Friday, June 3, 2011

Ben Tanzer from You Can Make Him Like You

What should I wear tomorrow, jeans, fine, t-shirt, sure, what color, does it matter, not sure, did we pay the mortgage, yes, maybe, okay, what about the electric bill, not sure, phone bill, yes, definitely, but why is the texting portion so high, is there an unlimited plan, and why do I need to text anyone, couldn’t I call, or e-mail, yes, I could even Twitter, though what is that really, and why would someone do it, does anyone besides Liz care what I’m up to all the time, every second of the day, why is that fun, maybe I am too old to get it, Monica, man she’s smoking, and the locks on the door, did we lock the door, last night, yes, tonight, maybe, but both locks, can’t say, should I check, no, yes, no, no, probably, maybe, is that moaning, yes it is, weird, and shit, is the alarm set, yes, yes, check, checked, check again, cool, and the door, just ignore it, nothing is going to happen anyway.

And Obama, could he really win, he should win, it should be easy, the war, McCain’s age, the economy, the president, the maverick bullshit, but the Democrats can still allow this to get fucked-up, he can get swift-boated, or Rezko’d, or maybe people will start listening to John Kass, and Monica, could I fuck her, maybe, no, maybe, the alarm, check, check, it’s cool, and the locks, fuck them, more moaning, where is that coming from, Liz, sleeping, yes, sex, no sex, not now, no way, should I just get up, maybe, and drink less coffee before bed, yes, yes, for sure, no more Intelligentsia after 10:00pm, so wired, so fucking wired, go running.

I could definitely go running, out to the lake, yeah, that would be cool, refreshing, breezy, or jerk-off, could jerk-off, Monica, no Liz, could stroke Liz’s ass, lightly, yeah, no she’s moving, later, the moaning, what’s up with the moaning, music, maybe listen to the new Terrodactyls joint, maybe EL-P, The Hold Steady, yeah The fucking Hold Steady, or I could watch High School Musical, it must be on, fucking Vanessa Hudgens, and those internet photos, Christ, sweet, obsessing, did we TiVo Mad Men, what did we do before TiVo, should I jerk off, where did Liz go.

“Keith, what’s going on, can’t sleep?” Liz asks me groggily.

“No, I’m totally obsessing.”

“About what?”

“Do you really want to know?”


“Uh, TiVo, Rezko, Mad Men, EL-P, The Hold Steady, Vanessa Hudgens, and…”

“Vanessa Hudgins? C’mon that’s just embarrassing, for you, me and her. You’re old enough to be her dad.”

“Thanks, I feel so much better, but I can’t help it. I’m spinning.”

“We could have sex. Would that help?”


I pause. I’ve never paused, but things are different now.

“Did you just pause?”


“You? What’s up?”


“Oh my God,” Liz says, this odd look of recognition crossing her face, “is this because of the baby? Please don’t tell me this about the baby.”

“Okay, I won’t.”

“You’re on your own buddy.”

I pause again. Not wanting to have sex with your pregnant wife is ridiculous. But that doesn’t mean I plan to.

I hear more moaning. And for a moment we both pause, lost in whatever is going on next door.

“Hey, do you hear…moaning?” I ask.

“Yeah, it’s the new neighbor. He actually seemed pretty quiet when I met him the other day.”

“Maybe he is when he’s not having sex.”

“Right, well, maybe you can talk to him. This went on for like an hour before dinner. I think he would want to know how loud she is and how thin the walls are.”

“I just want to be clear about something. You want me to talk to a dude about having loud sex. You’re joking right?”

“I don’t know, are you joking about not having sex?”


“Payback is a bitch.”



I walk out to the kitchen and get a beer. I sit down on the couch. I put on The Hold Steady and “Stuck Between Stations” starts up.

My head is still spinning, my thoughts and compulsions on the kind of endless loop that even The Hold Steady can’t derail. This baby thing is not good and there will be no sleep tonight. I finish my beer. I look for my running shoes. I lace them up. I head out the door.

reads with Cousins Laura Cherry, Susan Scarlata, and Michael Stewart on June 5th at Abe's Bar, Wickenden Street, Providence.