Sean Daniel Malone

Sean Daniel Malone was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. Instead of getting married or leaving Kansas City like everyone else did, he moved into the hi(p)storic Westport neighborhood of the urban core mainly to be closer to the local bars. He also attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City and got an M.A. in English/creative writing that isn't even offered any more. Currently, he teaches English composition at Park University and Metropolitan Community College-Blue River. Really, he does.  His fiction and poetry have appeared or are upcoming in Kerouac's Dog Magazine, The Park Scribe and Red Rocket Magazine. He is a regular contributor to the music blog/magazine Demencha.com

 

Time Together (February 27, 2012. Issue 35.)

Friday nights had been designated date night since the couple never went out any other time. Date night was then transformed into watch-a-movie-night in the sort of subtle, unspoken way that change often happens two years into a relationship.

"There's not a damn thing on," he said and held the remote out chest-high.

"What do you expect? Its Friday night, most people go out and do something." Her face failed to rise from her lap as she spoke. She stared down at a newspaper that was open to the classified section.

"Well I don't know why we even pay for cable anymore. We could just as easily get whatever we wanted off the internet without the added cost." He shook his head and glared blindly at the television as people he didn't recognize appeared and disappeared. Beneath his grey sweatshirt, he felt his back growing irritated. "Would you scratch my back? I don't think I can reach it."

Once again, she didn't look up. "Well that's kind of hard to do when you don't even try." She leaned over and jabbed in to his back with her fingernails.

"Jesus! Not so hard," he said and pulled away from her, wincing. "Are you trying to dig a hole to China?"

"Fine. Do it yourself." She scooted back over to the other side of the couch and continued her reverie with the newspaper. Seven months of unemployment had frayed her nerves and weakened her patience with him.

He looked back at the television but then turned away abruptly. "Hey, maybe we could call the Sedersons and go over to their place for the evening," he said, offering what he thought was something of an olive branch.

"What for?" she asked. Finally, he'd managed to get her attention but it was only worth a frown.

"I don't know, just to do something and get out of the house. We could play poker and have a few drinks. You'd like to have a margarita, wouldn't you?"

She didn't immediately respond. Instead she readjusted her legs and pulled down the blue skirt she was wearing over her knees. "It doesn't matter, the Sedersons go out on Fridays. They aren't sitting at home waiting for us to call. If they wanted to get together with us they would've called already."

"Well, it wouldn't hurt to try would it? Maybe they're bored too. We can't be the only ones with nothing to do. Give Gina a call anyways, just to check."

"You must be desperate if you want to go over to their house. Last time you said it was a 'colossal bore' or something like that. You couldn't wait to leave." She did air quotes as she said 'colossal bore.'

"I just got sick of hearing about their dogs. If they want to have a damn family, they should just do it instead of dressing up those poor poodles in those matching frilly outfits."

"Oh I know, it's brutal. If she tells me about the consistency of their stool one more time I'm gonna puke all over her." They both looked at each other and smirked. "I'm not calling them, for reasons we've already covered. If you really wanna see them that bad, call Bill yourself. You're capable."

He thought about it for a minute. "It's just that you're so much closer to Gina than I am to Bill. Don't get me wrong, I like Bill as much as the next guy but we're not on that sort of basis."

"You can't call him? That's some friendship." She continued reading the newspaper as she spoke.

"It's not that, I just don't feel like we're close enough for me to call him up out of the blue. It's a man thing, honey. You understand don't you? Couldn't you just text her?"

"Oh alright, I'll text her once. But that's it. After this let me get back to the paper." She reached over to her purse on the table and took out a small cell phone. After picking the name 'Gina' from her contacts, she typed out a short message on the keypad that said, "do u guys want 2 do something 2nite?"

The man looked distracted and set down the remote on the arm of the couch. "What are you reading anyways? Those don't look like want ads. Wouldn't it be better to look on the internet, people don't get jobs out of the newspaper anymore."

She looked up at him half heartedly, with the look that he'd often called the "Death Stare." If they were in a playful mood, sometimes he would hum Darth Vader's theme at this point.

"Thanks for the career advice. Like I haven't exhausted every avenue over the past few months. New jobs are scarce with the economy like it is and teaching jobs are even harder to come by. Maybe you could be a little more understanding. We don't all fall into amazing careers after drinking our way through college."

He stared back at her and tried to think of anything witty to say but the moment had passed and she'd already returned to reading. "I'm just trying to help. You spend all day at home by yourself and then don't say much some nights…" He looked away for a second before continuing. "…Well, at least share with me what you're reading. I'm dying here. You think I like channel surfing that much?"

She laughed momentarily and then started reading aloud. "I'm reading the personal ads now. Here's a funny one about a…"

He interrupted before she could get to the ad, "How do you read that crap? I mean seriously, we're both intelligent people but I just don't see…"

"Do you wanna hear it or not?" She raised her eyebrows and waited for him to grow quiet. "Single white male, average build, seeks bombshell blonde that can cook and please me sexually while cleaning also cleaning the apartment..."

"Yeah, don't we all." He laughed and raised the remote up once again.

"…Wait, here's one: I have kids, 29. Yep just like it says, I am tired of games that bitches play. I am looking for the real deal, no one hitter quitter. So you want to know more, send a message. Put kids in the subject line so I know your (spelled y-o-u-r) real." She grinned and looked over at him.

"Well, at least he has good diction," he said. They both laughed for a moment before she turned back to the newspaper and flipped the page.

"Oh that's good diction baby," she said in a high muffled voice. "See, we can still have fun. We don't need the Sedersons and their crappy dogs." She paused. "Oh god, listen to this one: Couple seeks third for fun and possibly more. After awhile even the best relationships need some spice added. We want an attractive woman in her mid 20's for dinner, fun and sex. We'll take turns and then all together if we like you. Bring toys if you have them…wow, just...wow."

He turned his head away from the television for a moment and smiled. "Is the taking turns part about cooking or sex?" He snickered outloud. "I'm glad I can barely boil water.

At least I'll never have to worry about that."

"The ad should've said 'Full Service Maid Wanted.' Emphasis on the 'service' part," she said. "You know, you're lucky you found me. Not all liberated women can cook as well as I can. You've got my mom to thank for that."

"Yeah, I'll be sure to thank her next time she visits and stays for a month. In between buying her meals and driving her around town I'll thank her for teaching you to cook. I think we're even."

"Don't be a jerk. You know I was just a little lonely after grad school, I asked her to come and stay. Besides, my mother actually likes you most of the time, don't mess it up." She flipped over to the next page in the newspaper and looked up absentmindedly at the TV. "What are you watching anyway?"

He scratched at the side of his face as he answered, "I think it's the new Real World. All they do is get drunk and sleep with each other anymore. It's just like Jersey Shore."

She didn't respond to what he said. Instead, she continued talking about the personal ad. "Can you imagine if we put out an ad like that?" she asked without thinking too much about it.

"No, we could never pull it off. You'd get jealous."

"Oh, is that the problem?" She squinted back at him. "Really? Well maybe we should just go ahead and work up a personal ad then and see if we feel like placing it." She grabbed for a pen and a small pad of paper sitting next to her on an end table. She started writing and pronouncing everything out loud before he could even respond. "Wanted…an attractive 'friend' to entertain bored couple. Must be willing to put up with the man's, how shall I say, 'shortcomings' in bed. In addition, must be able to stay at home alone while husband sits on his ass all day at work and talks about football. Cleaning and cooking must be done daily at demand of man. Also must be willing to go down on woman on occasion since man is incapable of turning her on…There!" she said loudly and added a period. "That should do it."

He stared at her and gritted his teeth. "Let's not forget to add that…here, give me that." She tossed the pad of paper and the pen at him before crossing her arms and settling into the corner of the couch. He copied her and spoke the words aloud as he wrote them. "Friend must be willing to listen to woman complain daily about her life and her family. And must take over cooking duties since woman is incapable of cooking anything besides vegetarian casseroles. Also, must be large breasted and proactive in the bedroom….There!"

"Well let's do it then. I'll even pay for the ad myself with my own money so you can't complain later on that I didn't contribute." She reached down to the floor for her purse and rifled through it.

"Whatever. You don't even like women. You're too timid to go through with it." He flipped the station once more and tried to ignore her.

"You don't know what I did before you met me, you're just a speck on my radar. I've messed around with girls before!" She shouted the last word as if it were somehow detrimental to him.

"Haaaa! You're kidding right? What are you talking about, that time you and Candace got drunk and made out with each other in college? There's nothing like getting so shitfaced on rum at a fraternity house that you make out with your roommate and piss your pants in bed next to her. Oh, golden times really. You're a full blown lesbian!" He tossed the remote on to the ground and stood up. Turning his back to her, he headed towards the kitchen shaking his head.

She flipped through the newspaper back and forth, aimlessly reading random lines of text. "Oh I've got just the girl in mind, here's one right here. I hope she likes a lot of attention from women, because she's gonna be getting my full attention."

"That's funny, I haven't gotten your full attention in the past year. Between you being miserable, your mother visiting, and all the time you spend on the internet, I can't even remember the last time we had sex." He opened the refrigerator door and looked inside. "I can't wait till we add a third. It might distract me from all the great conversations we have about you and how much you hate your life…It could even take away a little from all the fun we have on these great date nights, but I think I can deal with it. Go ahead, call her up and tell her we're ready to rock…tell her to bring toys if she's got them!" He slammed the refrigerator door and lifted a carton of milk up to his lips, gulping each mouthful down as if it were his last.

She stared across the short distance separating them and blinked rapidly. "Well, if that's what you want…"

He stopped drinking for a minute and exhaled a heavy breath. "Great, set it up. I'm free all goddamn weekend. Hell we could even do it tonight if…" Just then a marimba ringtone echoed through the living room and the kitchenette. They both paused momentarily and looked at one another. She reached for her phone and the sound stopped. She flipped over the locked bar and looked at the screen.

"Well, who the hell is it?" he asked in a hoarse whisper, milk sliding off his chin.

She smoothed her bangs away from her forehead and spoke, "It's Gina. She says we should come over and have a few drinks if we feel like it…"

He stared back at her from over the counter, transfixed by a tuft of hair that was out of place on the back of her head. "…Well of course, let's go. I love the Sedersons."

"Ok…let's go. I'll get my jacket," she said quietly, closing the newspaper and wiping away something from the side of her cheek.

The Legendary