Saturday, September 22, 2012

Is There Anything

The joke on my family is God is trying to end our genetic line. Three of us grandchildren are out homosexuals. My cousin and I came out to each other at the same time on a family vacation. We said we had secrets we wanted to tell, and we dicked around all afternoon trying to tell them. We resorted to pen and paper. I told my cousin I was gay, and she told me she was a lesbian. I was sad because I'd wanted us to check out guys together. Sometimes men would come by the dock in fishing boats or on jet skis and try to flirt with my oldest cousin. She's straight. The men were sometimes attractive and often shirtless, and I would have to write it down somewhere how hot I thought they were. One summer, a man with hairy legs accused me of trying to look up his shorts. He was not wrong.

My brother came out years later. In the extended family, there are even more gay cousins. Out of the three of us gay grandchildren, there's an assumption we'll never have children of our own. Someone in my family was telling me about raising kids, and they said, "But you'll never have to worry about that mess." It's something I let slide because I've never wanted kids. I'm lucky if I get home once a year. One year, though, I might show up with a kid. You never know. Next year, I'll show up with the book I wrote. I'll let you know how that goes, especially after my family sees the back cover. It's a sexy back cover. I told you I appreciate a man's hairy leg, and on this back cover there is a man's hairy leg.

Josh and I went to a bookstore tonight. There was a couple on a date. Go into any bookstore and there's a couple on a date. The woman had an armful of cheap DVDs. The man was taking books off the shelf and telling the woman she should read them.

He said, "Read the first page of that," and he put a book on her stack of DVDs.

She said, "Open it for me. I literally have no hands."

I looked to see. She had hands.

The man told her about more books.

She said, "Why don't you write?"

He said, "Because I can read."

The woman went to sit down and sort through her stack. She fanned everything out like she was playing cards. I looked back at the shelf and found a book one of my teachers wrote. It was on sale for a dollar. A mother and daughter were looking at cookbooks an aisle or two over. The daughter got excited about a cookbook with just recipes for rice and potatoes. The mother wanted to know if there were any recipes in there for sweet potatoes.

The daughter said, "Not as many as you'd think."

She started making fart noises with her mouth.

The mother said, "You can just tell me if you want to go."

The daughter said, "I want to go."

But they didn't leave. It is hard for some people to leave a bookstore.

Monday, September 10, 2012


There's been a document open on my desktop for a year and a half, and now that document is closed. I turned in my first book tonight. I was told by one of my editors to sit there quietly a few minutes after I pressed SEND and absorb what I'd just done. When I was through absorbing, I got up and went to the kitchen and ate a handful of cashews. I looked at the floor. I store onions on a shelf in a mesh bag, and the onion skins still escape the bag and get on the floor. If we talk about my book, and you say, "What's next?" I'll tell you I'm going to figure out a better way to store my onions. And then I'll say I'm going to write a novel.

Josh and I take walks most nights. It's getting a little cooler, and the large crickets are coming out. They sound like lizards in the dead grass. There's one block on our walk where people smoke on their porches and fan their faces and stare at us like we just stumbled onto their farmland. That's my favorite block.

I have a story in the last issue of Dark Sky, but Dark Sky closed before they could put up their last issue, so you can find my story at Barrelhouse. It's like when you see your friend with her ex, and she's drinking with him, and she's kissing him, and she sees you looking, and she says, "Shut up, Casey Hannan. It's complicated." 

I shaved off all my facial hair the other day. I looked in the mirror and said, "I look younger." Josh said, "No, you look older." I looked in the mirror again and I saw it, but that's OK.