No Name Yet and Still Homophobic

Jack smoked a cigarette on the front porch. A red beer sweat Oklahoma’s June humidity into a ring on the concrete step next to him. He watched two boys walking up the drive from 33. One wore boots and a straw hat; the other a Cowboys’ ball cap and sandals. Sandals carried a guitar case. They were lost or in some car trouble he supposed, but Jack didn’t feel like getting out from under the shade and shortening the distance just now. They’d get here soon enough on their own.

The one in boots placed his hand on the gate latch and stopped. He looked Jack in the eye as a request to enter the yard. Jack bucked his head in assent. Then he began to wonder if he should take a sip or a drag before the conversation started. He stood and did both. When that was over he ended up holding the beer and the cigarette in his right hand when the one with the hat put out his and introduced himself.

“I’m [no name yet]. This is Mark Olsen,” [no name yet] said. He kept his hand out as Jack swapped his beer and dashed the cigarette to the corner of his mouth.

“Jack.” They shook hands. Jack took another long drag on the cigarette and pitched it to the ground since it was near enough smoked out. He noticed Sandals—Mark—watch him crush it with his boot like maybe he’d have smoked it a bit longer. He spoke to [no name yet]. “Ya ain’t lost I don’t think. Truck break down?”

“Pothole took out a tire. I’ve got a spare but no jack,” [no name yet] said.

“Ha!” Jack just looked at him.

“I know. Never needed one till today. So…”

“Roof don’t leak when it ain’t raining,” Jack said.

“No, Sir. It don’t.”

“That a guitar?”

Mark lifted the case in front of him a little. “Yeah.”

“You play?”


“Going to Stillwater then?”

“Got a gig at George’s Stables.” Mark looked at his watch. Then added, “Across from Joe’s”

“I know where the Stables are.”

Mark shrugged and Jack took it as an apology.

“Well. Old Jack’s gotta jack.” He looked at his beer then sighed and pitched the bottom half into the grass. He left the boys standing in the yard while he went in to get his keys and hat.

396 words on day 764