"Bully" Comes From The Middle Dutch Word For Lover
By Skylar Alexander
Bill Havenhill and I grow up piss-ants in the same piss-ant town; we both have sisters named Cheyenne; we both are aliens in an elementary school named after a spaceman—him because he is too fond of magenta markers and me because I am dirt poor and smell like it. Michael Maynard, the third in our trifecta of little green men, lives over the bend in the wilderness toward McCausland. His family reuses paper plates and he only wears sweat pants. He is the husky to our prepubescent thinness, and thus bears the brunt of the beatings. Michael Maynard has a body like a bear and a dad who hits a lot harder than the pretty tanned jackass who beats us, whose name I write in a black ink heart on my headboard; Michael Maynard takes it like a man, but Bill and me—we take it like the sissies we are. We all bleed, but my bleeding is different.
We all grow into our adolescent bodies. Bill Havenhill gets a girlfriend with a lazy eye; Michael Maynard gets a girl pregnant after bending her over the prep table at McDonalds on the overnight shift, but they pay to get her womb cleaned out; I get an hourglass figure early enough that my daddy’s friends label me “an old soul” before pulling me into their laps and slip me money like they used to when I was little. After we throw our square hats in the air and do the picture thing, Bill enlists in the military; Maynard tries his hand at professional wrestling; I try to get married, to anyone, several times, to my ruin.
Bill Havenhill grows into a Rocket Specialist; Michael Maynard grows into his father, drunk and angry; I grow weary of men and take to carrying keys between my knuckles. Bill Havenhill does Kuwait, then does Killeen; does gay marriage, then does gay divorce. Michael Maynard does the chain store circuit—tours Walmart, then Menards, then Lowes’ as head cashier; Michael Maynard nails himself a little red-haired wife and red-haired son. I am nailed, repeatedly, a crown jewel in too many men’s exotic butterfly collections. I do the hokey pokey with every major religion after my man (reformed, not like the rest, he swears) hits me, then leaves me with nothing. Bill Havenhill takes to Trumpism, Michael Maynard takes to Trumpism, I take to puff-puff-pass; I take to vows of refuge; I take to anything that makes me disappear.
Bill Havenhill gets into cockatiels, moves to Ft. Hood alone. Maynard gets into LARPing, goes by Morg now; he dominates the fifteen-year-olds in the park. I get clean—so clean I gleam like new pennies. I tie myself to a helium balloon and watch them as I float away, waving like Princess Di, until I too am but a blip in the atmosphere, blip-blipping into the black.
About the Author:
Skylar Alexander is a writer, teacher, and graphic designer living in Iowa City. She is the assistant director of the Young Emerging Writers Program at the Midwest Writing Center in Rock Island, Illinois. Her writing has appeared in Smokelong Quartely, Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, and Light Industrial Safety, Hobart, Poetry City, USA, PromptPress, Mantra, and elsewhere. Her first collection is forthcoming from Forklift Books.
About Weekly Flash Prose and Prose Poetry:
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