Release Date: 03/2009
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher Link: http://www.mlrpress.com/
Amazon: Smart Ass: Close Quarters
Blurb: Physician's assistant Mark Meehan's impulse control takes leave when Mark finds his bank manager, who's also his boyfriend, in bed with another man. Volatile Mark sets out to chase down his money and patch up his pride with the help of local law enforcement in the person of rock-steady state trooper Tony Gervase. But, Mark's impulsive scheme for revenge infuriates Jamie and jeopardizes Mark's budding romance with straight arrow Tony.
I stormed into St. Joe´s at the height of the Ash Wednesday noon mass, still dressed in my scrubs. I pushed through the massive arched chapel doors, bringing with me a gust of cold February wind. Seeing Jamie´s pretentious car parked in front of the church, I lost my shit and had to take action. I figured Jamie was expecting some kind of absolution by appearing at this penitential mass. I could see him seated in the third row, his head bowed. That gloriously tousled mass of golden hair gleamed like a beacon of innocence next to the shining, helmeted up-do of his repressed, miraculously blonde mother.
I bypassed the ushers, ignoring the hello of welcome from Mrs. Banks, my seventh-grade math teacher, and the folded program she tried to place in my hand. Failing to genuflect or splash myself with holy water, which would have sizzled on contact, I marched straight down the center aisle. My red rubber Crocs squeaked my progress in the hushed, echoing chamber of the sanctuary. Heads turned as I passed, no doubt wondering why I stormed the tasteful Moravian tile in the midst of this somber service. This was the kickoff to Lent, and the house was packed with the well-dressed, good citizens of Smithfield. Around me was a crowd of faces I´d known my entire life, but I blocked them out. I´m sure that even Christ´s eye was on me, and our priest, Father David, droning out the glum litany, looked up for half a second before dismissing me. As if he were the voice of reason and I, little Markie Meehan, needed to sit down and get with the program. I couldn´t see that happening.
I slid into the pew behind Jamie, glaring at the back of his head, and struggled with an overwhelming rage. I wanted to hurt him, not engage in some hissed conversation or exchange of keys. Fuck that. I was beyond civility. He wasn´t stepping a toe into my apartment. Ever again. The prick. I could barely look at him.
My hands clenched the book rack, and my fingers brushed against the Bible proudly displayed there. Staring at those once-sweet curls hugging his rough jaw, I slid the good book out of its safe haven. The cracked leather was worn, but its bulk reassuring. Encouraging, even. So I hauled back, fueled by boiling rage, and gobsmacked that bastard as hard as I could - in front of God and everyone - with a resounding thwack!
Jamie pitched forward, his beautiful face colliding with the pew in front of him. He hit it hard, the sound like a puck being whaled on by that high-priced stick he valued far too much. Then he melted onto the tile floor.
My follow-through pulled me over the back of the pew in an awkward nosedive onto the maroon cushions, my head flopping perilously close to Mrs. Dupree´s lap. I pushed away and clambered up, spewing my outrage and fury and maybe a little filth. I had no volume control as the words, In our bed, you bastard! rang through the church. I might have shouted, "You dickhead!"
It grew quiet in the congregation as an entire community sat frozen. I think. I wasn´t really paying attention to anyone but Jamie. And his mother. I had nearly landed on top of her when that thick cushion shifted under her skinny ass. She stood up clutching her pearls; her sour-lemon lips pursed, furiously staring me down with - and perhaps I imagine this - the glowing eyes of demonic satisfaction. Scrambling to pull myself back to my feet, I ignored her.
Any conversation with Jamie was not going to happen here. Filled with uncontrolled fury, and liberated of my usual calm, I felt oddly free. Or just out of my fucking mind.
So I cuffed him again with the Bible.