This is the halfway point in the web self-publishing experiment wherein I am posting one very short story a week for twelve weeks here at ‘Very short stories are us.’ As always I am grateful for your participation.
It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Andrew was known around town as the one who paid for other people’s groceries and scooped up other people’s dogs’ poop. Then one night Jack started buying him drinks in a bar. When Jack went to the bathroom the bartender, who loved Andrew, as everyone did, told him to thank Jack and wish him a good night and go home and not look back. Just before going to the bathroom, however, Jack had said something lovely about Andrew’s face, and Andrew hadn’t had sex in four months and was only 32, so he ignored the bartender’s advice. They went back to Jack’s place and there was nothing weird that night or the next morning or the next dozen nights and mornings. Andrew did think Jack’s apartment could use a little cleaning though, so on a Saturday two weeks after they met, when Jack went out to run some errands, Andrew swept, vacuumed, dusted, scrubbed, straightened up Jack’s papers, did a few loads of laundry, and alphabetized the 50 or so books Jack had on his shelf. When Jack got home and saw what Andrew had done he literally clutched his own chest as if he were having a heart attack. He stumbled over to his couch, which no longer was covered with newspapers, and fell back onto it. “What have you done?” he said. “I just thought—” “No! Shut up!” Jack stood up and ran at Andrew. He clocked Andrew not very hard in the side of the head and Andrew used an aikido move he’d learned in his twenties to push Jack lightly into the refrigerator. Andrew knew things could go either way at this point. Jack started kicking the wall like an insane person. After three hard kicks there was a hole in the wall, and Jack kept kicking the hole bigger and bigger. Andrew was getting scared and inched toward the door. With one of his crazy kicks Jack broke through something inside the wall and several hundred cockroaches poured out onto the floor at Jack’s feet. Jack stopped kicking. He stood there panting and looked with curiosity down at the cockroaches moving in a fury at his feet, so densely packed together that you couldn’t see the linoleum. They climbed onto Jack’s shoes and up inside his pants leg. Jack smiled at Andrew. He raised his fists over his head. “Aaaaaaaaaah!” he shouted. “I am the King of the Cockroaches!” “Oh my God,” Andrew said under his breath, “I think I love this guy.”