Work in Progress Wednesday: Dominoes
This is this thing I wrote back in early December.
I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, if anything. It sounds like the beginning of a story, and although I would like to tell you that it’s my idea for a rom com, I don’t seem capable of writing rom coms. Which makes this… I dunno. I submit it for your consideration anyway. Enjoy.
If it has a title, it’s Dominoes. ( I like the way dominoes fall with a sort of inevitability to them, leading to unexpected consequences waaaaay down the line. Sometimes, the simplest of small actions triggers a long sequence of events that is somehow simultaneously unpredictable and utterly predictable at the same time. )
This is going to sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s a true story. Mostly. I’ll get to the “mostly” part later.
So three people walk into a bar — a lesbian, a gay guy, and a straight girl. It’s hard to tell how old the lesbian is. She’s definitely over thirty-five and she’s probably under fifty, but it’s ambiguous. She wears stylish dark shades that blot out most of the crow’s feet gathering at the corners of her eyes; her almost-black hair is cropped short and gelled into spikes on the top of her head; her long torso is slim, and thanks to the tight black tee she’s wearing, it’s easy to tell she’s not just slim, but toned, too. Both of her arms are covered in sleeve tattoos, but from the way the images fuzz a bit at the edges, it’s obvious that they’re not fresh.
When she walks into the bar, with the gay guy and the straight girl trailing slightly behind, she walks right up to the counter and raps out a little rhythm against it with her palms before flattening both hands on the railing and leaning forward towards the barkeep.
Just like it’s possible to tell that the lesbian’s a lesbian with a single glance, it’s pretty easy to tell that the gay guy’s a gay guy. Like her, he’s slim and fit and wearing a tight-fitting t-shirt that show off his workouts. He’s got on a choker necklace made of narrow wooden beads, interspersed with plastic, rainbow-colored beads, along with a series of similar bracelets on both wrists, and there’s something about his clothes and hair and fingernails that’s just too neat, too orderly to make him straight.
And then there’s me. Yeah. The straight girl.
I follow my friend Marshall (that’s the gay guy) into the bar as he follows his friend Beck (that’s the lesbian). Beck calls Marshall her “hag,” and all Marshall’s friends call me his hag, so I guess that makes the three of us sort of like dominoes, with Beck the first domino in line and me at the end. The one the other two fall on.
Which I say not to be resentful, but frankly, I wonder what I’m doing here, walking into this dingy, dim Florida bar at midday on this bright, sunny white sand Florida beach in the middle of May.
Because I thought we were going swimming. Not drinking. I’ve already said this in hushed tones to Marshall, but he only shrugged and promised we will, we will, later, in a minute, and follows Beck like a dog on a leash.
I take my sun hat off, because obviously I don’t need it in here, and blow hair out of my face before finger-combing it behind my ears. I’ve got on a salmon-colored sleeveless sundress and flip flops, my bikini the only thing on under it, and the air-conditioning inside the bar is so cold that my bare arms and legs are breaking out in goosebumps from the second we walk in.
The bartender comes over to Beck, whips a white towel over his shoulder, and takes the three of us in with a glance that seems unnecessarily wary to me.
Beck points at herself. “Sam Adams, Boston Lager.” She points at Marshall. “Cranberry vodka for him.” She looks at me; her finger falters and falls back to the bar. Flips the sunglasses up to the top of her spiky head of hair. “Blondie? What do you want?”
I reply with a half-hearted shrug. “Diet Coke, I guess.”
Her eyebrows ripple in a way that’s not exactly an eye roll, and she looks away to nod at the listening bartender. “Diet Coke for the lady.”
Beck pulls out a barstool and hops onto it, then pulls out the one next to her and pats it, waving Marshall over. She doesn’t pull one out for me, maybe because it would be too far to reach without falling off her stool, maybe because Marshall pulls one out for me instead, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I’m the last domino.