Gimmick Town

Maggie is standing by the granite countertop as I watch her effortlessly rock the blade back and forth with precision. Her thin hand a blur as she takes the onion apart with an almost sensual motion that is efficient and ultimately successful, a perfect dissection. I want to grab a notepad and take notes with my knife skills lacking but I just continue to watch from afar, me and the onion strange bedfellows on her killing floor.

“What’s for dinner, baby?” I mumble softly, trying not to startle her.

She turns around and glances my way with eyes I’ve never been able to decipher. “carne asada” she says, not needing my approval nor does my opinion really matter.

“Sounds delicious, Maggie.” It sounds mundane but there’s no need to ruffle her feathers.

I lock in my plastic smile and forge ahead.

“Something odd happened today. I stopped by a new bar for a quick beer after work and well, the people were acting weird.”

“Weird? Weird, how?”

“I didn’t see anyone blink. Seriously, I sat in the corner sipping on a Blue Moon and not one person blinked. Not the bartender, not the waitress or any of the other patrons. Nobody blinked.” I wait for her to laugh or mock me.

“Why is that weird, exactly?”

What kind of response is that, why isn’t she confused or curious or chuckling. She asks why it’s weird.

“Maybe you didn’t hear me clearly, I was in a bar and not one human being blinked. That’s not even remotely normal, Maggie.”

She looks at me with a barely concealed disdain.

“The bar on Catherine street, right? You know, the one called the OPEN EYE tavern?”

Her condescending tone makes me feel like that diced onion.

“How in the world was I supposed to infer from OPEN EYE Tavern that I was walking into a place where nobody blinked. That’s utterly ridiculous. I thought it was just some hipster doofus name and maybe I’d see a violinist or some beatnik poets with black turtlenecks sipping absinthe or something but a bunch of weirdos not blinking? That’s just moronic.

“Ben, we live in a forward thinking town. The Mayor is innovative and his mandates about embracing the unique and ridding ourselves of the banality of apathy is rather refreshing, to be honest.”

Banality of apathy. I have no idea what that means. She’s always been seduced by nonsensical quotes or any line that sounds deep.

“Refreshing? How about I go to a bar and people actually blink their eyes. That would be refreshing, Maggie.”

Those indecipherable pale blue eyes land not so softly at my throat.

“Loosen up, Ben. It’s actually fun to step into the strange, occasionally. Friday night, Barb and I are dining out at the new place everybody is raving about, The Boner Bistro.”

“What in the hell am I supposed to infer from that name?”

“It’s rather literal, Ben. A fine dining establishment that serves only women and the all waiters, cooks and other staff walk around with an erection. I’m not having sex with them, it’s just a little eye candy, nothing more.”

She laughs softly after explaining it to me. I’m not sure if the laugh bothered me more or the fact she was going to a restaurant teeming with hard men.

“Please tell me your joking, Maggie. What kind of crazy town do I live in? What is wrong with you?”

“Wrong with me? Or maybe your upset that at the Boner Bistro the men can maintain an erection longer than two minutes. Poor little Ben and his little engine that couldn’t…”

Her laugh is all sharp angles. I rack my brain trying to think of some other gimmick bar or restaurant in town, something I can sling back at her. Why can’t there be a Frigid Cafe or a Cellulite Delicatessen in this town. Just once I would love to win an argument with her, just shut her down with a witticism that would break her smile. With nothing forming in my mind, I just walk away.

I plop down on the couch, grab the remote and turn to ESPN. Commercial droning on about hoping everybody enjoyed “carne asada” day.

I stare at the ceiling as the commercials roll on. Still thinking about Boner Bistro and the OPEN EYE tavern.

“…filet your wife day. Sharpen those knives men..”

What the hell. Filet your wife day? Is that legal? I can still hear her laughter in my mind, stripping me bare. Filet your wife day. A concept that actually has some merit. Maybe I could carve her up with unblinking eyes and a massive erection. Wonder how she would feel about the “banality of apathy”, then. I chuckle to myself as I start to doze off.

“One last reminder husbands and boyfriends, charmers and gallants. Friday is make your wife a filet mignon day, so sharpen those knives men..”

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2 thoughts on “Gimmick Town

  1. This is quite obviously your most esoteric, almost playful (for lack of a better word) piece to date and I dig it. It’s a chance of pace, style, but still keeps with that cutting-edge, rapid prose. Your dialogue is your strong point, as far as I am concerned.

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