August 03, 2015 11:42:15 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. The curtain fell to the crash of cymbals, the last few feathers drifted down into complicated cocktails and sequined laps, and Alex fell heavily into a plush, furry chair that had probably once been white—and living. It had been a long night full of swaying buttocks and thumping music, but Alex felt drained and unenthusiastic. By his fourth whiskey sour, he was forced to acknowledge that no combination of alcohol, dirty dancing, and Instagram filters would help him enjoy the night. Suddenly, long slender arms curved their way around Alex’s waist. Someone slid next to him onto the roadkill chair, pressing hips, waist, and rice-stuffed bra flush against Alex’s body.
“Hey Marcie,” Alex sighed. Marcie fluttered long fake eyelashes against Alex’s cheek, managing to pout and flirt at the same time.
“Alex, honey, I yanked you out here to have a good time, not go belly-up like a dead fish!” Spearlike eyebrows increased their incline, giving the frown an official ski trail rating of Black Diamond. “A good one-night stand would have cleared all this up,” Marcie admonished, gesturing to Alex’s entire face.
“A good razor would clear all this up,” Alex shot back, hooking a passing feather onto the stubble that peeked out through Marcie’s foundation. Marcie squealed like an offended piglet and clapped a hand to the hairs on his chinny-chin-chin.
“Ok, we’re going home.” “That motion is seconded!” After a last pat-down to make sure neither had forgotten their phones, wallets, or shirts, the duo pushed through the doors of The Pulse.

At the apartment, they parted ways, Marcie stumbling off to his apartment on the 12th floor while Alex fumbled with his keys at the 10th.
“Damn. Rad! Raaaaad! C’mon could you open the door I’m about to freeze off my b—” A half-dressed, tangled girl opened the door, more than a little pissed to be so rudely awakened. Something like a porcupine wearing a wool sweater appeared to be perched atop her head.
“Radhika, Radhika, I’m sorry for waking you up,” Alex tried to placate, but the porcupine bristled.
“It’s 4 a.m., you bastard, and I’m going to have huge bags under my eyes for my date tomorrow.” Alex inched past Radhika, using his puppy-dog eyes as a shield, and locked himself in the bathroom to change into clothes that were primarily cotton rather than leather. He emerged with brushed teeth and a face scrubbed clean of makeup. Radhika was sitting up in bed, looking at him oddly. “Do you have something to hide? Like, I gotta ask because you always hide when you’re changing and only, like, hets do that.” She caught herself. “Sorry, hate speech. Only heterosexuals do that.” There was a tense pause. “Uh, I’ve never told this to another soul, but,” Alex feigned a melodramatic confession, clutching at his chest, “I have a massive tattoo that says ‘I love Radhika XOXO’ on my left asscheek.” Her mouth quirked up on one side as she quipped, “And the right?”
“It’s an 8 by 8 inch tattoo of Ashton Kutcher with the caption ‘You just got Punk’d!’.” Radhika threw her slipper at him.
And then, in that flitting manner of time after 2 a.m., they were both in their beds, fast asleep.
Alex woke to the sour, dry taste of torpor in his mouth the next day, and reasoned that he ought to get up, if only to brush his teeth. Radhika had already left for her blind date. He yawned, oozed to the bathroom, and squeezed a pea-sized drop of toothpaste out of the tube. To his credit, he didn’t fling the toothpaste onto the mirror or his pants when the doorbell rang—he only got it on the faucet. Toothbrush still in hand, Alex opened the apartment door. It clattered to the floor to accommodate an armful of angry queer conservative.
“HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEWS?! Opposite-sex marriage was just legalized around the nation!” Lily took two handfuls of Alex’s bleach-blond hair to shake him back and forth in distress, lamenting, “God, why would you let this happen; I say my prayers, floss every night, stay true to my wife…” Alex carefully extricated himself from her grasp but she simply gripped his collar instead of his hair. “First the immigrants, and now the hets. Did you know that immigrants are going to outnumber whites by 2020? They’ll rise up; take over our schools and our homes—” Alex tried to recall something he’d read in the nature survival book he’d loaned last month. Make no sudden movements, avoid direct eye contact, refrain from saying anything that offended the predator’s political views… He decided not to mention that all of the US—besides the Native American population—was immigrants, nor that it was impossible for all the European, Asian, South American, and African (etc, etc) immigrants to band together and ‘rise up’.
“…sex for the sake of reproduction…apocalyptic population growth…” Lily was still rambling. But salvation came in the form of an angel, feathers and all.
“Marcie! How good to see you here in these dark times! Have you heard the—” The angel cut Lily off with one imperious wave of his green feathered sleeve. “It’s Marcel in the mornings, actually,” he announced, before hooking his arm through Alex’s and brusquely walking to the elevator even though Alex was still in his banana-print pajamas. Lily’s cries of “the destruction of the sanctity of marriage” and “reverse racism” faded into the distance with each step.
“God, I hate that woman. She doesn’t know when to shut up,” Marcel muttered. Alex glanced at him out of the corner of his eye.
“So, you disagree with what she said, right?”
Marcel scoffed. “The immigrant bit, of course. The hets, I don’t know. Like I don’t think it’s any of my business telling people who they should be…” He made rings with the forefingers and thumbs on both hand and bumped them together suggestively, then extended the forefingers to rub them together, punctuating his movements with a lascivious wink at Alex. “Or should I be…” Marcel reappraised his hands, trying to figure out how best to portray heterosexual sex. “No symmetry whatsoever,” he mumbled disapprovingly, before dropping the rude gestures in favor of answering Alex’s question. “Heterosexuals are okay in my book, but do they have to be so flamboyant?” he complained while preening the feathers of his lime jacket. “They’re always in those baseball caps or ill-fitting basketball shorts, just trying to offend people. And don’t even get me started on those god-awful cowboy hats.” Marcel pretended to retch. Alex nodded halfheartedly.
“And frankly, no offense to hets, but their lifestyle is just reckless. There might be some truth to what Lily says about the syphilis pandemic being an act of God; it’s a disease meant to wipe them out.” “But homosexuals get syphilis too,” Alex pointed out. Marcel waved his objection away, retorting, “1. Not nearly as much, and 2. At least we don’t get pregnant. Worst STD of all.”
As they walked, they neared a woman and man sitting at an outdoor café. The couple leaned into each other over cooling coffee and a saucer of sugar cubes, his eyes flitting down to her lips as she recounted her morning encounter with raw eggs and a stray cat. Their hands were joined under the table, and both smiled as if they were in on a secret. It was all very gay, in the other sense of the word. Alex gazed at them wonderingly.
On the other hand, Marcel cooed and clutched at Alex’s arm. “Ooh but they’re just so cute!” He framed his mouth with a curved hand to shout, “WE SUPPORT YOU!” He flailed his free arm about, as if to prove his hetero-solidarity with the blue and pink “ally” band on his wrist. “HOW ADORABLE!” he yelled into Alex’s ear.
The two jumped apart, their romantic moment abruptly snatched. In the man’s haste to move away, he tipped the pitcher of cream into the sugar cubes and onto the woman’s lap. She yelped indignantly.
Both turned to glare at Marcel and Alex. “Alright Marcel,” Alex hissed, dragging him away by his elbow, “I think it’s time we go homo.”
The two powerwalked back to Marcel’s apartment and flopped into bed. “Grah!” Marcel exclaimed, frustrated. “They were so ungrateful! I make the effort to show them that they aren’t alone in this cold, cruel world…and they act as if I’ve personally wronged them!” He rolled onto his face, his rant muffled in the unapologetically pink covers. Alex rolled him into a Legally Blonde burrito as he clumsily changed the subject. “C’mon, we should have a dick flick marathon.”
The hot pink cocoon sat straight up, an impressive feat considering its fleece-enhanced girth. “But you hate dick flicks.” Alex shrugged.
“Aw, hell yes! I’m going to call everyone we’ve ever even made eye contact with. The stars have aligned!” Marcel crowed, squirming.
Like spoiled milk through a funnel, their friends began to trickle by in chunks. Radhika sauntered through the door first, left arm around the waist of a beautiful woman with legs for days. And judging by the marks along her neck, she’d barely survived a brutal attack by a battalion of Dyson-engineered leeches—her date must have gone well. Next came Magdalena the breakdancing street performer, Castor and Bobby, Helena the schoolboard trustee, BDSM enthusiasts Allison and Tatiana…they all piled onto the bed to watch the The Other Man.
Between facefuls of popcorn, though, Allison chatted with Tatiana and Bobby about the recent Supreme Court decision. “It’s totally not ok, because all those hets have just had their existences validated.”
Tatiana shuddered. “Can you imagine the danger heterosexuals pose to the young children in our schools? Pedophiles, the lot of them!” She raised her red Solo cup to a chorus of “Hear! Hear!” from a few of the other guests in attendance. Alex took this moment to roll furtively off the bed—Mission Impossible-style—and tiptoe into the relative quiet of the corridor.
“Wait, wait, wait.” Marcel held up his hand, the movie forgotten. “Can’t you show some sympathy for these people? Like, think—” The bed springs creaked as he stood up majestically in their midst. “According to the New York Times, more heterosexual people died in the Civil War than ANY OTHER SEXUALITY GROUP! Oddly enough, this is true for every other war in our history as well…But can’t you see? The heterosexuals in our society are being oppressed!” Alex, in the meantime, was burrowing between clothes hangers and shoeboxes to hide among Marcel’s collection of faux fur vests.
Marcel pumped his fist into the air, narrowly missing the ceiling light. “The majority of those in poverty are heterosexual! The majority of those with cancer are heterosexual!” He gripped Allison’s hands in a fervent plea for compassion. “The majority of th—” he stopped to scan the room quizzically. “Where’s Alex?” Marcel wondered out loud.
Alex was deep in the closet holding his breath, flanked by snakeskin stilettos and well-worn issues of PlayGuy. He could hear them calling for him from outside. There was a skittering noise as someone accidentally knocked over the bowl of popcorn, followed by some mild swears. The sound of opening doors drew closer and closer. Alex held his head in his clammy hands, faced with the realization that there had been a very obvious reason as to why he hadn’t liked partying at The Pulse, or why he’d repeatedly declined Marcel’s obvious flirtations. He didn’t like di—
“Alex!” Tatiana’s shrill cry broke through his thoughts, and the locked closet door rattled.
“Come out of the closet!” Marcel insisted, pounding on another corner of the door.
Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.