Happy New Year! (a ficlet in 6 pictures)

Allen: Hey Buster! Sorry it took so long for me to get here, I got held up by the old ball and chain. You know how the ladies are, always making you late. Haha, but I sure do love my girlfriend, even if she wanted to spend New Year’s at a fancy club without me. Anyway, I’m here now.

Buster: Allen, bro! You made it! No worries about being late. I, too, know how women can be. You know, from all the times that I’ve dated them. Which is a lot. Anyway, it’s still 2016, so you’re not that late. Grab a seat. Meet Cyril!

Allen: Hey, I’m Allen, Buster’s best friend since kindergarten. We go way back and are super close.

Cyril: You’re a ginger!

Allen: Haha, yep, sure am. The girlfriend sorta has a thing for gingers, if you know what I mean.

Cyril: Can you do magic?

Allen: Uhhh… no?

Cyril: Bummer. I thought gingers could do magic. But it’s cool, any friend of Buster’s is a friend of mine.

Allen: How do you and Buster know each other?

Cyril: Work. I guess I’m not as good friends with Buster as you are, though. He’s had his hand on your shoulder for the last five minutes and you haven’t even said anything. You must be pretty close not to mind that.

No one ever puts their hand on my shoulder. Well, my mom used to.

But I haven’t talked to her in a while.

Buster: Haha, Cyril what a funny thing to point out. I didn’t even notice my hand was still here on Allen’s shoulder. Probably because of how close we are. It’s not weird or anything because we’re super straight. I could probably touch him other places too and that wouldn’t be weird either.

Allen: Yeah, what he said. Not weird at all. But I’m totally hetero. I have a girlfriend and everything. And don’t worry, Cyril, it’s New Year’s Eve! We’ll find someone to touch your shoulder by the end of the night!

Cyril: Really? How? Are you going to use magic?

Allen: No.

Cyril: Hey Allen, since you’ve been talking about your girlfriend so much, can you show us some pictures?

Allen: Haha, oh, yeah, sure, um, haha, okay, totally. Just let me pull them up here on my trusty phone. Just give me a second…

Cyril: No worries, take your time. It’ll give me a chance to stand up and come take a closer look.

Allen: Right, of course… um, okay, here we go. Here are a bunch of pictures of my super hot girlfriend who I’m totally in love with.

Buster: Yep, that’s your girlfriend, who I don’t harbor any resentment towards at all.

Cyril: She’s really pretty. And she even looks a little like my mom. Wait, but why do you look different in all these pictures?

Allen: Uhh, they’re a little old, I guess.

Cyril: Don’t you have any newer pictures of your girlfriend?

Allen: Uh, I do. But, uh, not on this phone. On my super expensive camera that I left at home that I own because I’m a really good photographer. I definitely have more recent pictures. Totally. Why wouldn’t I? It’s not like we broke up a long time ago and I’ve been hiding it ever since. That would be ridiculous.

Cyril: Wow, so you have a girlfriend who looks like my mom and you can do magic! That’s so cool.

Allen: No! I mean, yes! I mean, yes to the one thing – I definitely have a girlfriend – but not to the other. I can’t do magic, Cyril.

Buster: Just smile through the pain, Buster, smile through it. Someday he’ll break up with her and see that you’ve been here for him all along. And until that day, at least you’ve got your trusty friend, Beer, to help you out!

Cyril: Hey, look, the ball’s about to drop! Everybody get ready to cheers!

Allen: You guys, does the ball look a bit different this year? Or wait, maybe it’s just the air in here. Does something feel funny? It smells sorta like cinnamon… and fairy dust?

Buster: I don’t know. I’ve been drinking to dull my heartache and I can’t tell anymore.

Allen: Wait, Buster, what heartache?

Buster: Nevermind, the ball’s going to start dropping any minute.

Cyril: Hey, guys, we should make New Year’s wishes! And then rub Allen’s head for good luck when the ball drops.

Allen: Can we not? How about I promise I’ll make a wish if you promise not to rub my head?

Cyril: Deal! Though I’m not sure it’ll work as well. Anyway, I wish for a million dollars and a private yacht and a champagne vineyard named after me. That’s what I want, yessiree! Material things for old Cyril!

Allen: Uh, cool. I guess it’s my turn. Uh, I wish for my life to keep being as generally excellent as it is with my girlfriend, and, I dunno, like, maybe we can get married and have 2.5 kids and a dog? Because things are really great with her.

Buster: Great wish, man! I support it 100% because all I want is your happiness. Uh, yeah, so I guess that’s my wish, too? For you to be happy.

Allen: Aww, thanks man. That’s really sweet.

Buster: Anything for you, man.

anything.

Cyril: It’s dropping!

Everyone in the bar: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-

… …

… … …

… … … …

Allen: Uh, guys? Does anyone else feel frozen in place right now?

Buster: Oh, thank God, I thought it was just me! I can’t feel my extremities.

Cyril: That probably explains why you didn’t notice your hand is back on Allen’s shoulder. I can’t feel my extremities either! Or move! Oh my God, Allen, did you do ginger magic to us?

Allen: Cyril, for the last time – I can’t do that. But is it just me or did the bar behind us suddenly turn green?

Buster: Yeah, it definitely did. Wait, so what happened? Why do you think we’re frozen?

Cyril: Magic!

Allen & Buster: Cyril…

Cyril: Well, can you guys think of anything else that makes sense?

Allen: I guess not. So are we under a spell or something? How do we break it?

Buster: I don’t know. I guess it depends on what triggered it. Uh, what were we doing right before everything froze?

Allen: Making wishes?

Cyril: Oh my God, you guys. I’m the one who magicked us. I did it. I made the spell happen.

Buster: How?

Cyril: I lied about my wish. I said all I wanted were material things, but that’s not true. What I actually want is to reconnect with my family and stop feeling this empty hole in the center of my heart.

Buster: Oh. Um, I’m sorry man, that sounds rough.

Cyril: Thanks. But wait, this is weird. Now that I said all that, I’m can kind of feel my fingers and toes again. I might be able to move soon. I think that telling the truth works. Can you guys feel yours now, too?

Allen: Uh, no.

Buster: Me neither.

Cyril: But that doesn’t make any sense. Unless… unless you guys lied about your wishes too?

Buster: Haha, Cyril, don’t be ridiculous. I didn’t lie about my wish.

Allen: Yeah, me neither. I was telling the complete, total, entire truth when I talked about my girlfriend. Everything I’ve said about her is definitely and absolutely not a lie at all.

Cyril: Then how come you can’t move?

Buster: Dammit.

Allen, I think Cyril’s right.

I think we both have to tell the truth. So I’m sorry for what you’re about to hear, because I think it might freak you out a little but…

The truth is, I’m in love with you and I have been for years. And I don’t want you to marry your girlfriend and have 2.5 kids and a dog. I mean, I do want you to be happy, that part of what I said is true. But- but- but my New Year’s wish is for you to finally see how much I love you and how good we would be together and for you to have that future… with me.

Allen: Buster, I never-

Buster: I know, I know, it’s crazy. I don’t expect you to feel the same way. I know you and your girlfriend have been together forever but-

Allen: We actually broke up six months ago.

Buster: Wait, what? You guys broke up?

Allen: Yeah. Because- because- well, because of you. She never liked it when we hung out and one day she finally told me she thought I loved you more than I loved her… and I realized it was true. And she left me. But I couldn’t tell you, because what if you’d asked why? I didn’t think I could ever share my feelings with you. I didn’t think you’d ever think of me… like that.

Buster: Really?

Allen: Really. Buster, my New Year’s wish is to be with you, too!

Everyone in the bar: 3-2-1-Midnight! Happy New Year!

Buster: Hey wow, I can move again! Happy New Year, Allen.

Allen: Oh my God, me too! Happy New Year, Buster. I- I love you.

Buster: I love you, too.

Cyril: Cool, you guys. Have fun with that. I’m gonna go call my mom!

Happy New Year!

Love,

Allen, Buster, Cyril, and me, Spencer

Wait, what?

You ever go looking for stock photos and throw something like “men together” into the search box, only to emerge hours later, trembling and shaken by the things you’ve seen?

I give you “Wait, what?” a ficlet in 11 pictures – all inspired by lefty’s hat.

(All pics from Deposit photos, click ’em if you want links.)


“Wait, what?”

Larry: Boy, I sure do love getting beers with my buddies in this suspiciously well-lit beer garden. Milton and Niall are the best. I mean, look at them. Milton has so much confidence in himself, rocking that checked shirt like he’s a sentient Pantone color board. And those glasses – adorbs. And Niall always looks so cool and collected, even when he’s wearing shades he stole from his 10-year-old nephew and a t-shirt I think he maybe hasn’t washed in a year.

It’s so much fun laughing with my buddies. Jokes are great. Milton and Niall make the best jokes.

I wish I were better at jokes.

Maybe if I keep my jaw locked and my mouth open, maybe I can inhale some of their humor when they laugh? Yeah. I’m definitely gonna try that.

I wish I knew what we were laughing about. Oh God, it’s not me, is it? They wouldn’t laugh at me, would they? Milton and Niall are my best buddies. Buddies don’t laugh at each other, do they?

I bet it’s my hat. Dammit. I knew I shouldn’t have worn this hat. It would look so much better on Niall.

Larry: I hate myself. And this hat. I’ll just never look up or make eye contact ever again. Then everything will be fine.

Milton: Oh my God, Niall, you’ll never believe what Tristan’s telling me right now.

Niall: What’s he telling you, Milton? Oh my God, tell me now, tell me now.

Larry: Just keep looking at your phone, Larry. Maybe if you act really uninterested, they’ll invite you into the conversation. Don’t let them know you’re crying inside. And definitely don’t let them know about your crush on Tristan.

Milton: He says he had a threesome last night.

Niall: No way!

Milton: Way!

Larry: A little piece of my soul just crumbled into dust.

Niall: No way!

Milton: Way!

Larry: I can feel my heart cracking in two.

Niall: No way!

Milton: Way!

Larry: I think I might actually be dying.

Niall: Larry, why are you being so quiet over there?

Larry: What? Quiet? No, I’m not being quiet. You’re being quiet. Shut up.

Niall: Larry, you can’t lie to us. Come on. What’s up?

Milton: Yeah, come on, Larry. We’re your best buddies. How many years have we been coming to this paradisiacal beer garden to drink and perform heteronormative gender identities?

Larry: I mean, a while, I guess. But you guys, you’re going to laugh at me. It’s stupid. Just forget about it.

Niall: Larry. Buddy. Come on. Tell us. Larry. Larrrrry. Larrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry.

Larry: Ugh, fine. But you’re not allowed to laugh at me.

Milton: You have our word.

Niall: Yeah, scouts honor.

Larry: It’s, well, it’s about Tristan. It’s kind of hard to say this, actually. But it’s just, he’s always seemed so handsome and funny and smart and cool and-

Milton and Niall: BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Larry: You guys said you wouldn’t laugh!

Niall: I’m sorry. It’s just… Tristan? Cool? He’s such a doofus.

Milton: And God, he has the worst taste in hats.

Larry: Oh.

Niall: Not like you, Larry. You have great taste in hats!

Larry: Wait. You… you like my hat? Really?

Milton: Heck yeah, buddy! I love how it sits on top of your head like it doesn’t quite fit right.

Niall: Yeah, but you don’t let that stop you. You just wear it anyway. I’ve always admired that in you, Larry. Your sartorial courage.

Larry: But I’ve always admired you guys! I mean, Milton, your whole Alvin & the Chipmunks aesthetic slays. You’re like the hottest humanoid Simon I’ve ever seen. And Niall, the way you don’t care that you haven’t showered in a month? It’s so impressive. And so is your man musk, tbh.

Milton: Wait, you guys. I just had the craziest idea.

Niall: What?

Milton: What if… WE had a threesome. We could even text Tristan about it.

Niall: Haha, that’d be so funny.

Milton: I know!

Niall: So funny!

Milton: I know!

Niall: So funny!

Larry: I mean, like, whatever. I’m down if you guys are. Totally cool either way. It’s not like this would be my first time or is something I’ve been craving ever since the first day I met you guys here in this heavenly outdoor pub. I’ve definitely never thought about doing this before, or dreamed about it at night, or painted watercolors of it that I’ve papered the inside of my closet with, or anything like that. It’s NBD, is what I’m saying.

Milton: I mean, I’m only saying this because I’m like, so drunk, you know? Like, it’s a total joke. Funny. Haha.

Niall: Right. I know, me too. So drunk. But like, in a fun, secure-in-my-masculinity kind of way.

Larry: Uhhh, right. I’m the exact kind of drunk that makes you want to bone your best buddies but definitely just in a friends kind of way?

Milton and Niall: Exactly!

Niall: Look how drunk I am, I’m wearing my glasses all crooked. Hahaha, sure is fun to be drunk and let go of your inhibitions, I mean, not that I felt inhibited or anything because that would imply that I’ve been wanting to do this or even given this idea any thought before this very exact right here instantaenous moment. But yeah, I mean, look at my glasses!

Milton: Look at MY glasses! And my eyes. I’m so drunk! I mean, not so drunk that I can’t consent to this. I enthusiastically consent. But in a totally playful, not at all homoerotic way.

Niall: Right. Me too. Just down for a non-homoerotic threesome with my best buddies.

Larry: Right. Yeah. Me too.

Niall: To threesomes!

Milton: Haha, what a gas!

Larry: Ohmygoditsreallyhappeningohmygodohmygodohmygod.

Niall: Well that sure was fun.

Milton: Definitely. And not weird at all.

Niall: I for one do not feel changed by that experience in the slightest.

Milton: Same. It definitely won’t make me second guess all the years I’ve put into making sure everyone knows how straight I am.

Larry: Right. I certainly am not full of confused feelings, swirling around inside me like a hungry, angst-vortex monster. Nor am I now feeling uncomfortable about my decision to wear jorts.

Niall: Haha, and you’d know what that’s like now, Larry, wouldn’t you. Things swirling around inside you, I mean. Get it? Get it?

Larry: Yeah, Niall, I get it.

Milton: You can always take your jorts off again, Larry. You certainly seemed eager enough to do so before, if you know what I’m saying.

Niall: For the threesome, Larry. That’s what Milton’s saying.

Larry: No, I get that too. I just-

Niall: Larry, you are so funny. I’m so glad you’re my buddy.

Larry: I actually don’t think I’m very funny, but, yeah. Buddy. Right. Totally.

Milton: To threesomes!

Niall: Really straight, not at all complicated threesomes.

Milton: Exactly. Cheers to that!

Larry: Hey, where’d this soccer ball come from?

Niall: Oh Larry, back at it again with the non-sequiturs. What a card!

Larry: I really wasn’t trying to-

Niall: Drink your beer, Larry.

Larry: Actually, I think mine’s water. How come you guys get beer and I get water?

Milton: Don’t complain, Larry. Hydration is very important!

Niall: Haha, yeah. You already let US hydrate you and you weren’t complaining then!

Milton: Anyway, I don’t know where this soccer ball is from, but it’s mine now!

Niall: Haha, no way buddy, it’s mine!

Larry: Wait, hold on, me too. I mean, it’s mine? Haha, I totally just want that soccer ball and not an excuse to feel your hands on my skin again.

Niall: Larry, you joker.

Larry: The thing is, actually, that wasn’t-

Milton: What a funny afternoon, you guys. We’re so crazy.

Niall: Totally. Hey, wait, Larry. I just remembered, you were going to tell us something about Tristan before we got sidetracked. Wanna fill us in?

Milton: Haha, or do you want us to fill you in again?

Niall: Heyo!

Milton: Up top!

Larry: Wait, was THAT a joke? I really think I don’t understand what humor is, at all. But anyway, I like, don’t even remember what I was going to say. It’s not like I’ve been burning to say this since we first exchanged eye glances across the rough-hewn, restored wood tables of the beer garden while bathed in magic hour lighting or like I have it cross-stitched on the underside of my pillow or anything. It’s not a big deal.

Niall: We just went through this, Larry. YOU are a big deal to us. We’re your buddies, your bros. You’ve already let us in literally. Now let us in figuratively! Come on. No secrets between us.

Larry: Ugh, ok, fine. Ummm, well, the thing is-

Milton: Whatever it is, we can handle it. Just like we handled-

Larry: I’m gay.

Milton and Niall: Wait, what?

Larry: And I get it. If you guys don’t want to be my friends anymore. Or talk to me, even. It’s fine. I just… felt like I had to tell you?

Milton: Actually… me too?

Niall: Yeah. Me three, to tell the truth.

Larry: Wait, so we’re just a trio of gay guys, sitting in a field with our calves out, covered in a light sheen of sweat, stripped of all our accessories and artifice, realizing we can finally open up to each other?

Milton: Wow. I guess so?

Niall: Haha, though tbh, Larry, you’d already opened up to us, if you-

Larry: For Pete’s sake, Niall, I GET it.

Niall: Good. But now that you mention our accessories… there are some other things I’d like to strip off you too…

Larry: Already? But we just…

Niall: Time waits for no man, Larry. Not even men with tiny straw hats. Now get over here and bring that soccer ball. I’ve got an idea…