Kiss Off

by McCutcheon
Kiss off
The day I learned to hate another human being started like any other day that summer. We were hanging out on Greg’s front lawn practicing our Karate Kid moves. Greg’s older brother had just passed his drivers test. He was going to borrow his mother’s car and take us to Summer Fest.

Summer Fest is located on Milwaukee’s lakefront and has the distinction of being the biggest music festival in the world, if not the best. Most of the bands are local bar acts that play working class, third rate Bruce Springsteen songs. The bands get the audience they deserve. Have you ever see those Milwaukee Brewer’s baseball batting hats with beer cup holders on the side, and a long tube attached that runs along the helmet and fits into your mouth so the wearer can suck two beers at once as they walk, leaving their hands free to grope female buttocks? If I had to guess, I’d say those helmets were invented at Summer Fest.

My friends and I were going to see the Violent Femmes. The group had gone to a high school in our district. My friends didn’t like the Femmes as much after their second album Hallowed Ground. I loved it. It didn’t have the instant teenage angst classics of the first album, but it had a dark evil side. Hallowed Ground taught me there was more to pop than just having fun. This was Poe poetry set to hillbilly music for the damned. I was captivated; it was like nothing I had heard before. I couldn’t wait.

Four of us were going that day, Greg, Eric, Carl and me. Eric had snuck some booze from his parent’s liquor cabinet. He filled a two-liter Dr. Pepper bottle with a few ounces of everything until it was full. It was a strong concoction.

When we got to the festival we had a few hours to wait until the Femmes went on. We bought sodas for a mixer and went to the waterfront to sit on the big rocks over looking Lake Michigan. After a half hour three girls came and sat with us.

We shared our drinks. The girls started to pair off. This is when the problem began to arise. There were three of them and four of us. Somebody was going to be left out of the anticipated kissing session.

That summer I was hopelessly in love with Elisabeth Shue, but I was willing to cheat on my true love for the chance of feeling my first tit. I swilled the potent drink and prayed I would be chosen. To me this was far more important then the humiliation of not being picked for dodge ball. I put my trembling hands in my pockets and played it cool.

One of the girls sat down next to me. She was the cutest of the three, a black girl with the whitest teeth, huge eyes and a budding woman’s figure covered only by halter-top and shorts.

“Hiya.” She said. “My name is Halle.”

“Hi.” I said.

“This drink is strong,” she said smiling at me. “I’m getting tipsy.”

‘I’m getting tipsy’ was the teenage girl’s verbiage for ‘Let’s get it on.’

I couldn’t believe my luck. But before our lips could meet, before my fingers could cup a breast, Carl snuck up from behind me and lifted my shirt. He said, “Don’t kiss that slob, he is fat.”

I looked down, and sure enough there was a layer of baby fat hanging over my waistline. I sucked in my gut as fast as I could. But it was too late. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t that fat, or that I wanted to be with Halle more than Carl. The gesture was complete. Carl got the laughs and the girl.

I sulked off on my own. I skipped the concert and cried in a port-a-potty as drunk older men banged on the fiberglass walls and threatened to tip it over if I didn’t get the hell out of there and let them piss. I rode a bus home. It took four transfers and three hours.

I am not a good person. That day should have made me stronger, given me a hero's resolve. I should have risen above it all. But I didn’t. Instead I vowed revenge.

A decade later Carl was getting married. I flew to Wisconsin for the wedding. Carl put me up. The night before the big event we were out celebrating with the boys. It was like the old days, except I had lost my baby fat and crush on Elisabeth Shue.

I made my excuses at the strip club and went to crash on Carl’s sofa bed. I had jet lag. And the ten years difference hadn’t left us with much in common. Greg, Eric, and Carl never escaped Wisconsin, while I had been traveling the world.

Carl’s fiancée was sitting at the kitchen table when I got in. She was crying and drinking. We shared a few beers. She opened her heart to me and told me her fears. I had met her for the first time that afternoon. Before I knew it we were kissing; long smoldering kisses with tongue. Then we had a quick fuck without a condom. I came inside her. After, she gathered her clothes and went to bed.

I sat in the dark kitchen drinking beer. It must have been last minute jitters on her part. But I didn’t stop it.

The next day was the wedding. The ceremony passed without incident. The couple exchanged vows. Carl consummated his marriage with sloppy seconds. I never saw Carl, or his wife, ever again.
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