Last Call
by Heath Corlew

She had double D’s.  They intimidated me and 
she said what a lot 
to poke fun at me because 
I mumble
and have ADD and space out
and I think
although maybe I’m being paranoid.
But I think 
she impersonates me to her friends and
they all have a laugh at me.  

So the other night she calls,
says meet me at this other bar. 
I know better but I go. 
On the way I get a double jack and coke.  
When I walk in
she’s on the couch.
I sit down next to her.

You’re looking lovely, I say.
You’re looking cozy?  I say.
You’re looking cozy and lovely? I say.

She’s making fun of me.
What a nice change.
I go to the bar and get a drink.
See my friend Joseph.  
Heath, he says.  
What up, I say.  I never say that.
She’s got me all jumbled up.

How’s it going with?
Mary, I say.
She’s cute, she plays soccer.  
She is cute and she does play soccer.
But nothing’s happened.  I mean I 
haven’t tried anything.  I don’t know, I say.  
I’m not even positive she’s heterosexual. 

I sit back down beside her and fuck if she doesn’t
want to play patty cake. 
I say I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that. 
She grabs my hands and lofts them up.
She slaps at them and I return twice slowly
then I stop.

She is having a real go of it now
and yelling encouragements at me
to participate? 

I feel like there is a spotlight on us.
My vision goes blurry.  The lighting in here
is maddening man, I don’t want
to play patty cake anymore.
This all seems a bit cartoonish, I say.
I clench my drink with both hands.  I smile.

Her friend joins us on the couch.  
She introduces him.  I forget his name.
I try to ignore him sizing me up.
Behind his horn rimmed glasses
and despite his penny loafers 
with tassels.
His sweater,
tucked into his pants.

Like the candy bar.  Heath bar he says
They laugh.
He reaches over to give me a fist bump
but I slink down back into the couch and 
fix my eyes on the ceiling.
What does Heath bar do?
Oh a writer, well, he says. So what
have you written, Heath bar?

Your friend is an asshole, I say.
She pretends astonishment. What?
Back to the ceiling I go.

And there they go holding hands, 
really rubbing all over each other
and the couch starts to shrink and now it 
is more like a love seat.  I cross my legs,
lean hard on the arm, examine the texture 
of this
curious species of fake plant.  

Fuck me.  What am I doing here?
She opens one eye.  What?

Autonomic nervous system hyperactivity smothers me,
consumes all ability to conjure words.
They get up, still making hand love.
Bye, she says. 
The asshole winks. Heath bar.
The British reverse peace sign is all I have to offer 
wanting to say nice fucking shoe tassels. 
not caring to hear what, 
Not ever a-fucking-gain. 

I’m back on the ceiling, stroking the plant
when Joseph sits down beside me.
I think you just got dissed, he says.
I believe I just did, didn’t I. 
At least now you know she’s not gay, he says.

I chug my drink,
get up to get another,
find in all this excitement
I’ve missed last call. 

Heath Corlew has an MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte.  He is currently residing in Asheville, North Carolina where he works numerous boring part-time jobs to support his writing problem.  He is 34 years old and was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi. 

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