For the month of March, I’m posting a piece of flash fiction—500 words or less—every Wednesday.
Laramie and Rudyard
Sometime around the end of the game, Laramie lost interest. Though the rules were complex, the art of spectating is an easy one to bluff, and Laramie could be convincing when called upon, to the point where even he himself had thought he was sincerely rapt. The spells we cast on ourselves, however, break harder and faster than most. Laramie, as if drunk, collapsed at last in laughter, and at the very height of overtime suspense, he stood up and briefly danced. Anger rippled through the stadium. Shouts came at him: Faggot, sit down! He couldn’t help it, he felt so all of a sudden much more feminine than Cleopatra.
Cleopatra was a queen who led a painful life. She suffered a series of heartbreaks—perhaps at the hand of Antony? The truth was Laramie knew nothing of the queen beyond the way her eyes were dramatized with kohl, similar to those of the athletes who now prowled the field. Laramie watched their asses, synthetically swathed and reflective, protruding in ways which in regular life, required the arching of backs. Faggot, sit down!
Rudyard, of course, had now been gone a very long time for someone who’d promised to return with beer. At which point, let’s pause to recall the awkwardness of Laramie in Rudyard’s room: that mattress in the midst of it, reputedly filled with water, that bed which must, at all costs, be skirted. That bed which must not be named.
The crowd—inexplicably—went wild. And Laramie rode this wave of joy like a cataract, cresting each ecstatic terrace on her way. This faggot is sitting down, she thought. This faggot is being carried, at last, to the vast expanse of Rudyard’s queen-sized bed.