Fictionalized recollections from a hypothetical acquaintance
I don't remember his name (her name? their name?)—I think it's K-something. Kevin? Kyle? Kelly? Kara? I haven't seen them around Jamaica Plain for a while. I thought they were cute in a sort of awkward way. They reminded me of my little cousin. I think they were maybe trying to hit on my roommate, Danielle, by giving her a drawing of a flamingo. A flamingo with buck-teeth, a propeller hat, an accordion, and long socks. This kid is hard to read.
Usually when K. walked into the Behan they’d just order a drink and sit somewhere alone, watching people and drawing in a little book. But this particular night (close to midnight) they approached me directly and mumbled something about being "in a mood". Something about how it was the last day of their job. A kids' TV show, I think? "There was an octopus named Sal. I think they liked what I did with his tentacles." They looked at their palms and wiggled their fingers—I couldn't tell if they had already been drinking or if this was just typical "in a mood" behavior.
"So why was it your last day? Did the show get canceled?" I asked. "Oh, I don't even know. Production ended, but, like, it only started airing a couple months ago." That sounded to me like a long way of saying it was canceled. "Bummer! What are you going to do next?" "Everyone's telling me to move to LA." "LA is awesome," I said to be supportive. Truth is, I've never been to LA…but the west coast is super exotic to New Englanders.
K. got quiet after that. They opened their bag, pulled out that little black book, and started scribbling. Literally scribbling. I tried to see if they were drawing someone in the bar, but they were just scribbling with a pen. Sort of like my little cousin (when he was a toddler). But that expression was so serious…
"What would you want to do if you could have any job?" I tried to sound cheerful. Their brow furrowed. They played with their hair. But they didn’t say anything. I looked to Danielle so maybe she could save me from this conversation, but she seemed to be avoiding us by playing darts. I looked out the window and I saw my boyfriend having a cigarette outside. We locked eyes and he waved. Just as he was stepping in and I stood up to greet him, K. answered: "I just want to make stuff up."
I hope someone listens to my little cousin when he's in a mood someday.