A short story, loosely based on a dream I had this morning:
“She made me blind,” Reynolds insisted, and at first they all laughed at him.
“It was only for about ten minutes,” he added.
“How do you know?” Ernie said.
“Because I couldn’t fucking see,” Reynolds snapped. The boys were gathered at their usual table at the Wing Stop on Central. There was hockey blaring on all the big screens except the one showing two sweaty tattooed fucks in a cage kicking the shit out of one another.
“What is it with the fucking gladiators?” Penn asked no one in particular. The boys ignored him as usual.
“She made me blind,” Reynolds said again, “because she didn’t want me looking at her daughter.”
“You were looking at her daughter?” Skippy took off his glasses and wiped them on his shirt because talking made him nervous.
“Was she hot?” Ernie again the only one making sense.
“I don’t know!” Reynolds shouted and slammed his palm on the table, barely missing a paper tub of carrot sticks and ranch dressing. “I didn’t fucking see her, because the bitch made me blind.”
“Maybe calling her a bitch wasn’t the best,” Skippy stammered before Reynolds looked right at his face which made him shut his hole and wipe his glasses again. Reynolds enunciated carefully.
“I didn’t call her anything,” he said slowly. “I just sat down at the table. She was there and she had brought her daughter, girl maybe fifteen, I don’t know. I barely caught a glance. Next thing I know, I was totally fucking literally blind. I could not see. Capiche? Buh-lind!”
“How do you know it was ten minutes?” Ernie ventured once more into the literal breach.
“About ten minutes, okay? Jesus!” Reynolds was sweating. Shouldn’t have ordered the super hot sauce, big guy, he scolded himself.
“She asked me some questions, you know, the reason I was even there, and that was it. Ten minutes, maybe five, I don’t know for sure. All I know is, after she left, I mean after they left, all at once I could see again.”
“That’s crazy talk,” Penn said, but he was referring to the way the hockey announcer was always saying that “the puck can be played” instead of “is played”.
“Where’d that guy learn English, anyway? Canada?”
“Yeah, Canada,” Ernie snorted. “He’s a fucking Canadian all right? It’s a fucking hockey game for fuck’s sake.”
“Bunch of fucking losers,” Reynolds muttered.
“You, what?” Skippy said, crunching on a carrot stick.
“Canadians,” Reynolds waved his arm around, “it’s THEIR fucking game and they never fucking win it! When’s the last time some Canadian team won the cup, huh? Like, twenty years ago? It’s statistically ridiculous.”
“Makes perfect sense,” Ernie answered calmly, mouth full of greasy bird. “They don’t have to field a decent team in order to sell out games, sell merchandise, clean up on TV rights. So why bother? Might as well spend a little, make a lot, and keep it going. Winning would be beside the point.”
“You don’t know what it’s like,” Reynolds shook his head. Ernie, sitting directly across from him in the booth, grabbed another wing off the plate they were sharing.
“I’ve been shit-faced drunk and blind,” Ernie mentioned. “So I think I have some idea.”
“They were sitting right there, right in front of me, just like you are now,” Reynolds said. “I could see her, Rosalind, the HR woman, but soon as I turned to check out the girl, BAM! Totally blind.”
“If she can do that,” Ernie wondered, “why the fuck is she wasting her life away in HR? What’d you have to meet her for, anyway? You been saying inappropriate shit in the office again?”
“What do you mean ‘again’?” Reynolds leaned forward. Ernie held up his palms.
“Just a joke, son.”
“Hitachi wants a raise so she wanted my opinion,’ Reynolds explained.
“His name’s not Hitachi” Skippy interjected.
“Like I give a fuck,” Reynolds spat before Skippy could pronounce it properly.
“Last week he was Mitsubishi,” Penn laughed.
“Where’d you come from?” Reynolds wanted to know.
The Wing Spot waiter was hovering over them, wanting to know if they were still working and did they want more drinks.
“If I could make someone go blind,” Ernie was thinking about it.
“Jerking someone off doesn’t count,” Skippy made a funny and had to wipe his specs again.
“I mean, like what else could she do? Is it like her super power or something?” Penn had fully rejoined the conversation.
“She’d be hell in traffic,” Skippy tried again.
“Be more of a useful power if she could like improve people’s eyesight, not take it away,” Ernie thoughtfully examined Skippy’s glasses.
“Like what if you could make a person smarter just by looking at them?” Penn suggested.
“What if I could make you shut the fuck up?” Reynolds sneered. “She made me blind.”
“Yeah, we get it,” Penn snapped back. “You once was blind and now you see. Holy fucking miracle. You should be happy, man. Happy she didn’t make it permanent.”
“She made me blind!” Reynolds shouted. He didn’t even like these friends.
“She also made you kind of repetitive,” Skippy spoke up, and that was the last straw.
“Fuck you guys,” Reynolds got up and squeezed out of the booth.
“Hey, you owe like six bucks at least,” Ernie shrugged. He didn’t really care. Six bucks, whatever. They went there all the time. Whoever had money paid. The weird thing was how Reynolds turned and smacked right into the waiter, knocked the guy over, didn’t even seem to notice, just kept going. Then he walked smack into the wall and crumpled to the floor. He never saw what hit him. Truth is, he never should have looked at that girl that way. Mama didn’t like it one bit.