A Short Story by Asher Wolfstein
Harold Bishop was thinking about Casper Blackman again. He had always thought about Casper, particularly since he started going back to church. He couldn’t figure out the connection between a magic wise man, and a friendly ghost. Maybe he just read too much. In fact, Casper was an admirable author with vast moles and handsome elbows. Those elbows haunted Harold, at night he’d dream about them. They’d bear down on his face, pushing against his nose. Then Casper would run away, walking on his elbows in a quite disturbing fashion. However, Harold himself had admired such moles from afar at last week’s cocktail lounge party. It was there that the love-hate relationship began. It was there that Harold realized he was gay.
Harold walked over to the window and reflected on his noisy surroundings. Exeter was a nice place, it had houses, roads, a library. All in all a very unique city. But, he had always hated wild Exeter with its excited, early estuaries. It was a place that encouraged his tendency to feel jumpy. That’s why he didn’t go around any of the cliffs.
Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the admirable figure of Casper Blackman.
What was Harold going to do? He’d only admired Blackman from afar, his moles spelling out love all over the inside of his eyelids. Now, Blackman was coming towards him. Harold could only picture him jaunting forward disturbingly on his elbows, but in reality, Blackman was using his shoes. With every step, his shoes would make this little click sound that drove Harold wild!
Harold gulped. He glanced at his own reflection in a handy mirror nearby. He was a vile, remarkable, brandy drinker with ugly moles and short elbows. He was no good, and only ever thought about himself. How was he going to get out of this? His friends saw him as a talented, tall teacher. But, he felt like he didn’t know anything and had gone into a deep depression. What did he ever really teach anybody? How to eat lightbulbs? Harold tried to think of his accomplishments. Once, he had helped an outstanding chicken cross the road. He knew why, he always had always known why even as a young child. But it was a secret, a secret he could never reveal to Blackman.
But not even a vile person who had once helped an outstanding chicken cross the road was prepared for what Casper had in store today. Was it, a present? Was it a bomb? Was it… another chicken? Harold stared into Blackman’s eyes, the whirling purple orb-like pools welled in anticipation. Harold could swim in those eyes, they were beautiful. Almost too beautiful for words, but not quite.
The sun shone like laughing puppies, making Harold afraid. He was afraid of the trail of destruction and death Blackman was rumored to always leave behind him. He could see it now. What did this possessed man want from him? He knew it wouldn’t be long before he became another victim, drowning in Caspers eyeballs and lost forever at sea. Harold grabbed a crumpled newspaper that had been strewn nearby; he massaged it with his fingers. He got a tingly feeling all over his body.
As Casper came closer, he could see the ashamed glint in his eye. He knew that Casper had been seeing someone else, and never really took their relationship very seriously. Could it be that Blackman was breaking up with him? There were so many questions, all the time! Why!? Oh, goddammit!
Casper glared with all the wrath of a dozen grapes. He said, in hushed tones, “I hate you and I want a resolution.”
Harold glanced back, then glanced at the newspaper. The lead story was about a nice little village in Nicaragua. He wondered what he could learn from such a simple life. If he was a Nicaraguan he’d know what to do. Harold gulped down a strange mixture of animosity and desire. It tasted like cherry kool-aid. Harold shot back, “I resolve to lose weight this year!”
Casper glared back at him. Harold’s fire had completely missed his head, only nicking the tip of his ear. Blackman knew the man was naive. He’d join a gym, and then only go twice. All the while Casper would be there to collect the monthly dues, as he always collected others’ mistakes and misery.
Harold looked back, even more afraid and still fingering the crumpled newspaper. “Casper, I have only one word for you… Exterminate!,” he replied.
They looked at each other with happy feelings, like two embarrassed, eager elephants hopping at a very friendly funeral, which had reggae music playing in the background and two special uncles rampaging to the beat. And when I say two special uncles, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The moment between them had long been coming. You could almost say it was a world record, but since nobody was around to observe it, it didn’t happen. If only this moment could be photographed, it would make a great scrapbook addition. The feelings of both men swirled like cotton candy, sweet to taste but full of nothing.
Harold studied Casper’s vast moles and handsome elbows. Eventually, he took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” began Harold in apologetic tones, “but I don’t feel the same way, and I never will. I just don’t hate you, Casper.”
Casper looked surprised, his emotions raw like a broken, better book. He had written about hate so long in his life, he had forgotten there was another emotion. Blackman hated everything and everyone. Why couldn’t Harold return the caliginous depths of his loathing? He could almost munch on the celery stick of his apathy. If only he’d ordered the extra hot buffalo wings.
Harold could actually smell Casper’s emotions shatter into six pieces. It looked surprisingly like a track from Eurythmics… Harold wasn’t really in the mood for some sweet dreams right then. All the two could sense was the warmth from their love. This was the true power of friendship, able to overcome everything, including celery sticks. It was this power that provided the extra hot buffalo wings. Then the admirable author hurried away into the distance.
Not even a glass of brandy would calm Harold’s nerves tonight.