T is for … The Tux

I was in my skivvies again when Jupiter barged in. This time I’d just taken off the pants of my new tuxedo – I was in the men’s fitting room having them adjusted.

“You’ve got to call off Harry,” she demanded, seemingly unaffected by my state of undress, which wouldn’t be mutual had I walked in on her in a similar state.

It took me a moment to shake the reverie from my head. “What do you mean, call off Harry?”

“Xav, I know you sent Harry after Bob. I think he might hurt him.”

I glanced at Jeeves, the manager of the store, who was looking on with interest. “It’s nothing,” I assured him.

“Harry’s got personal issues with Bob. I didn’t ask him to hurt him.”

Jeeves let out a snort and I gave him a dirty look.

“Well, I’m worried about Bob.”

“Why? He tried to kill me.”

“No he didn’t! First of all, he didn’t know you’re intolerant to pepper and second, it was Harry who sprayed the manuscript.”

The manager crossed his arms and glared at me. They both waited for me to speak, but it was my best friend who noticed whatever my face did to give me away because her fists went to her sides and her cheeks went the colour of her hair – bright red. Steam might also have come from her ears, as she screeched, “YOU KNEW!”

“I…”

“You knew it was Harry and yet you still let him go after Bob!”

“Jupiter, I…” I was going to say it was too late when I found out, but she cut me off again.

“Xavier you are such an asshole!” She turned to Jeeves. “He won’t be needing the tux. I’m not going anywhere with him!”

We both watched as she stomped out of the store. Jeeves turned to me and stared. His arms still crossed, supreme disappointment lined his brow.

“What?” I shrugged. “Give me the suit anyway. She’ll come around.”

He shook his head. I had to agree – this was going to be a tough one.

 

S is for … Serendipity

Bob rose with the sun on Tuesday morning, showered and donned his new aquamarine Adidas track suit. He packed a bag with regular clothes – all in a smaller size since he had decided to starve himself – and hopped in his car. On his way to the gym where Jupiter worked, he stopped by Al’s Cafe for a single slice of whole wheat toast while he waited for the waitress, Gloria, to finish her shift. Everything was in order. All was alliterated to an acceptable level. Tucked under the seat of his Tercel was Jupiter’s modified manuscript, bolstered and bettered by Bob.

There would be no disguises; Bob would come clean, with his friend Gloria by his side. He would hand the peppered-but-unpepper-sprayed pages to Jupiter and go into the gym for the full spa treatment.

When they arrived at the gym, they were surprised to see a celebration was in progress. CONGRATULATIONS! covered the wall behind the counter and when Jupiter turned, both Bob’s and Gloria’s jaws dropped, for she wore like a crown upon her head a paper plate, decorated with bows and ribbons.

“She’s getting married, isn’t that great?” said a slim blonde lady with a pony tail as she walked up to Jupiter and hugged her.

But Jupiter was staring at Bob. Did she recognize him? Before she could speak to confirm that she did, Harry the Horrible charged through the glass door behind them with a great roar and the front wall of the gym shuddered.

“I’m gonna get you!” he thundered at Bob, cowering under the giant shadow of Harry. But to everyone’s surprise, Gloria stood beside him to her full height, which was to Harry’s belly button.

“Don’t you dare!” she screeched. Bob glanced up over the arm he had raised above his head to see Gloria’s mole, glowing gloriously.

“Gloria?” said Jupiter.

“Gloria?” said Harry.

“He pepper-sprayed me!” Bob whimpered.

“He did?” said Jupiter.

“Yes! That’s what I came to tell you! And also to get a spa treatment,” Bob bravely replied.

“So it was your fault?” Jupiter stared at Harry, who was by then staring incredulously at her hat.

Harry’s brow furrowed as deeply, causing the very air to hum. “This isn’t over.” He glowered at Bob who peed himself a little and then turned tail and tromped back through the door.

Bob gathered his wits and signed himself up to join the gym. Barely noticing Jupiter, he handed her the doctored manuscript. Then Bob, newly in love, promenaded proudly in to the gym on the arm of the glorious Gloria.

 

R is for … Rumours

Monday night I was laying on my massage therapist’s table in nothing but my skivvies and a towel, having the knots kneaded out of my neck when Jupiter let herself into my apartment.

“You can’t come in here,” Bruce, my therapist said.

“What do you mean I can’t come in here? I practically live here?” Jupiter was pissed about something. I could see enough through the hole in the table where I rested my head that she had her hand on her hip.

“I mean,” Bruce said, imitating her, “that Xavier is just starting to relax and you’ll ruin everything I’ve done.”

“Okay, okay, break it up.” I was reluctant to look up. Not only was Bruce right, but it was kind of interesting to watch an argument from the waist down. “What do you want Jupiter?”

“We have to stop these rumours about you and I getting married.”

“You mean you’re not getting married?” Bruce said. He rested his hand on my bare shoulder and ruined everything he’d done. He sounded entirely not disappointed enough at the news.

“That doesn’t mean he’s available.” Jupiter to the rescue. Bruce snorted indignantly.

I figured I may as well roll over. “Why do we have to stop the rumour? It’s been working so well for us so far.”

“The people at work are planning a shower.”

“So? I need a new toaster.” I smiled but she didn’t smile with me.

“Okay fine. Tell them we’re not getting married. But can you wait just one more day? I’ve got Harry the Horrible doing a job for me and I don’t want him suddenly upset at the wrong guy.” I didn’t want him upset at me at all, but it was bound to happen. Best if he took care of Bob first. Maybe he’d have to leave the country.

“Fine,” Jupiter said, and turned to go. “I’ll leave you guys to your fun.”

Bruce smiled. I rolled my eyes as I rolled back over, wondering if I’d ever get back to the state I was in before Jupiter.

 

 

fly

if i close my eyes

and hear the air

exclude the sounds

of life’s breathing

activity

the hum of machines

the blasted noisemakers

humans and insects

and just

hear the air

the noiseless atmosphere

and see the black

behind closed eyes

i can

fly

Yang

The mysteries of your inner workings
Your yang to my yin
Tease me
Bring me to know there is no
Knowing you, really

As much as I can guess what you think
How your gears turn
Within
Inside your feelings are opposite
Yet he same

Your strength to my tears
Your determination to my
vulnerability
Not to say I’m not strong, you are
just more powerful

But I like it that way
I’m not afraid
to say
That your prickliness
turns me on

So when you tell me you understand
The way I think
I know
That you don’t really know yin
from your yang

Q is for … Quest for Harry

Since Jupiter was working at her new job at the gym, I thought I’d invite the notorious Harry the Horrible for breakfast at Al’s Cafe. The sun, which shone brilliantly on the door of the place, was blocked out momentarily reminiscent of an oncoming tornado when Harry walked in. Harry didn’t enter, he eclipsed.

He approached my table with his viking-like stomp and folded himself into the chair opposite me. It creaked in protest.

“What’ll it be, Harry?” Gloria chewed gum and ignored me. It had taken three napkins to soak up the coffee from my saucer. Even her mole looked disappointed in me.

“I’ll have the usual, Gloria.”

She nodded and he watched her rear-end waddle away.

“Xav!” He seemed surprised to see me. I hate it when anyone but Jupiter calls me that.

“Good morning Harry. I have a job for you.” Harry doesn’t do small talk and I wasn’t in the mood for it. He scratched his beard and waited for me to go on. I pulled out a picture of a skinny Bob and placed it on the table so he could see it. “See that guy?”

“I know him. He looks more like a stylized bowling ball with a hard-on for Gollum now, but that’s him alright. Want me to take care of him for you? I can squash him with one finger.”

I had too many questions to know where to start. How do you know him? What do you have against him? What the hell is wrong with him? Harry beat me to it.

“Bobby and I go way back. He actually had the nerve to get in my face about the Toronto Maple Leafs once.”

“I didn’t know you were a hockey fan.”

“I’m not.  But no one gets in my face.” He leaned forward enough to literally get in my face and I leaned back. I wouldn’t want to be Bob. “So what is your problem with the little twerp?”

“I just want him to stay away from Jupiter.”

“He’s bothering your fiance?” Gloria chose that moment to come back to the table with a plate of about a dozen eggs, fried and stacked. She retreated with a whimper. I needed to sit down and talk to that poor woman.

“Kinda.” Playing down Bob’s obsession suddenly seemed like a good idea. “What I’d like you to do is just intimidate him a little.”

Harry’s face was the colour of the ketchup he was pouring on his eggs. “I’ll kill the little prick.”

“I….”

“Don’t you worry, Xav. I’ll take care of him for you. I guess the pepper spray wasn’t good enough.”

“Wait… you sprayed him with pepper spray?”

“The guy pisses me off.”

“Why did you…”

“Some guys, you know?” Harry stabbed his fork clean through four of his eggs and shoved them whole into his gob. “Mfmembum mumchum.” Eggs flew everywhere.

I looked at my watch and took out my wallet to pay the tab. “Look, I’ve gotta go.  Let me know what I owe you.”

Before I could put my twenty down on the table he snatched it out of my hand and gave it back to me. “It’s on me.”

“I meant…” Did I really want to say the hit? “Never mind,” I said instead.

I could still hear him slurping up his eggs, and the faint sound of sobbing from behind the counter when I walked out the door.

 

 

 

P is for … Peppered to Taste

Well that backfired, thought Bob as he wiped his eyes. He’d spent hours adjusting Jupiter’s manuscript to read what he wanted it to say for her friend Xavier’s sake when his own archenemy, Harry the Horrible had broken in and pepper-sprayed him. Why Harry felt the need to use a weapon when the giant could have crushed him with a finger, Bob hadn’t a clue. He also hadn’t known so much had landed on the manuscript, and so he’d dropped it off anyway.

Now Jupiter hated him for putting Xavier in the hospital. She wouldn’t receive his phone calls, had blocked his blog from hers, and according to his new friend, the waitress Gloria, Jupiter and Xavier were getting married.

There was only one thing Bob could think to do. It was the third thing, and three was his lucky number, so it was sure to work.

Bob would go to the gym. The one where Jupiter worked.