I think we should all make out. Jen and I looked at each other and shrugged. Tom said: No, but seriously.


So Jen and I made out for a second and then Tom and Jen made out for a second and then Tom and I made out for a second.


And I said: Maybe let’s go outside.


And Tom said: We should totally go outside and make out.


And Jen said: Let’s find drugs.



One time I was listening to a show on the radio. Someone called in and said: I don’t need advice. I’m just lonely. I don’t think there’s anyone else in the world. I don’t think anyone else actually exists.


The host said: Of course people exist. Everyone exists. Come on. If you thought I didn’t exist, what would be the point of calling me? Why bother talking to me right now? I exist.


The caller said: I guess you’re right. I don’t know. I just decided to call. Thank you.


The host said: Sure. Next we have Kristen from Seattle. Sorry, Kirsten.



When I was little, I’d bubble snails with salt. One time I threw a cat into a creek.


I wouldn’t do that now.


There’s a lot I wouldn’t do now.


But even now, I don’t trust the things I think, or the opinions I hold, or the things I do.


A day later I’m like, why the hell did I think that? Why did I say that? Why did I do that?


Maybe it’s confidence, (inhibition, youth, freedom), that allows you to throw a cat into a creek.


Maybe we have to cripple ourselves with confusion and doubt.  Maybe that’s maturity.  Maybe it’s a trade.


Maybe we have to hurt ourselves in order to not hurt cats, or each other.



When I get home, Drew is on my couch and there’s a Lunchables next to him. He looks drunk or like he’s been crying. I think both. I take off the sweater.


He says: Jackie threw me out. She read my texts. I still have your key. I’m so dumb.


I say: Fuck.


He says: I know dude.


I say: You can definitely sleep here.


He says: Thank you.


I say: Can I see the texts?


So he shows me.


They’re just dumb texts, like, you’re really cool, let’s hang out.


I say: Can’t blame her.


He says: I know. I think I just want to fuck everyone.


I say: Yeah, well.


I pause.


I say: Well then maybe it’s good.



John Collector is a carpenter in New Orleans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *