Charles Atlas Shrugged

By: John Jasper Owens

First off, it’s pretty clear that when I kicked sand in your face it was an accident. I was running to catch a beach ball, and in turning, I inadvertently knocked up some sand, which, just by happenstance, flew onto you, and partially on to Sylvia. I’m non-confrontational by nature, so I was truly shocked when you chose to make an issue of it moments later. I mean come on, it’s a public beach. What would you have done if a Frisbee had landed on your towel — shattered it across your forehead? You need to lay off the Red Bull or whatever. Your pupils were a bit dilated that day. All I’m saying.

So I may have said a few unkind things when you chose to make a federal case over a little sand, like the rest of your beach trip was going to be sand-free and were it not for my feet, no sand would’ve besmirched your JC Penny $5.95 towel. Yes, I have a nice body — I put a lot of time in at the gym, and not just on the arms and chests, like some boys I could mention. I work the whole package. Back, calves, neck — everything. Yes, I’m gay, and yes, I’m still mostly in the closet, but I’m working on that, which is another reason I really didn’t need what went down that day — that girl you were with started following me around.

I know I’m cute, but what sane woman finds getting sand kicked on her and her date attractive? Sylvia’s a psycho, man — she’s just one more mojito binge away from ending up a case study, maybe a Dr. Phil special. I didn’t want her and meanwhile my friends think her squeezing by biceps and breathing all over me is just the most hilarious thing since Kat Williams. You could’ve said something. Anytime you wanted you could’ve come up to me on the beach (I live on the beach) and I’d have said, “Take her back, Mac. Take her, I’m begging you. Here’s a fifty — take her to dinner.” I carried fifty bucks in my trunks all summer just in case you reappeared. But you didn’t. What did you do?

You went home and kicked a chair. A chair. Listen, man, ever think about Pilates? Aromatherapy, maybe? Valium?

Good thing you didn’t own a dog.

Months go by and I pretty much forgot you existed, while you spent the whole summer alone in your room — and I’m sure you’re no stranger to that — doing that weirdo workout thing when if you’d just come by the gym like a normal person, we could’ve straightened this out in two seconds and you and the crazy girl could’ve lived happily together until she screwed your father or killed you in your sleep or some other Sylvia-esque action.

But no.

Instead, you choose to sneak up on me back at the beach, just when I’ve got full frontal attention on trying to pry off the barnacle on the prow of my love life that is Sylvia, and sucker punch me. I hope you enjoyed all that “”King of the Beach”” nonsense — I’m sure the irony of my sort of crowd is lost on lunatics like you and Sylvia, so I can only hope that the next time some poor sap accidentally, I don’t know, spills salt on your table at Burger King or whatever, you manage to show a little restraint.



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