As a rule, people avoided him. Whether he was bowling, in line at the ATM, or drunk-dialing his iPhone waiting for the M103 on Houston Street and Avenue A, they steered clear. Bar patrons even ignored him during a drag show at Barracuda.
Over time, he’d developed a “laissez faire” attitude. His mantra was “let it be,” and he’d chant the chorus repeatedly like a koan. He grew a tortoise- like shell, masking his pain. Home alone, he’d put on a wig, sculpt layers of make-up, using centerfold cut-outs for inspiration. He’d croon along with his favorite ballads, performing to cheering fans.
One summer night in 2007 while preparing his routine, CNN leaked the news: a senator was caught in a public bathroom. An idea came to him: what if I try his tactics with a twist?
He decided to give it a whirl in the toilets at Grand Central Station. He stopped by Wigs and Plus on 14th Street where the owner, Sunny, would sell him a cheap hairpiece “for his mother.” Then he’d prop himself in the furthest stall from the door on Sunday morning. Wig in place. Like a parishioner. Or a TV evangelist. Or a congressman.
On the way home, he’d stop at Magnolia’s for a cupcake. “It’s all about service,” he’d say to no-one in particular while he devoured his dessert.
The Avoidance by Robert Vaughan
Filed under Robert Vaughan
7 responses to “The Avoidance by Robert Vaughan”
At first I laughed! Then, hmm, I don’t know, what a mystery character, I started imagining various situations/plots, I couldn’t ‘let it be’ – I hope I meet him again … Great!
Such a twist, such a commonality, we’re all people beneath the wigs, within the stalls, and all we want is to eat cupcakes in peace.
Awww, this made me sad. He just wanted to be accepted among friends!
One of your quirkier characters. He grows on me, and now I want the world to leave me alone while I eat a cupcake. Peace…
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Sad and heartbreaking. I love how you can create such dynamic and captivating characters in 250 words. What humans will do to feel accepted or to be seen. Very well written!
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