Becoming A Couple by Timothy Gager

Friday, December 9, 2011

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After her marriage, which featured a pregnancy, a miscarriage, both physical and emotional abuse, an eating disorder and a divorce, Calvin went over to Danielle’s ex’s house and tasered him with a device he purchased on Craig’s List for $450. “This is what love is,” Cal shouted as the man writhed on the ground like a dog scratching an itch on a rug.

Later, she said, “No, it’s not love because you needed to sing me my song, ‘Surrey with the Fringe on Top’ while doing it.” “Oh, got it,” Cal said and looked up where Oklahoma might be playing nearby, but he didn’t find the show. The closest was a two and a half hour drive to the tip of West Virginia. He bought two tickets for the weekend, and for the next few days imagined his hand on her tan skin, sliding them inside her favorite ripped jeans; and them sitting together waiting for that song, the one that meant love.

“This means nothing,” she said after she found out, so Cal drove there anyway, got up on stage and tasered the actor, out of spite.

After he was released from jail he went to see her. “Your love is ridiculous. If you’re trying to impress me, I’m just a very simple girl. I want to laugh, I want to watch TV, I want Diet Coke. I want sex five times a day.”

Cal knew what love was and withdrew every cent he had in the world. He then drove to Costco. It was the most urgent, important thing he had ever done in his life. He bought a wide screen TV, and three shopping carts full of Diet Coke. He practiced saying funny things into a mirror and when he arrived at her house the next day, she laughed at his jokes as he set up the TV. When it was up and running he stuck his penis inside her and stayed there for ten days. When she had to work, she wore a large skirt to hide him under. She squirmed in her chair at the office and people pretended not to notice. People generally don’t know what to say about a sudden weight gain and butts becoming larger.

Cal didn’t care, he was into her. “I’ve got the best part of you,” she whispered over her shoulder and he pumped into her one time quickly in approval.

When ten days were over, Cal went soft. “I can’t do this all the time,” he said. “I can only be me. I’m good and I’m funny, and I have a giant heart; big only for you. That’s so obvious that the salesman at Costco wanted to cut up my heart into a million hearts and sell them as bulk items for you to use for the rest of your life.”

She shook her head, “Ummmm, tell me something simpler.”

“I’m a great cook.”

“I have an eating disorder,” she responded.

“Start with food,” he said. “It’s the simplest thing to repair.” She nodded and Cal saw through her eyes, her inner soul and became hard again. Cal took her hand and led her into her kitchen and kissed her on the lips. She laughed her sweet laugh that released some of her doubt. “You can do this,” he said.

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Timothy Gager is the author of eight books of short fiction and poetry. His latest Treating a Sick Animal: Flash and Micro Fictions (Cervena Barva Press) features over forty stories, many previously published in various literary magazines. He has hosted the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts every month for the past ten years and is the co-founder of Somerville News Writers Festival.

His work has appeared in Night Train, McSweeneys, Hobart, Twelve Stories, Word Riot, Skive, Dogzplot, Six Sentences, 55 Word, Monkeybicycle, The Binnacle, Thieve’s Jargon, Long Short Story, Zygote in My Coffee, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Slurve, Poor Mojo’s Almanac, Tuesday Shorts, The Legendary, VerbSap, The Smoking Poet, Write This Magazine, Further Fenway Fiction, The Blood Orange Review, Poems for All, Right Hand Pointing, GUD, Boston Poetry Journal (Bad Ass Edition), Edifice Wrecked, Blue Print Review, Barnstorm, Lit Up Magazine, Spare Change, Delmarva Review, Third Lung Review, Poesy and Ibbetson Street . He has had over 200 works of fiction and poetry published since 2007, eight of which have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

© 2011, Metazen.

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