"Is he gay?/That I don't know. He didn't try to hump my leg, though, if that helps."
Linc and Isobel, two college students in their late teens/early twenties, have known one another since high school. Linc is openly gay. Isobel knows this, but is still carrying a torch for him, though she'd be the first to deny it. Linc has recently broken up with his unfaithful first long-term boyfriend and has retreated into himself, thinking none of his friends or family understand. More recently, on this shopping trip the friends have taken to the local mall, Linc found comfort in the company of Spencer, another college student working his way through school walking around the mall in a dog suit. The dog is a life-size version of Skippy the Wonder Dog, a popular cartoon from Linc's childhood. While in the suit, Spencer is not allowed to talk, so Linc was able to unburden himself with a very sympathetic listener. Though Spencer is interested in Linc, he couldn't reveal himself. Linc has rejoined his friend Isobel, excited about meeting someone for the first time in a long time.
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copyright 2001 by Matthew A. Everett
LINC and ISOBEL appear out of the dark in another pool of light.
LINCI met a guy.
I think it was a guy. I hope it was a guy.
ISOBELThere's a question?
LINCHe's a dog. Not the ugly kind. The four-legged, man's best friend kind.
ISOBELThere are ways to check for that on dogs, you know.
LINCI mean, it was someone in a dog suit.
ISOBELIt's a guy.
ISOBELHe's a friend of a friend of Diana's. She told me.
LINCIsn't he great?
ISOBELA little on the quiet side, but as life-size dogs go...
LINCIs he gay?
ISOBELThat I don't know. He didn't try to hump my leg, though, if that helps.
LINCOh my God.
LINCI just realized I don't know his name.
LINCI have no idea how to get in touch with him. What if he's not there when I get back?
LINCI'll never --
ISOBELHis name is Spencer.
LINC just looks at her.
ISOBEL (cont'd)Friend of a friend of Diana's, remember?
Pause. They look at one another.
LINCDo you know his last name?
ISOBELBut I'm sure we could find out. Friend of a friend and all.
LINCAnd we were doing so well.
Near LINC, a pool of the strange light appears. ISOBEL steps into it.
ISOBELI had a life before he came along.
I know I did.
I just don't remember what it looked like or felt like anymore.
My mind's saying it wasn't as good as what I have now.
But I couldn't tell you what's so great about being stuck here.
Sure, I know my heart works. I can feel it. Straining against the inside of my chest every time I'm near him, shrinking whenever I feel like I've lost him.
But what do I really have?
I mean, it's shelter in a way. I don't ever feel alone. Not really. But whenever he's around, I can't see anyone else. An alternative, a way out.
Why can't I just let him go?
The strange light fades and ISOBEL returns to LINC.
ISOBEL (cont'd)You don't even know what he looks like.
LINCThat shouldn't matter.
ISOBELHa. You're banking on the fact he shouldn't always be walking around with a dog mask on. Admit it.
LINCIt was comforting to be with him.
ISOBELYou mean someone who couldn't talk so you could prattle on uninterrupted and unchallenged?
ISOBELSo you must mean someone who was impersonating a Saturday morning cartoon character from your childhood.
LINCIt wasn't just the costume.
ISOBELSo if it was a girl in the outfit, you'd love her, too?
LINCIf I said yes, you'd climb right in, wouldn't you?
ISOBELYou didn't answer my question.
LINCYou didn't answer mine.
ISOBELYour ego really knows no bounds, does it?
LINCTo answer your first question, no --
ISOBELNot surprisingly, also the answer to my second question.
LINC-- there is no magic combination of feminine wiles that will make me "normal" again. Sorry to disappoint you.
ISOBELOh, don't worry. I gave up pining for you a long time ago.
ISOBELThink what you like. You always do.
LINC and ISOBEL turn their backs on one another and walk off into separate pools of light.
LINCShe's right. I don't know who he is at all. Just like before. What if I'm kidding myself all over again? What if I'm completely wrong?
copyright 2001 by Matthew A. Everett