You Should Get That Looked At

by S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.

Short Fiction Collection
Main Street Rag Publishing Company
126 pgs. $9

ISBN 1-930907-42-7


S. Craig Renfroe, Jr. teaches at Queens University of Charlotte. He received his M.F.A. from UNC-Wilmington where he held a Philip Gerard Fellowship. His story “Tickle, Me?” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2003. His writing has appeared in Main Street Rag, The MacGuffin, One Paycheck Away, Seedhouse, Iodine, Thrift, Atlantis, and others.

 

 


From

Romantic Cupidity

 

They called it the White House, but that was just because it was white. It’d been a funeral home before the sorority bought it. Rumor said during initiations the sisters locked the pledges up in the embalming room. Edgar got invited to their parties and always dragged me along. We always walked the whole way there.

“You know what the best thing about these parties is?” Edgar asked.

“Free beer?”

“The fact that for a brief time we can all be honest. At these little functions, we all know what we want, and we know what everyone else wants.”

“You should change your major to philosophy.”

“Clarity.” Edgar spun around. “Nothing but naked desire.”

*****

Edgar got his desire in the form of a bleached blonde with neon green nails and a shirt that read, “I’m not easily pleased.” He tipped an imaginary hat in my direction, and they disappeared into the pulsating heat and crackling white noise of the crowd.

I made my way to the desperate and lonely section of the House, a room full of couches: red ones, green ones, leather ones, coffee-stained ones, cigarette-burnt ones, ones without cushions. A veritable couch graveyard. All the non-dancing, temporarily non-screwing types found their way here. I sat on the couch that looked least urine-stained and focused on my plastic cup of Bud, enjoying the way the little bubbles hugged the edge, afraid to venture out into the middle.

Someone flipped over the back of my couch, elbowing the cup out of my hand and sending my precious Bud to the floor, where it could only hope to stain the carpet in some recognizable image, like Abe Lincoln, so it could achieve some sort of legacy. Bored and belligerent, I grabbed the flipper by the shoulders. A catlike face poked out of dark brown hair at me, but she drew breath like a fish. I helped her upright.

“Love me,” she said.

A strange thank you, I thought.

“Love me.”

She sounded rather demanding that time. “I don’t really know you,” I said.

“Love me.”

“Right here?”

“Love me.”

“I’m not good at these awkward moments.”

“Love me.”

“You aren’t listening, are you?”

“Love me.”

“When I’m down and blue, all I want is someone to...”

“Love me.”

I thought she might be stuck. I figured it had to be some drug-induced state of romantic cupidity.

“You know I took LSD once,” I said. “It made me feel this scratching in my leg and when I looked down, there was a hole in my thigh, this place where a crawfish had dug into my leg.” I shuddered; I could still feel that crawfish. “I never took acid again.”

“Love me,” she said, sounding sympathetic.

*****


We hope you will purchase a copy of You Should Get That Looked At to read the rest of this and other fine and wacky stories by S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.