Honey Man Dan - Part 1 (2nd book in series)

Submitted into Contest #156 in response to: Write a story where a character is experiencing parallel realities.... view prompt

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LGBTQ+ Romance Speculative

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

Honey Man Dan  

I’m always afraid to touch it. I’m always afraid until I lay a finger flat down on its wavy tube. Neon lights always looked like frozen glow-in-the-dark worms to me from when I was a kid. My mid-aisle seat 20s aren’t any different. I still tap this sign every time I pass it, almost expecting one to thaw out and crawl on me. I just knew it would jump on


My hand, wrecking my scream record. Outward emotion came to me like a forgotten birthday–the planning part of it all wasn’t a quality that showed up for me. Putting a neon sign on a standing wall of ivy was like a signal for me to completely stop thinking and stare. The message didn’t matter; I didn't agree with it anyway. My tolerance for stammers like “Fresh” or “Sassy” was at a deep red line for me. I’m saying “me” a lot, I apologize. My therapist has brought this up that I do this when I am feeling nervous or unsure of myself. I listen, but it’s not like I actively try to stop. And also I’m a little surprised by my habitual behavior. Last night, I was on a blind date and I was way more nervous than I was tonight.  

A gathering is happening with in seconds at my friend's apartment. This will be one of the most comfortable moments I would have all month. Wine and chunky conversation as opposed to me wanting to stuff myself with free restaurant bread until I choke. She was pretty! My date last night was really pretty, and at one point of the night I even called her that. She never said it back. She just said we were two hot bitches! 

Being understood or finding a bridge to equality was critical for my growth and description I suppose. A speech and a banner always made for good pep rallies. Brings the crowd together or, in this case, two hot bitches! But I did just want her to say something about my attractive side. My hair, or my eyebrows, or even my legs (which were freezing due to this quarter-cut dress I selected to wear). Acknowledgement of a side I keep burrowed away. It’s invisible at work, and almost odorless around my family who, in their own words, are just “adjusting to my choices” 

I just wanted her to comment on a side that no one ever sees. Ironic and fitting that I would ask a blind date participant for that kind of clarity. 

The party was a half block away from the sign I just marveled at. So hearing my friends from this distance was impressive but not world shattering. It did bring a smile to my night as air touched my face. I spun around in a circle when I was visible to them. Shouting and cheering came from that display of mine and, for that moment, I was super proud of myself. I watched my grown ass friends chop down a flight of cement steps with Jell-O shots jammed in between their first three fingers. Seizing me at the welcoming archway of this large, commotion-driven apartment complex. It was good to see my friends unwind and have them send that energy and static lift to me. Our jobs took our early 20s away and gave us elder spores on our feet. All three of them went to law school, and I finished my schooling early with the job no one wanted. I went into the business of saying yes and no to the future of today's world. I talk badly about it, but there’s always that hope that I’ll walk around the bend leading to my office and see a person that makes my day. I don’t know how, but just somehow. 

Just a gasp in my monotonous pattern to knock the black mold off the day, just once. The benefits were great and I got my own parking spot, not bad for someone staring at their pitch black 30-year mark.. 

This is not a small party. Well, it’s not a massive one either…like 80 people max. Still, I complain because I just haven’t been ready for this lately.  

I lived fifteen minutes away from here but moved closer to my job. It was a busy scene here, too, but way more mature and balanced. A few steps, hills, and a long road, and I feel like I’m miles away. I was looking forward to disobeying my work attire-chapped skin. My one friend is hooking me with her right arm and ushering me into the living room. She’s talking all about her job in the sassiest way. I can do more minutes in this category but I would definitely need a glass of wine.

Meshing between people in order to stand at a table that would hold a carousel of wine that would make me feel In position.  

For what I wasn’t sure yet. I just knew it was a good starting point. 

This night would pair well with a glistening Pinot that would feel like a snowball going down my throat. But it wasn’t chilled, the wine wasn’t chilled. I understand I sound like a person you want to throw a tomato at. But my feelings were valid in the maple sap of my firm stance. Chilled wine was a crowning moment for me whenever I wanted. 

Like an in - grown victory I could control. 

Faintly from a distance, I could hear someone say there were chilled bottles out on the back patio.  

My legs moved before the sentence was fully over.  

I went from being around a vat of people to a wooden oak stained deck with red trees around it. Mixed with a blue sky that spoke to me in my ear every other second. Closing the door behind me made it seem like I rented out the entire Friday night. It was so pleasant out here and inviting, but yet it was only me. 

The back of the patio was elevated and looked down on this side street. It had oil spots, this street I mean. Almost like a car was idling there way too long. It wasn’t really a good spot for a car to stop for a long period of time. The street was narrow and there were uninvited large objects that ate space. I can only see people either walking their dog or jogging past. There was a paisley printed lawn chair that was placed near the outside cooler. The outside cooler that had all the wine in it. Packed to the wall with ice and fake snow. Such a nice niche modern touch, I’m sure the article was robust and fun and its heart was clicked in the thousands. But I just cared that it was cold. I would break the bottle open with a rock if I needed to. But having the satisfaction of uncorking it granted power to my relaxation. My wine quota for the week was met.  

My shoes have never slipped off so fast in someone else’s house. The chair gave in right at the apex bend of my hips. My stomach was spread and filled into my wavy structure, broken freckle regions jumped all over my pelvis. My body became an hourly rated church of worship during lockdown last year. It continued into the realistic and productive realm of my life. I could have a shark’s fin attitude while giving myself a twirl in the sun and fall into a pose. My pop of confetti came from my old memories. The ones that can crack glass and push dream catcher’s away. Memories I couldn’t shake away. 

I can still smell the ammonia that was seeded in the cleanser wipe I used because there wasn’t any toilet tissue. I remember the straps of his work apron hanging over the side of the bed. And my track uniform disassemble on the poorly swept floor.  

The residue of the wipe burned the soft surface area of my stubble and the annoying heat spread down to the top of my thighs. Reaching in just to pull back blood, shaking and yet still somewhat controlled. I painted this picture of symmetry in my head before I actually looked at him. But when I did, he just appeared to be so scared and fragile in that pocket of time. His chest hair that I thought could bend a stainless steel toaster in half. Now was seen as a stack of receipts for a series of horrible things he said to me as he left. We were young, which means we are eligible to be forgiven, but never to be absolved, me or him. I remember taking my dinner fork that night and carving his three-letter name on my… 

Is that a phone? In the middle of the side street I mentioned earlier. I could spot it, square and black, laying flat down and screaming silently to me. That phone had to be dropped recently. I know I paddled into the past cloud, but I know that phone wasn’t there a minute ago. Such a sharp steep hill leading down towards the steps to the gate. And to avoid that, I panicked and shuffled down a or more rugged side to get to the phone faster. When I got there, I 

could squint and see someone down the block wearing maroon tights and a lattice lace sports bra. When I went to scream I saw them turn into a house maybe 4 blocks up. I don’t really recall my decision-making process, I just grabbed the phone and started walking towards the house. I did look back over my right shoulder past my birth mark to scope my friend’s house before it was out of view. I would be right back, no need to text her. This neighborhood was so calm and only busy with adult actions. Even the ones that were going out were doing it respectfully with their cute pull up car service. Wait…that’s a car? In front of the house I was going to! Is this person going to leave? 

My legs start moving as if a remote was tapped with a finger. My body will always run whether I ask it to or not. That’s what made me great in my golden high school era. Slowly coming up on a decade removed and my legs still remember how to put on a show. My talent is what pushed me into important opportunistic adult conversations because, unfortunately, I still look like  

your favorites neighbors kid. When I quit track, that conversations stopped.  

When I got to the house (in record time, might I add) the screen door was opened. I pointed a finger at the car to indicate not to pull off. As I knocked, an excited woman was already on her way out the door. She was way shorter than the girl I saw walk into this house. Before I started the “I think someone dropped their phone” speech, the woman hugged me and said I’m so happy you came!

I knew I was being mistaken for someone else. 

She began to speak: 

“I’m so glad you came! My sister has been severely missing her friends! I’m sorry I can’t officially meet and chat, I do have to go. But there is plenty of food and whatever else you want in the fridge. She’s in the shower, but please go in and have a seat.”  

She gave me a goodbye hug and hopped into the car that took off seconds after the door closed shut. I stood there shook and battered by this one-sided conversation. What the hell just happened?! 

I hated everything about what transpired but if I was being truthful, I miss being that trusting. I always mistook it for being weak. If someone was to ask me why I walked into the house knowing that there was a huge miscommunication, I would say it was because I just wanted to drop off this person's phone. But if someone asked me while I stood there when this woman came out of the shower in a towel? I know I would have extreme trouble answering that. 

My words came out like a wheel of cheese rolling down a hill. I kept backing up and fumbling with apologies on why I was in this woman’s house. Before I completely exploded and shucked out of this home, I saw a vision of her in a towel putting her hand up to slow my anxiety hurricane. She said she heard her sister talking to me and knew I was just a stranger returning her phone and not one of her friends.  

My shoulders rested, and I was so happy I didn’t have to untangle that barbwire pile of confusion.  

Then something happened?!  

(End of part one)

July 22, 2022 16:47

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1 comment

Eric Hyson
00:20 Jul 23, 2022

Absolutely love it Relly!! Can't wait for part two! Your writing jumps around a lot and can see why some may not be able to follow but my brain dose the same all the time so it kinda makes me feel comfortable!!! Keep this shit up!!


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