December 24, 2011

It’s A Black Celebration

This happened ten years ago tomorrow. Enjoy.

We All Look So Perfect As We All Fall Down

I watched the bleak emptiness of Church Street, the rain hitting the brick road that welcomed tourists and drunks on weekends and summers. I opened my journal with the Dashboard Confessional sticker on the black hardcover, started writing.

“Merry Christmas. What can I get you started with?” My server wore cat’s eye glasses, a Wonder Bra that made her breasts like the embryos from Alien wanting to burst their way out of her Hooters t-shirt but couldn’t. I turned my head only, kept my pen hovered over the empty page.

“A Coke, please.” I turned back to the journal, started writing again. Adam Sandler yelled about something. The big screen TV cut to a scene where him and a little boy pissed on an alley.

***

Ticketmaster wasn’t expecting me to be back at my cubicle at a specific time. I worked my eight hours answering e-mails about why people wanting to switch tickets because the ones they got two hours after onsale were better than the ones they got three minutes after onsale. Between e-mails, I macked women I stumbled onto on Yahoo Profiles. Four months after I graduated college and I still worked as an e-customer representative. What did I do wrong?

***

“Here you go.” The cat’s eye glasses wearing server returned with a giant plastic glass of Coke. She asked what I wanted (burger and fries) then headed to the kitchen to place my order. I knew she shook her ass in the way Hooters girls are taught to shake their asses in the orientation video but I was too busy writing.

***

Since Ticketmaster authorized part-time employees to work overtime, I worked two or three 16-hour shifts a week, making a lot of money and keeping me out off my mother’s crosshairs. She wasn’t as mean to me when I woke up on the futon in the room that my younger brother and I shared since I was out working so hard, working like she’d want her 22-year-old son with a college degree to work while he still lived at home.

***

My server brought back a basket of burger and fries, placed it gently away from my journal.

“What are you writing?”

I should have said “A poem about you” because I wanted to have her phone number, to take her out some time and talk over drinks about our jobs and how we hated them and stumble drunkenly back to her place where I cover her mouth so her roommates don’t hear us. “Some ideas.”

“Are you a writer?”

“Yeah, I am.” Her boredom, my awkwardness killed the conversation. I shut the journal, ate the fist of bun and meat bit by bit. I fought the urge to leave my phone number on the final receipt before I left, heading back to Ticketmaster until the next morning to answer more angry customer service e-mails and not think of home.

This is the entry in the aforementioned journal I wrote originally about having Christmas dinner at Hooters. Happy Holidays!

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About J. Bradley

J. Bradley's is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at iheartfailure.net.

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