Nov 2010 12

by Brandon Perkins

In the last installment of our futuristic fiction series, Please Use Rear Exit, Mikhail, who’d just X’ed is GF Katya, had ridden the #720 to the Low bar. Having been absent from his “regular” libation center, and therefore a stranger to his “friends” Jayson and Chevy, when he’s confronted by the later (who’s a rapper, who rhymes, all the tymes) he considers his next move carefully. Of the four approaches that run through Mikhail’s mind, option D – awkwardly asking Chevy “What’s up” – could prove optimal.

Please Use Rear Exit: Chapter 3 – A Fleeting Glimpse of CGI

D). Mikhail absent-mindedly chose (d).

But he told himself that such stumbling wasn’t all his fault. Katya called him the second that Chevy started to trail off. Mikhail instinctually paused to silence a phone that no one could hear vibrating, simultaneously losing his beat in the conversation and train of thought. Fortunately, all awkwardness was forgotten and forgiven en route to finding Jayson – who had posted up at one of the last empty standing tables – and simple small talk was okay enough.

[Raia in Drunk & Phony]
“Welcome aboard, brother,” Jayson said, once Mikhail had meandered on over.

“C’mon man, it hasn’t been that long,” Mikhail said with a thug hug, embracing and hitting his best friend at the same damn time.

“If I feel like I haven’t seen you out in months, then it really has been that long.”

It was embarrassing that Jayson had been more social than Mikhail in the previous months. They all blamed it on Katya…even as Jayson was supposed to be the homie with the controlling girlfriend. Her crazy was supposed to overshadow Katya’s. Something must’ve been off if Jayson still hadn’t introduced her to his two closest friends. They didn’t even know her name; Jayson refused to divulge it. He said that they’d just make fun of it, so everyone referred to his old-lady as “wifey”…or, well, his “old lady.”

But such privacy didn’t keep Jayson from listing all her ailments, which included vertigo-induced eye bleeding and a toothed-vagina. That he was with her through all that didn’t seem all that surprising once one met Jayson. He drunkenly swore about the genuine love they shared, and through all their teasing, Chevy and Mikhail mostly accepted it, albeit a little begrudgingly.

Everyone downed their shots of Jameson without saying a word about it.

“Two-thirds of us are now single,” Chevy said. “Isn’t it time we made this shit unanimous?”

“Man, you guys know that my old lady treats me right. Why do you always gotta start with that shit, man?”

Chevy had more fun when everyone in the group walked with the potential to get laid. It made them wonder if Chevy secretly wanted to cross swords in some sort of post-#720 orgy.

It’s true, brother, girls are better than girlfriends,” Mikhail said. “The friend-part just means you ain’t getting laid.”

“Oh wow, the ghost can speak,” Jayson said. “C’mon Casper, this is your coming out party, it’s your job to say shit like that.”

“Mikhail got that new pussy tingle. Don’t blame him, join him…join us.”

“At least my old lady lets me out on Friday nights-”

“-I left Katya’s comfy couch for good this time. You’re alone on domestication island. We’re just trying to throw you a raft. Even if you won’t tell us her name, you don’t draw the prettiest picture of the beast beyond your shores, deep in the forest (1). Yeah, we know, you’re happy, you just have to vent sometimes.”

“I’m not even complaining tonight,” Jayson scowled. “You fuckers brought it up.”

“Stop being a saint. I’mma get some shawty to kiss my taint till she faint,” Chevy said. “Here’s some fatherly advice, son, stick your brush in new pussy…and paint.”

Despite never missing a chance to brag about his healthy income at a financial firm on the #111, Chevy still fancied himself as some sort of rapper or maybe a comedian whose dick-jokes came in rhyme form. Mikhail and Jayson would play along-and sometimes his lyrics weren’t all that bad-but no one was pushing him to quit his day job. Mostly, it just passed the time without anyone having to say anything that meant anything.

“Screw sobriety’s restraint,” Mikhail said, lacking all of Chevy’s enthusiasm. “I’m already past beer at this point. It’s a whiskey night.”

Chevy definitely got his pants at Nordstrom and not Nordstrom’s Rack. He cuffed his light beige linen a few inches above his ankles. It worked with sock-less hush puppies and a blue striped v-neck short-sleeve. Always a step ahead of the curve, Chevy was a dedicated follower of fashion. His sailor outfit would surely get him laid later, but in the meantime, he wore the risk of being called a fag with every precious step.

“How many times has Katya called you?” Jayson asked.

“Are you trying to imply something about my motivations to get twisted and stumble into casual sex in a warm, girly bed?”

Chevy and Jayson coldly stared at Mikhail.

“Okay, a lot. She’s texted me even more. I haven’t looked at my phone since early on the Brown BTWN, but it keeps fucking vibrating. I try to text back, but it’s never anything worth sending. Always busting my balls about not saying anything…but what the fuck is there to say? What am I supposed to contribute when she only wants to talk about people I don’t know? And now it’s even worse – it’s all about feelings that she doesn’t want to know. I listened, she’s not even trying to hear.”

“Doesn’t that sound horrible? Feelings?” Chevy asked, flipping Jayson’s hat off. Before Jayson could retaliate, Chevy caught a tackle from a force unseen. With empty arms, he picked up a mass of air and twirled it around a few times. A squeal eeked out from the depths of vapid spins. He delicately dropped the mess of air back onto the floor, never letting his gluttonous smile disappear from the direction of empty. As invisible as the day she was born, CGI was now part of their night._

“So get this boys, Todd and George and myself are sitting at the karaoke bar, the very one just behind us this very instant, and who knows what this putz is trying to sing, but he’s singing it poorly. This is last weekend. Todd is wearing a suit by Lubian, a great-looking striped spread-collar shirt from Burberry, a silk tie by Resikeio and a belt from Ralph Lauren. George is wearing a six-button double-breasted suit by Christian Dior, a cotton shirt, a patterened silk tie by Clairborne, perforated cap-toe leather lace-ups by Allen-Edmunds, a cotton handkerchief in his pocket, probably from Brooks Brothers; sunglasses by Lafont Paris lie on a napkin by his drink and a fairly nice attaché case from T. Anthony rests on an empty chair by our table. I’m wearing a vintage Yves Saint Laurent number that my stylist found at Internet-knows-where and my patented patent-leather Manolo Blahniks – not the ones I’m wearing now. That number fits my hips better than you could ever believe. The whole thing really made sense. While it’s not the Imitation of Christ wedding dress conversion you wish you were seeing tonight, it was entirely sensible. Still, Todd’s Ralph Lauren belt felt a little cheap.”

No one knew that most of her monologue quoted American Psycho verbatim, but it wouldn’t have mattered if anyone had. Despite the fact that no one could actually see her – and in fact, no one had ever seen a single glimpse of her, not even her parents, in all her 22 years – everyone knew that she looked particularly good in her Imitation of Christ conversion wedding dress.

Mikhail was so concerned with figuring out where exactly CGI was standing, where exactly her long, long story was coming from, that he didn’t notice Chevy’s swift exit or return. Before Mikhail could discern her exact location, Chevy passed out four shots around the newly expanded circle. CGI’s tiny glass of Irish whiskey floated more eerily than the boys’, but then disappeared a few seconds later. All the glasses got drank just the same.

“Did Todd even get it?” Chevy asked, reaching out like he was looking for her elbow. The simple movement was wholly awkward, like an old man blindly searching for a light switch on the wrong wall. When he smiled bigger, Mikhail knew that Chevy had found it.

“Todd didn’t get a single thing the entire night,” CGI said, the words just appearing from the faint nothingness of air. Her bubbling noise found its way from just below ear level to echo around and around until an actual originating place just seemed implausible. “He was marching alongside the Bolivian army all night.”

“That’s just like old Todd,” Chevy said. And even Jayson raised an eyebrow at the brown-nosing bitchery that their normally cool and collected friend was spraying in CGI’s direction.

“Bucky done gun, I’m off to meet Maya now,” she said, perhaps smiling. “Are you going to the Weezy shindig at HD?”

“We’ll be there,” Mikhail said, with no idea on how. He just wanted to say something before Chevy further embarrassed himself.

“Tell Maya we said whattup,” Chevy said, making a Jamie-Kennedy-b-boy pose. There was nothing Mikhail could do for a man intent on killing himself. Jayson shook his head disapprovingly, not able to hide his shock; it had always been his role to embarrass himself in front of girls. “I’ll see you later, right?”

She didn’t answer him. The pause was cumbersome.

“Bye guys!” she suddenly perked up, as if there was an action to follow.

Was she waving at them? Coming in for a hug? Throwing up goofy gang signs? There was no way to tell. Mikhail haphazardly threw out his palm, hoping for a hilarious-enough high-five. He didn’t really know CGI. Someone or other had introduced them over a dozen times throughout the years, but Mikhail still wasn’t sure that she remembered his name. They had never shared a single conversation worth a damn…so a high-five seemed more than appropriate.

Instead, a waft of wind nestled against his chest and squeezed around his mid-section. CGI was shorter than expected – she sounded much taller – and Mikhail thought it only polite to return her embrace. Rather than potentially smother her head in his armpits, he non-chalantly draped his arms around the small of her back. Tentatively clinging to a waist of the petite-est proportions, the delicate silk from CGI’s Imitation of Christ wedding dress conversion might’ve been the most sensuous fabric Mikhail had ever touched. It was only surpassed by a tiny patch of skin that his pinkie grazed for a few seconds through a gap in her garment. He wondered if anything would ever feel that soft again.

“I’ll see you later,” she whispered into his chest.

She quickly moved on to Jayson and appeared to give him a similar hug. Chevy was practically panting with anticipation, once again reaching out with his hand in a poor attempt to find the right switch. He got his hug and then CGI wandered off. Maybe. Perhaps she just took a step back and hovered around the potential conversation that’d waffle on about her. However, Mikhail and his friends were a little too seasoned to fall victim to such a trap. (She was probably the most popular person on the #720, able to yuk it up with Low’s regulars and talk down with HD’s debonaires. However, no one trusted her because she could never be seen, always hidden until she wanted to be found.) For nearly 10 minutes, the trio discussed nothing – basketball scores and the specifics of Jayson’s work on the #4 and other things that would bore any girl to tears – and nothing more.

Mikhail took the free time to bite the bullet and check his phone. He really hoped that no one could see the fuckery displayed – 17 missed calls and 22 unread text messages -and he quickly tucked the screen against his thigh. Where could he possibly even begin? At random, he selected Katya’s most recent thorn-covered olive branch, and slyly lifted his phone’s face so that only he could see it…even if CGI was hovering three inches behind him.

He knew that Katya was going to have a hard time accepting the break-up, but it had been an entire week and he was really hoping that she was past the drowning stage of sorrow. If it was just one text message, instead of dozens, Mikhail might’ve felt something similar to sorrow. The second and last chapter of their relationship had lasted just over a year, but things moved quickly in The Internet. This break-up was for real. She just couldn’t make him happy in a forever-type of way – not that he ever told her that in so many words. He told her that he was losing himself in every relationship, not just the romantic one. He said that it just wasn’t working out. She slapped him and then buckled under her own weight, collapsing on his lap. It was then he realized that he never loved her; not when his main concern was the running mascara that bled onto a brand new pair of jeans. He left her apartment before she felt the conversation was finished and that was the last time he saw her, ignoring every one of her many attempts to continue talking about it. Mikhail scrolled to her seventh and eighth most recent messages.

With Katya floating around somewhere on the #720, Mikhail really needed his wingmen to be on their A-Game. He made sure that his phone was on vibrate and quietly tucked it into his pocket without responding to Katya’s text messages. He thought about trying, but he just couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t fail. Mikhail would just have to look over his shoulder all night. The #720 was a big place, maybe he’d find fate on his side.

He once told her that he began his nights at Low, and even if the place had changed, her marvelous memory hadn’t. The best way to get caught was to stay in the same place, especially such a familiar one. He motioned to Chevy and Jayson something about a cigarette…Katya wouldn’t wait in the smoking lounge all night without making sure that such a meeting was set in stone. Mikhail and friends would just have to keep the night moving.

(1) Most of this Los Angeles’ citizens accept the fact that no world exists outside the one they know inside the buses. They tend to live vicariously through the images seen on YouTube.

Please Use Rear Exit is an online novel, you can read about it on author Brandon Perkins’ SG Contributor page and find additional chapters and related media at