I’m having a lovely dinner with my wife for once, regaling her with tales of my exploits or whatever, and I notice her eyes have gone sort of dim and cloudy even though what I’m saying is real interesting, right? So I rather pointedly stop mid-sentence and give her a look like “I’m sorry, is my heroism not fascinating enough?” I mean seriously. She just twitches her head toward the bar and murmurs, “Who’s that?” in a way that is supposed to come off as nonchalant but comes off as too nonchalant with an undertone of intense sexual interest. So of course I look over and can tell immediately who she’s referring to by his yellow leotard and cheap, pleathery cape: Captain Smash, who you’d think she’d be capable of recognizing as my arch-nemesis, I’ve only told the story like 50 times.
So I drop my fork in mid-bite because I think it makes the moment more dramatic, and I toss down my napkin exactly like the guy you like in that movie, and I take a quick survey of the room to see how many people are watching us (a lot) before I do the best impression of a saunter I can manage with this stupid fucking utility belt over to the bar, where I tap Sgt. Pretending-I’m-not-here on his padded shoulder.
“I thought we had an agreement.”
He turns his head with a languid disinterest that I just know my wife is making mental note of for future alone time and I feel a heat rising somewhere between my stomach and heart–roughly tracing the web of scars left over from our last encounter.
“An agreement?” His breath smells like hot applesauce and pussy.
“Tuesdays are my night at Chevy’s.” I try not to sound whiny.
“I had a craving.”
“The fish tacos aren’t that good, Donnie. And this isn’t the only superhero-friendly tex-mex in town. You can’t drive 5 minutes from your shitty condo over to the interstate?”
“I wasn’t craving tacos.” He says this real slowly and I swear to Christ I can hear my wife’s intake of breath from half a room away, can feel the heat wave off her lady-codpiece. 15 years with someone and you just know, you know?
“I believe you have something of mine.”
(Jesus, Donnie, every time?) “Yes. I have your left nut in the trophy case at the Tower of Me-Time, but I don’t see–”
“I’m referring to… something else.” I can literally hear my wife panting.
I get decisive and summon my B-movie voice: “Are we going to have a problem, Captain Smash?” I pause to note the rumble of appreciation this sets off throughout the room.
“I think we already do.” I follow his gaze over my shoulder and my wife is holding a fucking rose in her hand, how did he–God, I hate this fucking queer.
So, whatever: some throwing stars appear as if from nowhere, although believe me this is well-worn territory for the both of us. Things get smashed™. Half the kitchen staff are apparently henchmen of some kind, which I did not see coming. A table or two end up on the wrong side of what used to be a nice plate-glass window; a general what-you-might-call-a-hoopla happens for about seven minutes and a handful of diners will have some interesting scar stories to tell, but in the end I’m victorious, again, and a grateful citizenry are taking turns clapping me on the back, again.
But I’m finishing my chili alone, bleeding a little out of one ear. And behind my itchy mask, hidden to all of them, a waterfall of tears is cascading down a mountainside of, like, anguish or whatever.