Doug Paul Case
It was April, I think. When I woke before him, which happened often, I whispered “please don’t be balding” to his hairline. I had no proof that this method would work—or even if he was actually balding. I did it because I thought I really liked Harrison, despite our twenty year age gap, but would’ve rather jumped back in the closet than date a bald man. I didn’t understand how scalp could get so shiny, and I didn’t want to be in a situation where I might have to touch it.
We met at Gunner’s, the club where I dance. But don’t think this is one of those old-guy-rescues-the-thin-go-go-boy-in-aquamarine-briefs-for-a-life-of-comfort stories; I came on to him. I marched right up to where he was sitting at the bar and told Mikhail, the bartender, to give him a shot of Patrón. I couldn’t tell you why I did it—perhaps the adorable grays creeping into his goatee—but I was hooked when he told Mikhail to check my ID first, “though I don’t know where he’d keep it.”
Within two weeks I was spending most of my nights in his two-bedroom apartment; we slept in one and his cats in the other. At first I thought it was cute, a man of his age owning five cats, but I realized how sad it was the day his Russian hairless pissed in my gym bag. When I got to work I had to borrow a thong from Mikhail because no one had an extra pair of briefs and mine hadn’t dried in time. I hate dancing with my ass out; I wanted to set that cat on fire.
It was my night on the center stage, so I couldn’t even keep my back to the wall. I lost count of how many guys gave me a pinch or a slap. And there was Harrison: drinking a beer at the end of the bar, watching me work. He had this stupid grin on his face I hadn’t seen before.
When the song ended, I went over to him and said, “What the hell do you want?”
“You can’t blame her,” he said. “Your detergent smells like cat litter.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said.
“You look great in that. Let me buy you something.”
I didn’t need his money. I called Mikhail over and asked for two shots. I gulped the first down and tossed the second at Harrison’s crotch. He yelled something and I told him to go home to his pussies.
Maybe that wasn’t a good enough reason to stop seeing him, but it’s not like I could’ve taken him to meet my parents. Yes, I’d say, here’s the old queen I met at the club. Besides, I kind of liked it inside Mikhail’s thong. It was worth a shot.
Doug Paul Case recently graduated with a BFA in writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College. His work has appeared in PANK, decomP, Necessary Fiction, and others. This fall he will begin working toward his MFA in poetry at Indiana University.