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.