A Tendency For Theatrics – A Short Story 

“I’ll stop by later. 9pm?” said Portland.

James looked around to make sure nobody was watching them. “No,” he replied.

“What? Why not?” said Portland. 

Again, looking around to make sure they were indeed the only two people in the small, private bathroom, James said “Because I eat pizza with Tom on Thursday nights and I can’t mess up that vibe.”

“Okay. Um, and why are we in this bathroom together? You couldn’t just send a text?” asked Portland.

It was indeed a great question. James had sent Portland a text at noon telling him that he needed help. Portland confirmed that they would be meeting at the Starbucks on Clark and Dickens and was a little suspicious of the meeting place but he knew that James really wanted to see the new baby Hippo at the zoo across the street and figured he just wanted to kill two birds with one stone. 

Portland thought it was strange when he spotted James in the cafe, wearing a Sox hat and a hood and then understandably confused when James nodded towards the Men’s Room. He was even more confused when James refused to let him stop by later, even though it was he who needed the favor in the first place. 

After a couple seconds of trying to figure out what had happened, Portland’s confusion turned to jealousy, as he wondered why James wouldn’t just invite him to eat pizza with Tom and him. That would be a perfect time to give him the goods.

“Here, I want to show you something,” said James.

Portland nodded in the affirmative and James reached down to unzip his mustard colored pants.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” said Portland, stepping back and closing one eye. 

“What? I just wanted to show you what I bought.” 

“What are you talking about, man?” said Portland.

James unbuttoned his pants the rest of the way to reveal his new Hippopotamus boxer shorts.

“You called me over here just to show me your new underwear? Are you freaking insane?”

“What? I thought you would like them. I was gonna offer to give them to you.”

Portland looked at the James like he had exactly 26 heads. 

“You were going to give me the boxers that you are wearing? Look, I have to split. I have to be at this art thing on the other side of the city and I’m gonna be late now if I can’t catch a cab. I can’t believe this.” 

James watched as Portland opened the bathroom door and began to walk out. “Wait,” James said. “Why don’t you meet Tom and I for pizza tonight? You can bring the stuff there. Why waste a trip?”

Portland, suddenly tired, bit his knuckle and walked out.



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