The Lack of It by Alex Tronson
CW: Threat of violence, weapon
This college student with the polo shirt is upset at us. We tell him he’s too drunk and too angry to come in the house. There’s a performance going on in the basement and it’s all acoustic singer-songwriter stuff. We know if we let him in, he’s going to be loud and he’s going to bother everyone.
The guy in the polo tucks his shoulder down like a linebacker and tries to get past us. But we squeeze together and block him from the door. His balance is all off and he falls back into the dead bush in front of the house, saying, “I came here to see!” He says, “I don’t understand why you won’t let me see!”
We lie and tell him the show is almost over. Everyone is going home soon. He scrambles back up to his feet, wiping at the dirt smeared across his polo. “Fine,” he says. “I’m going.”
We let out a collective sigh. This is relief crashing over us. We’ve deterred him.
“And I’m coming back with a gun,” he tells us.
We tell him it’s a bad idea, that his idea is quite bad. Inside the house, down in basement, a brief applause erupts. Someone is talking into the mic about a tip basket.
The guy in the polo wanders off into the street. He’s cursing us. Shouting about how cool we think we are.
It’s true that we feel cool, but it’s all in the moment. It’s circumstantial cool. It won’t last.
It’s also true that this guy could come back with a gun, but it’s unlikely. What’s more likely is that the guy in the polo will stumble home to some dilapidated house near campus. He will go to sleep in the yard. Or the bathroom. Or if he’s lucky, on the sofa.
What’s even more likely is that we will retreat inside, drink a little too much, become too loud and bother everyone. But no one will tell us or kick us out because it’s our house. We rent the place. We host the shows.
In the morning, we will talk about the guy in the polo and decide it was about power.
Years from now, we will know this was about the lack of it.
Alex Tronson is a writer living in New Orleans. His work has appeared in Hobart, Expat Press, Misery Tourism, and Hash Journal. Twitter: @alex_tronson