By Johnny Vulpine
(Illustrated by Jenn Kucharczyk)

Here I am waiting for my girlfriend outside the restroom of the Houston airport. What is the proper way to wait outside the girls’ restroom? I usually just stand and stare directly in front of me. Today I have a pretty good view of a sports store with men standing inside of it watching sports while talking about sports. I get a text from my friend Pete. He’s a 36 year old man who still buys weed from 18 year old kids. The text reads “travis I got this kid to sel me a gram for half the price he usually sels it to me. Kids are so gluable ~Big Pete~’. I start imagining Pete gluing kids together for the sake of art. Like, he makes a living gluing kids together using imported glue from Thailand that’s been aged for like 100 years or something. Pete isn’t the smartest guy for his age. When he was 25 one night he went to a party as an ‘office ninja’. He wore a white button up shirt tucked into some khakis with a ski mask. He would go around the party leaving post it notes asking for beer. After the party we went into a gas station, with our costumes, and he handed the cashier a six pack with a post it on it. We can’t go to that gas station anymore. I ignore Pete.

I get bored and start walking towards the subway and back. I find a note on the floor and I pick it up. It says: “you hot sexy popo . ps I forgot my gerbil in your ass.” The note has a kiss after the word ‘ass’. I fold it up and put it in my pocket and pretend that the subway employees wrote it. I walk to the subway and order a 6 inch veggie sub while pretending that one of them has a gerbil in them. I take the sandwich and say “Thanks Popo” to the big one and then walk away. I sit and eat my sandwich and watch whatever is on television. It’s the news, but I can’t hear a thing. I watch a woman try and feed her toddler a cool ranch Dorito for about 2 minutes and then move on to a pair of young lovers watching a different tv. The girl says to her boyfriend “Have you ever noticed how many tv commercials use the song ‘back in black’ by acdc? I think there was a call of duty commercial playing it right after a walmart commercial played it.” A few seconds pass to no response from her boyfriend and then she says “It seems fucked up to choke on your own vomit.” I finish my sandwich, nod towards their direction, get up and head to a bar.

I really like this bar in terminal A but there’s about 20 minutes until my flight and I’d have to take the train from terminal C to terminal A and back. I stay in terminal C and go to a small bar by my gate. I’ve actually been to this bar once before and the bartender recognizes me. I tell her I’ll have a beer. The guy next to me looks at me and my beer and says “Hey buddy. I bet you’d never guess what I do.” I look at him for about 4 seconds and don’t really think about anything. “I bet you’d never guess I was a wrestler.” I look at him and think that he could probably be a wrestler. “Oh, really? Where are you from?” I notice he’s really short and drinking a bloody mary. I wonder if he got a bloody mary because it has the word ‘bloody’ in it. “I’m from up north. I just had a small show here in Houston but I’m heading home.” I start feeling really anxious and chug my beer to try and impress him. I look at my watch and say I have to leave.

I walk towards my gate and stand by the bathrooms. Boarding starts in about 10 minutes so I just stand around. I think about how it would be to actually have a girlfriend in the bathroom to wait for. I think about that for about 10 minutes.

johnny vulpine lives in edinburg, tx