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You Work Out?

“Sorry that took so long,” the dog groomer said as she snipped a stray hair off Finley’s now-sleek coat. “He was furrier than I thought he was.”

“No prob,” I said. It was hard finding someone who could do a Norwich Terrier coat, and I wasn’t about to risk my standing with her by complaining. Plus I’m from Minnesota. We don’t complain, we just let our resentments simmer for eight or nine years.

“But he looks fabulous now,” she said. “He’s got a nice coat. And he’s got a really nice body.”

“Thank you,” I said, as if I something to do with it. As if I spotted him at the gym a few times a week. It was the kind of compliment every gay man would like to hear about their dog, projecting his own needs upon his companion. My dog has a nice little body. My dog could do porn.

Finley didn’t look like he cared much about compliments at that particular moment. “Get me the fuck out of here,” he implored me with his big brown eyes. “Or tonight while you sleep I will chew out your throat.”

Ladies with an Attitude

“Oh my God,” I said, paging through The New Yorker, “a friend of mine has a poem published in here!”

“In The New Yorker?” asked the Manly Fireplug’s roommate.

“Yeah. Well, he’s not really a friend so much as a guy I know.”

“If he’s published in The New Yorker then he’s a friend now.”

I read the poem. “Oh my God! I know everyone in this poem. Including the bulldog!”

But it must be a different bulldog by now. I hadn’t hung out with the poet’s brother since 1990, in Minneapolis, the summer after my first year of college, the summer after I’d come out of the closet.

“I know his brother. Or knew his brother. I’m not sure where he is now, but that summer he used to vogue in the passenger seat of my car, smoking Marlboro reds. His mother thought I was a bad influence on him.”

“You are a bad influence.”

“I know. Everything I touch turns gay.”

The roommate turned back to Playstation 3.

“Have you found the plasma rifle yet?” I asked.