Not always for show

Sunday, 10 March 2002

I want to tell you about something that happened yesterday. It actually happened well over 10 years ago, which I mention purely so that the sycophants fawning at the feet of the false idol Historical Accuracy can have a holiday in keeping the time lines straight. But it did happen yesterday.

Why we do certain things… That’s not fair. I have no idea why you do anything you do. I do know why she did what she did, and why she was the way she was, and I don’t think it was for show, though it was a good one.

Renate, Barnaby, and I were sitting in front of the Hokona dormitory yesterday afternoon on the University of New Mexico. Barnaby was playing with a stick. Not just any stick. This is what, in locale parlance, was called a chingao-equalizer. Barnaby and I called it an arnis stick. You’d call it a stick or a 7/8" oak dowel if you hadn’t been high for most of your shop classes.

Barnaby liked Renate first. So he got to ask her out first. Fair is fair. But she said no. I am a good friend but I’m not a good enough friend to not ask her out after that.

So that’s where we were.

After some daylight passed, Barnaby said to her, “I’ll give you $10 if you take this [indicating the stick] and go hit my roommate in the face. He’s asleep. The door’s unlocked”

She said, “Okay,” the same way she said everything — like she was auditioning for the part of Dominique Francon in the unauthorized 2021 remake of “The Fountainhead,” and knew she was the only girl alive who could play the part. Not just a million miles away, but a million gene sequences further.

He handed her the stick. I, being the kind of naturalist who refuses to interfere, didn’t try to stop him. She got up and walked toward his room and his sleeping roommate.

I shook my head at him. He never thought she would. He was only goading her. Trying to get fingernails in to pry back enough to see. Call her perpetual bluff.

She came back two minutes later. She sat down. She didn’t give the stick back. She didn’t ask for her $10.

Barnaby said, “Did you do it? You didn’t do it.”

She: “The door was locked.”

“Horseshit! I just left it unlocked.” And he got up and stormed off to his room to check.

He came back quickly and said, “It was locked… Here’s the keys.”

“No,” I said and didn’t let him give them to her.

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