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John Gordon


Tony says: My girlfriend is so sick. She hasn’t pooped in, like, four days.

I think about his girlfriend. It makes sense. I met her once, on a Tuesday—I know it was a Tuesday, because Tony brought her to the science museum, introduced us, and then, as they walked away, Tony said: “Who works on a Tuesday? What a loser!” She seemed impressed by that, so I didn’t feel bad when my brain filed her under “looks a little like a troll doll.”

Troll dolls, of course, have no orifices, and so cannot poop.


Tony says: Why do I have a sesame seed on my cheek? Where did that come from?!

From a hamburger bun, prepared by the museum café chefs, I think. That should be obvious. I saw you eat it. Tony says: I can only stay for part of the day—I have strep throat.

That’s ok, I say. You’re just a volunteer. Not a real employee in any way, I think. And I wonder if he should be working with children at all today. That would be a harsh way to learn about microbial life.

Tony says: Never try to anally rape someone.

You’re right! I say. But why, Tony, would you even bring that up?

Tony just thought he’d tell me, because, he says, I look like a rapist.

That’s a tough pill to swallow, but I’m proud that he didn’t reference my “Jew nose” again. I think Tony is growing as a person.

And then Tony takes the leg of a plush toy buffalo and pretends it’s his penis. He thrusts into the air above the anthropology play area, and says: You should have heard how many times I farted at school today.

Did you fart a lot, I ask. Tony shouts: Yeah!

Don’t fart now, Tony, I warn him.

Tony says: I was going to, but it went back inside me.

I give Tony a present, and I say: That’s what she said.

Tony laughs and laughs, and the fart comes back out. He bumps into the desk, toppling a display of sand dollars.

Tony! I say. You broke the one with the hole!

Tony looks sly, and Tony says: I break my girlfriend’s hole every day.

Troll dolls, I think. I don’t even know what that means, I say.


Tony says: Yes you do, you sick freak.

No, I say.

Tony is exasperated with me. Tony says: I pound her hole every day. Is that better?

I am honest with Tony when I say, no, it is not.

Tony says: You’re sick.

Tony’s mom asked my boss to let him come in on Thursdays, to give him something to do. My boss asks me sometimes how Tony’s doing. He’s a good kid, I say. Yeah, she says. He just gets…distracted.

Tony is distracted now. Tony, I ask, what’s up?

Tony says: I’m just super tired today.

Dot dot dot, I think.

Tony puffs out his chest and says: Long sex last night.

You’re lying, I say. Troll dolls, I think.

Tony says: No, see, I’m worried she might be pregnant! That’s a side effect of being pregnant!

Long sex? I ask, trying not to let the words touch anything on their way out of my mouth.

Tony says: No. Not pooping for so long.

I think there’s a better test, I tell him.

Tony says: Well, if she starts to grow a big fat belly, then I’ll know it’s a baby.

I guess so. I guess that’s a way to tell. But Tony’s education may be lacking in that area. Tony goes to a school with only five other students, because he got beat up at his old school. The new school is better, but not perfect.

Tony says: One kid at my school…

Which one, I ask.

Tony says: Not my girlfriend, and not the kid who takes a taxi every day, and not Jeff, and not the big fat guy. The other one. He thinks he’s so cool, because he carries a staff around.

A cane? I ask.

Tony says: No, a staff. Like a wizard. But he’s not cool at all.

And then Tony tries to reassemble the broken sand dollar. And then he sings a song with words I would never, ever repeat. Distracted.

Tony, I say. What are you going to do about you and your girlfriend?

Tony says: I’ll just stick my hand up her…thing, and yank the baby out. 

Tony and I sit with this for a little while.


Tony says, sadly: Black people call condoms gloves.

Why didn’t you wear a glove, Tony? I ask.

Tony says: I don’t knooow!

He starts to collect his things, and adds: I don’t think she’s even pregnant.

You have to be sure about that, I say. What are you going to do, Tony?

Tony says: Well, I didn’t…we never…I didn’t have… sex with her.

Tony has stopped me in my tracks again. How can she be pregnant then?

Tony says: I don’t know! That’s just what she says. She’s worried because she can’t poop!

Tony and his girlfriend are a good pair. Two little dolls, keeping each other company.

See you next week, dude, I say.

Tony says: Whatever, pervert.


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