There are two types of crushes: a) the type where you instantly long for her from first sight. Every fiber in your body screams, “I want. I want.” There’s no rationale. No thought. Just desire. b) the type that grows on you. At first glance she wasn’t someone you found special, but over time (whether it’s a couple weeks, a month, or a year) she found her way onto your radar.
Autumn is type b.
The first time I saw her was when my production leader introduced her in my shop; she was transferring from a neighboring one. I noticed her dyed blue hair. Her piercings. Adam Karr told me about how she liked Pokémon and Anime. He was completely smitten over her. His description: She’s my dream girl.
“Are you into Smurf porn?” I asked.
What I didn’t say was how the first girl I ever really liked broke my fucking heart. That this is where I learned everything you could ever hope for, dream about, and strive for means shit in the end. This is where I learned nice guys finish last.
Brad with his steroid build and low IQ said the line I’ve heard him say over a hundred times in relation to girls: “I’d fuck her.”
Really, the thought that etched into my mind was: She’s not my type. Maybe I don’t really have a type, but I knew this girl with bright unnaturally blue hair was not it.
How she came onto my radar is somewhat of a mystery to me. I just want to make it clear it wasn’t a movie type of love-at-first sight kind of moment. She didn’t “have me at hello.”
I don’t think life is a like a movie. I’d rather think of my life like it’s a porno.
Back to Autumn: I guess I was tired of being the quiet kid who has no friends. At school I was always the kid sitting at his own lunch table in the cafeteria, the kid that nobody wanted to commiserate with. If you’d go back further, in elementary school I was always the last kid picked to be on any sports team. I’d say that all of this has changed over the course of the 25 years of my life, but that would be a lie.
I started sitting next to Autumn and other people on break. I wasn’t trying to single her out of the group.
At first Autumn and I felt each other out. We kept the conversations casual. Boring work-related shit.
Our first real conversation:
Me: This place makes me want to kill myself.
Autumn: How would you do it?
Me: I’d use a shotgun, like Ernest Hemingway.
Autumn: I think that’d be difficult, plus you might mess it up and blow off half your face.
Me: I’ll find another way. I don’t like belts (I think it has something to do with not liking the smell of leather—even though, yes, belts can be made out of other materials, but it’s the first thought that comes to mind) so I don’t think I could Robin Williams my way out of life. A gun seems like the logical solution.
Autumn: You’re so negative.
Me: I’m fully aware.
Autumn: [Smiling.] I’ll have to teach you to be optimistic.
And this is where it was: that faint little fucking glimmer of hope, whether it’s realistic or not. This was when I realized Autumn was somebody worth talking to.
Heil Form, Inc.!
Working at Form, Inc. reminds me of being at home when I was a child. I don’t say this because it makes me feel warm comfortable feelings. I say this because I’m touched in places I don’t want to be and sodomized on a daily basis.
On my way into work I see a semi coming to pick up a shipment of lovely bumpers assembled here by the good people of Form, Inc. I don’t stop for cars when I walk into the building. Some people think this is just reckless, and I don’t pay attention—the truth is I don’t care if I’m run over by a truck. I would rather die out here, breathing in the fumes of freedom.
“Safety, safety, safety,” is the first words our team leader, Steve—who I should mention used to work on the same line as me—echoes. (These are the exact words our former supervisor started the day with. And I’m sure the next supervisor who takes Steve’s place will start each day with as well.) His job is to make sure we’re safe, producing parts our customers want, and making enough of these parts.
Form doesn’t care about our safety because they want us to lead healthy natural lives with all of our limbs. Form cares about our safety because work injuries are fucking expensive. They told us this in orientation. So when you selfishly get hurt, you’re not only hurting yourself but also minimizing company profits. And nobody wants to take away from company profits.
This is the part of the day where I try to do some visualization that centers around a life that doesn’t so closely resemble my own. I fantasize about being the replacement for Hugh Heffner, living in the Playboy mansion, smoking cigars, and rocking that bathrobe like a champ. I think about being ridiculously rich and never having to step foot in Form or any place like it. Or I think about how I wish I had a job with my degree and wasn’t making bumpers. Then I think about how if I did have a job with my degree I’d probably be in some fucking office and miserable anyway.
“We need enough parts to make shipment by 7 pm,” Steve says. He names off where everybody is going. “Shane, you’re going to be in rears today.” Normally, I’m on my own machine. And I like it like this—nobody fucking bothers me.
But I’m their bitch.
There are two main lines: Fronts and Rears. We make bumpers for a major car company. The good news: Autumn’s in Rears.
“Let’s make it happen!” Steve yells.
We raise our right arms and march to the glove locker to get our gloves and you can almost hear the sound of the tanks and the crushing of souls as the day ensues.
I realize the only reason I think Autumn is cute is because of Propinquity—we tend to like people closer to us, working with us, in the same neighborhood, rather than, say, someone in China who we have never met before (go fucking figure)—and remind myself that she’s not that special.
She’s standing right in front of me.
“Which boobs do you think are the best?”
“We were discussing breasts and which ones are better.” She makes a shape with her hand. I think about how she’s trying too fucking hard to be the cool girl and this conversation sounds forced, but nonetheless it’s cute in a way that she’s trying.
Breasts are a topic beloved among my male peers since the middle school era. Our interest and curiosity in them peaked at this time; in high school our interest in breasts was second to our intense interest in this organ called the vagina. I’ve commonly heard the pear shape, C-cups, firm and big, but not too droopy, are the preferred cup size.
Honestly, I’m not that experienced and I’ve only slept with eight girls—five of which had their breasts exposed during the act (and if I think about it I’ve only felt one other girl’s breasts. Tiffany senior year of high school when I was still a virgin and I told her she didn’t have any breasts. She told me she did and to feel. I obliged and copped my first feel of female breasts), so to say my area of expertise is vast would be an overstatement.
“So, which is the best size?” Autumn asks.
“I don’t have a preference. I have dated a girl with D-cups and a girl with B-cups.”
Crystal, my ex-girlfriend who I was with for three years, had D-cups. Alexis, my fling of one year, had B-cups.
I remind myself that the only reason I like Autumn’s pale skin and facial structure is because she’s the only remotely attractive girl around. Even though lately she glows. And if this was a movie this is the part where I’d daydream about her on a car or some other stupid shit. But this is my porno so I think about what her ass would feel like in my hands.
“You want to fuck Autumn?” Adam Karr asks, looming over me. The irony of Adam Karr: he’s this big huge black guy who looks like he could beat the shit out of just about anybody, but he whines worse than most girls.
“You should,” he says. “Autumn is perfect. I want to fuck her.” And here’s where he acts like he’s this caring sensitive guy, but really he’s like all of us: he has a functioning penis. What I don’t say is that I’m starting to think about Autumn in a non-sexual way as well—the in-betweens of my porno where I wonder what flavor of gum is her favorite and if she prefers sour patch kids or skittles (I’ve seen her consume both with relative frequency)—because this is shit guys aren’t supposed to say.
“Perfection doesn’t exist.”
“I doubt you’re even capable of loving anybody.”
“Love? What is this word you speak of?”
When break time comes, I’m already in a pissy mood— it feels like every day is exactly the fucking same, from the hum of the machines, the crunching of the presses, the buzz of the welders, to all of the people and the dirty slave-labor conditions of Form.
I sit down next to Autumn and Quinn. He’s this kid who has the typical stoner vibe about him—long black hair, vacant eyes, and he always talks about how he used to live in Cali (and I don’t know why the fuck he decided to move back to Michigan)—but doesn’t sound like he’s fried too many brain cells from LSD, but looks like he’s had his fair share of “life changing experiences” while “chemically induced.”
“How’s it going?” Autumn asks. Her hair is now bright green, and I have to admit the look is better for me than the Smurf look.
“If I said this place didn’t make me plan out my suicide in more detail every day I’d be lying.”
“I understand why you want to die now,” she says.
Truer words have not been spoken. Form—the place where dreams are shattered, souls are crushed, and happiness is not a thought, let alone a possibility. Everyone’s concerned about war and hunger in third world countries; this is the where the focus should be.
“We should form a suicide pact,” Autumn says.
“I’m in,” Quinn says.
“We’re not going to do shrooms or OD on acid,” I say.
“Shut the fuck up. I haven’t done drugs, haven’t even smoked pot, since I was hired in.”
“How do we go about this?” I ask Autumn.
“We have to plan a way for us to all go.”
“We have to make it unique.”
“I’ll shoot you,” Autumn says, “Quinn will shoot me, and you shoot Quinn. In a circle.” And she makes us do a simulation.
“You would want to shoot me.”
The first girl I ever really liked was when I was fucking 16. Her name was Kendall. I liked everything about her from her dark brown hair to big doe brown eyes to her cool fucking name.
I didn’t just like the fact that she was cute; she was nice. Genuinely nice. People flocked around her. She was liked.
One day we were waiting outside of the door for Geometry. We were the only two people there. She was sitting down, ripped jeans, with a tanned knee sticking out, reading a book. “It’s locked,” she said before I even opened the door.
I sat down across from her.
“Do you like this class?” she asked.
“I think Mr. Tanner secretly has a thing for his male students. This problem’s going to get a bit messy. Or, Taylor, some of your best work is done in the dark.”
Kendall started laughing uncontrollably.
“You’re funny. And cute.” I swear her eyes fucking twinkled. It was like she thought I was somebody special. My confidence soared and I walked around in a haze the next couple of days and started actually talking to her. After a month of walking her to her locker, discussing every movie in Mr. Jones class in detail, and eating lunch together, I knew I liked her or had a “crush” on her.
Finally I had my game plan fucking figured out. What I wanted: To go on a date with Kendall (even though now I fucking hate dates)—my mind was filling in ideas of her being my girlfriend, wearing my sweatshirts around, walking the channel on Sunday by Lake Michigan. I knew what I had to do. I had to ask her out.
We were chatting the whole walk back to her locker—what we talked about I don’t remember; I just remember feeling the sweat on my neck, feeling my heart pulse, and worrying she’d think I was a fucking idiot—she stopped at her locker, locker #48, cornflower blue, right by Mrs. Dawson’s Home Ec class and looked up at me with those big brown doe eyes.
Whenever I need to psych myself up to do something I count to three. But I find if I do the full count I end up backing out; so I do whatever it was I wanted to do on two.
One . . . two . . .
“Kendall, will you go out with me?”
“What?” An almost panicked look was on her face.
“Will you go out with me, like on a date?” God, what a fucking idiot.
“I, ehh. . .” She looked down, uncomfortable. “I just don’t really like you like that you know? I think you’d make a good friend.”
I wanted to crash my car into a fucking tree.
Aside—I’m a Nihilist
This is the part where I look at the camera—it’s just me—and I’m in some blank room, there’s no music playing and I talk about what I’m thinking, feeling, or some other bullshit. Think reality T.V., except a better version than Real World or [insert name of popular reality T.V. show at the moment] will ever be.
I’m really opening up. There’s no dialogue (although maybe the filmmaker will play some random clip to back up whatever I’m whining about), and the plot isn’t progressing. And if this is my movie and it’s a porno, think of what it would be like watching the action, and the camera goes to the male, fully clothed, just sitting there and talking. Please note the novelty here. In my porno it’s not just about fucking.
Let me set the record straight:
I’m a nihilist.
This means I know anything I (or anybody else for that matter) can ever do, say, think, dream, or feel in life means nothing in the scheme of things. Life is just a bunch of random events and we try to make sense of them by forging imaginary connections so it feels meaningful. People say, “Everything happens for a reason.” Or talk about god’s “plan” when shit goes wrong. It’s because they can’t grasp that maybe it’s just a confusing world where nothing makes sense. And I don’t have all the answers. Like the BIG QUESTIONS of how we got here, the origin of it all, if we’re products of stardust, some sort of evolution; I just know I don’t think there’s a little kid standing over us like we’re a fucking board game or a Lego set screaming at us telling us exactly how we should act. If so, I think this little kid is a fucking idiot. The creator should re-arrange the structure of everything. Not necessarily make it all so clear-cut and shit, but eliminate some of the unnecessary bullshit like babies dying, AIDS, genocide, etc.
But what do I know? I just know the world I know and everything in it is bullshit. (Don’t mistake this and think I’m happy about this fact; I’m saying it more like, “Hey, we received thirteen inches of snow today and there is a blizzard.” And here in Michigan it does fucking snow.) I’m reporting on the facts. What actually happens and exists, not making a complete fabrication.
This is reality.
Anything you can accomplish will be forgotten. When you die people might remember you, but over time those people will die and oblivion won’t do justice when describing your imprint on the world.
To sum up life in three simple words: It’s all bullshit.
It all started with a cigarette. People scoff at smokers, wrinkle their nose, and say something condescending like, “You’re going to die of lung cancer.”
But I don’t have it in me to hate smokers, to hate smoking, or to wish cigarettes never existed. Put simply: without cigarettes I wouldn’t be here.
My mom was a nurse in Berlin, Germany and my dad was in the army; they met at a club (the Riverboat).
“Can I have a Kool?” my mom asked.
“Will a Marlboro do?”
And this is where my David fucking Copperfield story begins. I guess we could talk about my Opa (my real Opa, my mom’s dad) who died when my mom was eight who I remind my Oma of—who she’s still in love with after all these years—or how my great grandma refused to hang a picture of Adolf Hitler in her apartment during World War II, and said, “That man is going to ruin this nation,” but if I really want to pinpoint an exact origin of my story, this is where it starts: In a town thousands of miles away from where I currently live, where they speak Deutsch, a language I barely understand, even though this wasn’t where I was conceived (my mom followed my dad back to Michigan) and I was born on a clear spring day in the great year of 1989—two monumental things happened this year: 1) The Berlin wall, the wall that divided a nation between East and West, (my mom lived on the West side) was torn down, and 2) I was born. But if you would go back to where it all began, it was with this one interaction, which backs up my original claim: It all started with a cigarette.
I’ve visited Berlin a total of seven times (when I was one, six, eleven, fifteen, eighteen, twenty-one, and twenty-five). I just came back from my latest trip a couple of weeks ago. Each time I go there I feel this overwhelming sense of hope. Maybe it’s because everything’s so different—from their narrow streets, with their small cars, to the cobblestones on the sidewalks, or to the fact that it’s not uncommon to leave the house at 11am and see a construction worker pounding cobblestones into the sidewalk with a hammer while sipping a beer in the other.
I love the hustle and bustle of a city that’s already alive from the second you wake up. It’s almost like you can disappear, so insignificant, you can get lost in it (but in a good way, like you’re actually free).
I like the smells, the street vendors (the currywurst). The Bäckereien with their daily fresh Brötchen. Spitzkuchen. And my favorite: Gefilte Schnecke. There are a couple of flower stands on my way to my Oma’s. I love their public transportation system, the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn. I love how the outskirts are busy but manageable and downtown Berlin is crowded; you can move faster walking than driving. But it’s like there’s still room to breathe, it’s not suffocating the way American big cities are.
It’s a city that’s alive.
It’s weird, but Berlin feels more like home than anywhere I have ever been. I’m German. When I say this, I know every American will say, “I’m German too.” What they mean when they say this is, “I’ve been trained my whole life to say that I am [insert name of relative European heritage] too, but in your case it’s minus all the Nazi shit (and I will bring this up later).”
What I mean is I am over 50% German. I have more Deutsches blut in me than your mixed mutt American blood. Sure, I have that too from my dad’s side, but my mom grew up in Germany, her native tongue is German, she lived there the first 21 years of her life, and my Oma still lives there and has lived there all her life (and she speaks little English; I speak little German, as a result communication can be difficult).
I don’t identify myself as American. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean I’m part of al-Qaeda or that I want Nazi Germany to regain power.
Not that I dislike Americans. I get it: they want to assimilate to everybody else’s culture and identify themselves with everybody else—like on St. Patrick’s day they’re all Irish—because they have no real culture of their own.
I’m a Family Man
I fucking hate my family. I say this with the utmost conviction. Just not to their faces. My extended family has become a mess. My aunts fight, my parents dropped out after they found Jehovah, and everybody acts like you owe them something when they’ve given you nothing but a headache in the first place.
I mow my grandma’s yard; it’s leaf season. This means the yard needs to be mowed.
“Make sure you check the oil, Shane,” she yells through the screen door. Picture the stereotypical old person voice. Imagine it now sounding like she’s been through years of heavy smoking. (Even though she was never much of a smoker.)
“I will, grandma.”
I zone out and think about Autumn while I mow. I know this is the first stage of my infatuation with her. She’s the girl I’ll think about when my mind starts to wander and I’ll wonder what she’s like. This has been the case over the past couple of weeks.
I start to wonder what Autumn looks like naked. My perverted mind wanders into the gutter and I think about her on my bed.
Me on top of her.
Then I wonder what shampoo she uses. I wonder if she likes sleeping on the bed side closest to the wall or the closest to the door (Crystal preferred the wall side; Alexis preferred door side).
“Make sure not to miss that spot over in the corner by the tree,” my grandmother says. She’s standing eerily close to the mower. “Last time you missed it.”
“Thanks, Grandma.” I try to sound chipper.
I think about how mowing this yard (or any yard on this block, in this city, in America) is fucking pointless. Almost everything we do is pointless. We just go through the motions. Tell ourselves we’re happy. Or say we’re satisfied. This is as good as it gets. Just got to get a wife, settle down, have a house, cars, a bunch of useless shit, and then kids so we can feel some kind of malevolent sense of pride, so we know what it feels like to play god.
Someday I might get married when I’ve given up on life. Then I can vicariously live through my children and cram my failed dreams down somebody else’s throat.
“Want to come in for a ginger ale?” Grandma asks when I’m done mowing.
I wish by “ginger ale” she meant “beer,” but I know she literally means a ginger ale.
We sit in her living room and I’m aware of the old people stench, the indistinguishable smell of decaying flesh. The same smell that accompanies any church I’ve been to, because if you put that many old people in one place the smell saturates, materializes, and that’s all the place will ever smell like.
Some reality show is on the T.V and my grandma talks about it. I nod and try to smile.
Then there’s that awkward silence. Maybe it’s the generation gap. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert. Maybe it’s because no matter what I say right now I’m depressed by the fact that one day (unless I croak early) my life will come to this. And I’ll be an old person obsessed with my yard watching Jeopardy all day.
“You’ve put on some weight,” my grandma says.
She likes to notice when I put on weight. She said the same line to me when I came back from college.
Right now—all the schnapps, the Hefweizens and all the other bier, and the good Essen—I’m bigger because of my trip to Germany. But I know this. And I know a diet is in order.
At least this time she didn’t say, “I can see it in your face.”
Meaning my face looked like a chipmunks face. Or my face, my fucking fat face, ate another normal person’s face, and my obesity is reflected through my face.
Last summer I lost weight. Grandma didn’t say anything when I lost the weight.
“Do you have a girlfriend yet, Shane?” she asks. This has been something she’s been very adamant about: my girlfriend-less life ever since Crystal and I officially split three years ago. Once, she asked me, Did she leave you? Was there somebody else? I didn’t say, “No, grandma. I left Crystal because I wasn’t feeling the relationship. After I left her I had sex with a 19 year old, Alexis, and had an on-and-off affair with her for a year. Then I proceeded to go back and forth between fucking both of them.”
But I didn’t introduce Alexis to the family. Not even to my parents. And if I think about it: I don’t plan on introducing anybody else to the family unless we’re engaged. This basically means never.
“You are . . . interested in girls, aren’t you Shane?” What she’s really asking by this question is:Hey, Shane, you don’t like to give blowjobs in bathroom stalls to men in the middle of nowhere, do you?
“Yes, grandma.” I let out a sigh.
I go to my parents for dinner—like I am invited to do so occasionally ever since I moved out—before their weekly Bible study every Wednesday at 7:30pm. They live half a mile away from my grandma, and I think they secretly hope I will move within a mile of them as well so we can create generations of children living in a dangerously close proximity of each other.
While my mom’s preparing dinner I go in the basement, an isolated part of the house that neither of my parents care for. There’s an old T.V. in one corner—one of those kinds that existed before T.V.’s became flat pancakes; this T.V. has motherfucking girth and anybody who would try to steal it would have a bitching time getting it out of the house—and under this T.V. we have a VHS player. It can’t get anymore old school than this. And then there’s the collection of tapes: The tapes of my family (some go back to my childhood, but my favorite are of my cousin, Trevor, when he was little). The only reminder of how we used to be a normal, or at least somewhat normal (maybe a little bit too reserved) family.
I pull out a tape titled, “Summer 2004.”
I see my fifteen-year-old self is not a master with the video recorder—it’s like when my mom records. There’s the carpet, the ceiling, in focus, out of focus. “It’s all dark, I don’t understand why.” “Mom you forgot to take the lens cap off.”
Right now it’s summertime. I haven’t had my first job yet. I can’t even fucking drive yet. And haven’t even had my first kiss and I’m self-conscious about this. Like all of the other kids had theirs near the slides in elementary school or by the marry-go-around, but I’m the loser. The one who doesn’t know anything about girls. And this feeling will continue well into my young adulthood.
I’m also slightly depressed, or think I am, or maybe I’m just confused. But right now I’m happy. I’m with Trevor, my little cousin who visited me from Missouri. And right now he is two.
He’s so small. Trevor. I remember holding him once when he was a baby and I was 12. This is when he lived in Colorado. He was so tiny, so fragile. I only held him once when he was a baby, the first day we arrived, because I got a cold the next day and babies can’t handle being sick because of how small they are and their bodies are still developing.
Right now he just turned two a few months ago.
He has a weird understanding of aging. One time his mom mentioned hockey. He said, “When I was bigger I played hockey. This is when Shane was smaller.”
I was there when he started walking at one. Those awkward little steps. Then he would fall. We had a tickle war in the car. And he would just look at me with those big brown eyes.
I remember thinking about how I wanted a kid and I wanted my kid to be just like him. I guess this is how my aunt—his mom—felt when my mom had me.
Trevor looks at the camcorder.
Both of us are in focus. I’m recording us and I show him the camcorder. “See, this is us.”
I make the camcorder spin around the room, the floor, the ceiling.
“Do it again!”
Both of us are closer to the camcorder as I zoom in.
“Bah!” Trevor says. He kisses the lens.
He’s rocking the camcorder and singing, “Shaney baby, Shaney bab-ee!!”
“I’m not a baby; you’re a baby,”
He looks serious for a second. “Shane, why do like cording and taking picture?”
“I do it so someday I can remember when you were like this.”
“Someday I’m going to be big like you,” he says.
“Someday you might be even bigger.”
But right now he’s two. And I want him to stay like this forever.
The home-cooked meal of crescent roles, corn on the cob, and chicken cordon bleu, almost makes me wish I was living at home.
“Jehovah, we thank you for this meal in front of us. Please help us learn more about you and your intentions through the bible . . .” My dad begins.
I remember when it used to be the Everett Family Prayer.
Come Lord Jesus/Be our guest/Let this food to us be blessed/Amen.
Ever since my parent’s “came into the truth” they know their god wants them to pray to him using his first name—while I think the fact that their god has a name, sounds even more Pagan than people who celebrate all of the Pagan days they are no longer allowed to celebrate: a) Christmas, b) Thanksgiving, c) Easter, or d) Birthdays.
I don’t come around as much as I used to. If I said their religion wasn’t a dividing force in our unstable nuclear unit, I would be lying.
They’ll try to hand me their “literature,” but I refuse to read it. I’m not saying I don’t believe in their “Jehovah” (or any other deity for that matter); I’m just saying I find the probability of their Jehovah, the various other forms the Christian god takes, or Pink Unicorns, all equally probable. If I told them this they would immediately demand a spirit cleansing session of some sort suggested by their religious mentors Betsy and Dave—their mentors that guided them into “the truth.” Joining their religion is on my To-Do List.
It’s right after: Slitting my own throat.
We eat our dinner in relative silence, while they ask me the random questions people feel necessary to carry on a dinner conversation. How’s work? Seeing anybody new? Etc.
The phone rings. My mom—the same person who refused to answer the phone for her own sister at dinnertime—jumps up. “It might be Betsy,” she says, sprinting towards the receiver.
I never realized the severity of their religion until I came back from college. Changes were evident:
1) Wednesdays means bible study.
2) Thursdays means Kingdom Hall (the equivalence in the typical Christian religion would be a church).
3) Sundays means Kingdom Hall again.
4) All they talk about is Betsy and Dave and people who attend Kingdom Hall.
My dad’s mom lives less than half a mile away. They haven’t seen her in well over a month—they refused her Fourth of July invitation because they weren’t allowed to celebrate American patriotism (not that I even think America is a great country to begin with), or anything else for that matter unless it specifically says to in the bible.
I’m late leaving, and on my way out I see Betsy and Dave pull up. I look at the living room—all neatly vacuumed and cleaned like my mom does anytime she has guests over, and the couch looks extra neat—and smile. I take pride in knowing I fornicated in the same place Betsy & Dave study the Bible every week. (Pick either couch, it doesn’t alter this fact.)
As I’m walking to my car I see Betsy and Dave.
“Hi,” Betsy says with a big fake smile.
It takes every ounce of self-control I have not to strangle her.
“Hi,” I say.
Dave greets me. He has a lazy eye. Pretty much if you go to any Kingdom Hall, you’re bound to run into a bunch of weird-ass people. And you can’t help but wonder what was so horrible in their lives that it came to this.
“Have a good study session,” I say, smiling—gaining silent satisfaction in knowing that Betsy/Dave will be dead in the next 15 years.