She just wanted to hang out on the dance floor. Not to dance, just to be there with Lacy because freaking Lacy dragged her here. She doesn’t know the other people in this bar she rabidly hates but also couldn’t say no to. 80s music videos keep playing and people keep ruining them with karaoke. She swigs her Miller High Life and considers moving around. Maybe wiggling a little bit but not much more commitment than that. She doesn’t dance and she doesn’t talk to strangers. She’s fucking hungry. Because what would they even talk about? She doesn’t dance!
Christ, people keep running into her. Like 25 people have collided with her since she’s been standing there. It’s like they’re intentionally doing it. Like they want to run into her! On purpose! She lets a loud grumble and then turns her back to the next guy to pass her, exposing the bulge of her bag to the fray. They make contact, a backpack-on-other-person contact smack like a raw ground beef hitting a frying pan.
The guy stops and says “You don’t need to be a bitch now.”
She wheels back around and gives him a Mel Gibson stare. “You just call me a bitch, bro?”
The guy looks her in the eye, then at the lone backpack strap dangling across her left shoulder, then back at her face. “You intentionally bumped into me with your little school bag.”
“Serious, dude? You called me a bitch. Over a backpack! On the dance floor!” The color flares in her cheeks but in the flickering George Michael video-punctuated half-light, only her rapid cagey blinks signal that anything is amiss.
“Who wears a backpack on the dance floor?”
“Don’t change the subject.” She’s standing completely straight and square now, facing him. He’s only a bit taller than she, even though she’s wearing her high-heeled Doc Martens boots.
“It was a douche move!” he says.
“Wait, so am I a douche or a bitch? Have you thought this out?”
“No. I was dealing with the Velcro burn from your goddamn bag scraping me.” He cracks the knuckle of his index fingers inches from her face.
“You didn’t need to call me a bitch though. C’mon.” Her bag is getting heavy, actually. Shit. She rotates her shoulder to push the weight back. God it would be so nice to just put it down. She doesn’t trust these flailing singing fools around here not to throw up on it though. Or spill their Jaeger bombs down the inside somehow during that Devo song, coating her books in conformist sludge. Gross. She just wants to get out of here and get to the taqueria down the street. For some pity Mexican food.
“Really, Lord Byron? What would you prefer?” He angrily tugs the collar of his cowl-neck cardigan down. This is not how his exit was supposed to go. He wanted to ghost his frat brothers and just slip out into the night.
“Oh so I’m a man now?” She rolls her eyes and taps him on the chest, gym teacher to the gym class hero. Lord Byron! She wonders if picking fights with bros is in fact cheap medicine.
He sighs. Quite suddenly this isn’t worth it. He definitely hadn’t tried to avoid running into her backpack. He was pissy. He just wanted to get out of there. To get some food. And Christ, the academic sweater he’d worn to look professional yet open-minded at work was itchy as hell. “You’re right. Yeah, I’m sorry about that. I don’t know why I said it. I could’ve called you something else. I’m sorry.”
She raises an eyebrow and runs her hand through her hair. She has a dyed-black bob and the forelock is just hanging limp in her face. She wasn’t expecting a pal.
“Hey. Yeah. Yeah I’m sorry too. It’s just that everyone keeps running into me. Wiping themselves all over me. I just got sick of it you know? Like you wouldn’t rub your junk on me, right? So why would you rub any other part of you on me?”
“Ha! No. No, I’m an asshole.” He glances around and rubs his forehead. He had wanted to rip her backpack off and throw it into the street while howling at the moon, but instead he feels almost like hugging her. Ruffling her hair maybe. Whatta day.
“Oh! Still arguing, huh. Well you weren’t for a couple of minutes. I like your sweater. You’re kind of like Mr. Rogers but a shitbird to your neighbors.”
He laughs and switches his weight from one leg to the other. “I don’t really even know where I am. I just. I just want — ”
“Well thanks for that. Have a good night. I’m going to get –”
“…a burrito.” they both say.