To any lady he deemed attractive Dalton used to say, “The list of the parts of you I’d lick is comprehensive.” He wasn’t sure why his luck, as he called it, was so poor. “I use big words and everything,” he said once. “And you, you just sit there in that same spot, and drink, and think deep thoughts or whatever, and they swarm past me to get to you.” He shook his head. I told him he had all the luck he needed—he was damn lucky one of those young ladies hadn’t yet stabbed him in his face. But later that night one did. He blocked her path to me, this way, then that way—she was his type: skin, pulse—and she sliced him quick as you please. I told him he should be proud: she knew his reputation enough to have her knife ready. When she left, my tab was one whisky larger—she took it neat—and his bloody face bore the makings of a noteworthy scar, a flaccid checkmark on his left cheek. He loves that pinkish welty worm for the sympathetic attention it draws. The day his bandage came off, he found me and said, “My luck’s finally going to be better than yours,” which made me want to pat him on his imbecile head, but I let it pass. Now whenever a woman expresses interest in his scar—especially if she brushes her fingers across it—he invariably says, “The list of the parts of you I’d rub this scar against is comprehensive.” So his luck is still poor. And I’m done wanting to pat him on the head. He says he’s hoping to get stabbed again. “Might double my chances,” he says. I’m thinking I might just do it myself.
Aaron J. Housholder teaches writing and literature at Taylor University in Upland, IN. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Relief Journal, Wyvern Lit, Chicago Literati, Cheap Pop, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @ProfAJH.