So Keaton and I met at the Dog Haus tonight, when I was done working and he was going to start, and I was telling him about Joyce’s haunted house over chili cheese tater tots and bacon wrapped hot dogs. (My favorite is the Cowboy. Keaton usually gets the Downtown.)
Of course Keaton refused to believe the house was as scary as it was, and so it was totally gay of me to have screamed when I got covered in ghost guts.
“You’d have screamed too.”
“Bubba, I’ve been through a lot scarier things than flying slime.”
“If you’re standing in the dark and you get hit by something cold and icky and you don’t know what it is or how to get it off, you’d scream. Even you’re not as tough as you think you are.”
Keaton gave me his smirk and took a bite of his hot dog.
“C’mon man. Let’s just say you’d scream because you were surprised, and not scared.”
I half wished Joyce could put the haunted house back together so we could scare Keaton shitless, but I knew her and her coworker were packing it all up that night. Besides, I’m not sure I’d want to have shared my personal haunted house with someone, even Keaton.
“Look at it this way: would it have been any fun to walk through a haunted house and not get scared? You gotta go with it. Especially when someone goes to all that trouble for you. I knew that it wasn’t a real ghost and that I was just in Joyce’s house, but that’s not the point. It’s a haunted house, you’re supposed to get scared. It’s just like a roller coaster.”
I had a few more tater tots and washed them down with the last of my beer.
“Have you decided what you’re getting me for my birthday tomorrow?”
“Bubba stop telling everyone when your birthday is! It’s so fuckin gay.”
“Why is it gay to tell people when my birthday is? Gay guys aren’t the only ones who have birthdays. Even you got one. January 25.”
“Yeah, but I don’t go around starting January 1st telling people that it’s gonna be my birthday in four weeks. Which is what you’ve been doing.”
“Birthdays were always a big thing when I was growing up. I told you how the birthday kid got to pick the menu and sit at the head of the table at dinner. You even got a card at your place when you came down for breakfast.”
“Yeah, but how old were you the last time you did that?”
“When I turned 24. So ha! The time I was back in Maryville between Hickory and moving out here. It’s not just a little kid thing for the Blocks.”
“Y’all can do what you want at home. But that doesn’t change the fact that telling total strangers it’s going to be your birthday is super gay.” There were a couple young guys sitting at the next table. He got their attention. “Did y’all know that it’s going to be my buddy’s birthday tomorrow? The 8th. He wants you to buy him a present.”
“Fuck you, man.”
Keaton had on a huge smirk. The other guys were a little puzzled.
“Just tell me – isn’t it super gay to tell everyone when your birthday is? Especially when you’re going to be 26.”
One of the guys answered.
“It’s not super gay…but, yeah, you’re right…it is kinda gay. Especially if you’re that old.”
That dude had no idea how close he came to getting punched lol.
So Keaton kept after me about my birthday, and I kept after him. We’d made such a big deal about it that they heard about it behind the counter…and gave me a free tap Santa Monica Brew Works.
“See?,” said to Keaton as I used it to wash down the last of the chili cheese tater tots. “It pays to advertise your birthday.”
He didn’t need to say “it’s still gay” – the smirk said it all.
I don’t give a fuck what Keaton says. I’m writing this after midnight. So I turn 26 today. I’d better make sure my phone is charged. I’m in for a lot of calls tomorrow. Not everyone I know is a dick about birthdays lol.
Joyce is taking me out to celebrate tonight. I don’t know where. I just hope it’s not another haunted house.