When will you accept your– sick and I am–
It was never my favourite. It’s Scott who loves it. He always meets me at the end of my shift and sits in my chair and pretends that he is me. There is an hour between the end of my show and the beginning of Jason’s. Jason always arrives quarter of an hour early, so we have forty five minutes to ourselves. I let Scott pick the music. He always plays Accept Yourself first.
When I was nine, mum took the record player from the sitting room and put it in her study where I wasn’t allowed to go. I was obsessed with Stayin’ Alive. I played it a hundred times a day, and when I wasn’t playing it I was singing it. She was sick of it within a week, so she put a stop to all of that. She tried to train me out of over-attachment. Nobody ever tried to train Scott out of anything. His enthusiasm is inexhaustible.
Scott has a steady hand. He can always place the needle perfectly in the groove that indicates the end of Jeane and the beginning of Accept Yourself. I am never more than a second or two out, but he is never out at all. When I told him that I envied his accuracy, he passed the needle to me and took my hand and taught me how to do as he did. In time, my wrist memorised the guidance of his fingers.
My hand is not as steady as his. Perhaps I had scratched the vinyl, or perhaps he had played the track one too many times and worn it down himself. Perhaps we had knocked the turntable the last time he was here, when he’d made me dance with him despite the unsuitability of the song. My fault, his fault, our fault – it hardly matters. The damage is done now. There’s no point trying to place the blame. The song is jumping and jarring and I’m on air and I’ll be blamed for this no matter whose fault it is and I’m already in trouble. There have been complaints. I’ve been disappointing lately. Not cheerful enough, not funny enough, not talkative enough. It’s a disappointment to me, too. Perhaps this will be the final straw. Perhaps this will lose me my job, and then heaven knows how I’ll pay the rent.
I can fix this. I can turn the microphone back on right now and apologise. I can put something else on. I can just flip the record over. Everyone but Scott prefers This Charming Man anyway.
I haven’t seen Scott for two weeks.
I do nothing.
#1980s #lgbt #writing #fiction #prose #shortstory #shortstories