Meg Pokrass

I Asked The Lord To Giveth Me A OneTouch

When I stepped bare­foot on the bee I was aller­gic to bees. The Jesus-man stead­ied me with an even gaze. My attrac­tion to the Jesus-man may have had some­thing to do with feel­ing like a fraud, which I’d been feel­ing for too long. Also, he had Jesus hair and a Jesus face and was the most ath­let­ic of the bunch. That is, he prob­a­bly had ADHD. And my name was “Mary” which had nev­er pleased me, I had changed it to Maritime, but boy-howdy I revert­ed back to “Mary” when I met the Jesus-man.

Soon, my hus­band was sched­uled to take his dai­ly long run, to cov­er geog­ra­phy with trail run­ning shoes. When he ran, I’d flee the heat and sit like a slug in the REC room at the nice, near­by lodge with inter­net.

These pret­ty women own pet rats,” Jesus-man said, point­ing to both myself and my friend Bonnie, who had joined me there, and who still loved me a lot some­times. We did have pet rats, but not with us at that time. Bonnie was com­fort­able in a biki­ni, show­ing off in a pool or lake, and I prob­a­bly would have been bet­ter in crowd­ed bar. We had dif­fer­ent strengths, but our Jesus-man seemed bet­ter than us at all times. In many cas­es I was sure of it. He loved to be loved.

The iron was hot, I told my hus­band, who nod­ded and saun­tered off to our cab­in to grab a beer from the cool­er. We had lis­tened to the sound of a neu­rot­ic bird in the tree next to us for too long, he and I.

You have not yet found a grass snake?” Jesus-man asked.

No, but I asked the Lord to giveth me a OneTouch,” I said.

Just then: Sunburned, butt-slap­ping apos­tles came out from the lake for salty corn chips and mar­gar­i­tas and to razz the women who were most­ly read­ing mag­a­zines, and one of the fol­low­ers, the father of the worst-nosed girl and a Buddhist who chant­ed in the open, out­door the­ater, said, “What’s wrong with Mary?”

Jesus-man said noth­ing, his long hair drip­ping while he popped a can of coke.

I said: “Well, you know, grass snakes uri­nate on touch.” And I almost said, “Which sounds bet­ter than most things.”

That would not have impressed him. I was not fun­ny enough to impress him. My jokes sucked, and thank God I did not have a son who would love me too much despite it all.

I liked to be [in] a group away from the women, lis­ten­ing to the non-chat­ter of men about steak and whiskey with cute men walk­ing in front of me and the one walk­ing behind me and my hus­band car­ry­ing our books.

You are going to order the waf­fle?” I asked my hus­band who had silent­ly returned.

Yes,” my hus­band said, and went back to read­ing.

The bee sting foot was puff­ing up and pur­ple and white and a crowd of friends, not true friends, but friends who were friends of friends, were oohing and point­ing at it. Plus, I was wheez­ing. One “friend” ran off to the camp office to get a doc­tor.

Did Jesus-man seek sex in the dark? If so, I bet he was, it was … was good. The night before our last he offered me some bug spray when we were walk­ing to the out­door tal­ent con­test. He hand­ed me a rag and said, “It will work even in the swamp.” And he sang for me.

I said, “You say these bugs are every­where, and boy are you accu­rate.”

Comes with the ter­ri­to­ry,” he said. Then he coughed and spat and smiled and made the sign of peace.

I tried not to look at my bel­ly push­ing out of my shirt.

Oh, girl,” he said. So we were laugh­ing, but I thought about the sin of enjoy­ment and how it lead me through tall grass­es, like a human train. I want­ed to be in his gallery of humans, he was a great guy, a trip-mas­ter, look­ing for a green snake to talk about. This may have had some­thing to do with a desire to meet up in a hotel some­where far away.

That night at home I imag­ined how we may have been like teenagers inside a VW van, old Jesus-man and I, and I have a lit­tle more pride now and don’t do that any­more … but then again most­ly my pride is charred. In my fan­ta­sy, I pulled out jeans from the ham­per and he threw on a glass shirt. I asked him if I could brush his hair. In the fan­ta­sy he said, “Yes,” and for hours I did that, kiss­ing it and brush­ing it and braid­ing it and han­dling it as if it were my own.

~

Meg Pokrass is a fic­tion writer (her sto­ry col­lec­tion Damn Sure Right was recent­ly pub­lished) and an edi­tor at Blip Magazine (for­mer­ly The Mississippi Review Online). Her ani­mat­ed very short movies are avail­able at YouTube and var­i­ous oth­er sites.