Fountain by Glen Pourciau
The automatic door opens and I walk into the foyer of the library thinking I need some water before I return my husband’s overdue book that he doesn’t want returned. He hasn’t finished reading it, but I saw on my computer that the book has a waiting list and he’s got the only copy owned by the library system. He’d be through with it if he didn’t leave the house almost every night and come back late. He won’t tell me where he’s going or what he’s doing when he gets there so I don’t need to tell him his book’s going back where it came from. I don’t want to say his name or think of his face, I’m so fed up with his ass. The water fountain is between the two restrooms in the middle of a narrow entrance, women’s to the left and men’s to the right. I see a guy with a dirty T-shirt and greasy hair standing at the fountain and it takes me a moment to notice he’s holding something in front of him. Then I see the tail and realize it’s a dog, some kind of terrier, and this dog of his is taking a drink from the fountain. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll teach it to be as big a jerk as you are?” He takes his finger off the button that makes the water shoot up and turns to me and says: “Excuse me?” As if he didn’t hear what I said. “Want me to help you hold him while he pees in the urinal?” “He’s thirsty. There’ll be plenty of water left when it’s your turn.” He pushes the button and lets the dog drink again. I could hit him over the head with my husband’s book, he’s not big and I could probably take him, but don’t get carried away, arrested for assault, sued for hospital bills. “You sleep with him?” He takes a drink himself and then turns back around. “His mouth is as clean as yours.” “So you do sleep with him. Do the two of you watch porn?” The dog barks at me a couple of times and the guy puts him on the floor. He starts to pass, but I’m standing in his path and I don’t step aside. I let him bump me. Our eyes are close together.
© 2005-2009 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas