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In a Pig's Eye

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“Spin the bottle? Now aren’t we a little old to be playing such a silly game?”

George takes a drag from his cigar. He takes it out of his mouth and observes it as though he had made a discovery. Jack would describe his face as thoughtful.

“For heaven’s sake, George, just spit out whatever zinger you’ve cooked up. I know you’re just dying to share it with the group.”

The dinner table of various partygoers snort and laugh. George takes it all in stride.

“Well, Jack, if you think you’ve lost your touch, you can always go play post office by yourself later.”

As the table erupts, even Jack has to admit that’s a rather clever way of telling him to go fuck himself. His cheeks redden, and he knows he’s got to be a good sport and admit he’s been had.

“Alright, alright! Cut that out, and spin, if you’re so smart!”

George theatrically rolls up his sleeves and everyone watches as he grips the middle of the bottle and gives it a twirl.

“Round and round and round it goes! When it stops, nobody knows!” chants the partygoers.

Until it does stop.

And it’s pointing at Jack.

“You did that on purpose!”

George throws his hands up.

“Jack, you saw me roll up my sleeves, and you saw me spin it! I couldn’t have done it on purpose!”

The catcalls and wolf whistles soon start up, and Jack looks to George for guidance.

“I mean, honestly.”

George stands up from the table and starts walking towards the storage room that someone earlier had stuck a piece of paper on the door, declaring it the “kissing kloset.”

“Come on, Jack! Don’t keep him waiting!”

“We can’t start the timer until you close the door!”

The jeers start coming, and soon Jack is jumping to his feet.

“Alright, alright, keep your pants on! You’re all a bunch of animals!”

By the time he’d made it to the closet, everyone was making various squawking animal sounds. It’s almost a relief to close the door behind him, just to mute the noise.

“Do you see the mess you’ve made? Now we’ve got to stand here for seven minutes or else we’ll never hear the end of it.”

“Oh, relax, Jack. You’re loving every minute of this, even if you won’t admit it. Look how much fun everyone’s having.”

“Well…I suppose you’re right. But can’t we at least turn on a light in here while we wait? I can’t see a thing.”

“What, and spoil the mood?”

“Mood?”

George inhales and the end of his cigar glows orange. For a second, he can see George’s face, but then he drops it and crushes the embers beneath his foot. He’s about to ask George why he did that when he’d only just lit it a second ago, but then a pair of hands is cupping his cheeks and a pair of lips are pressing against his and…

“Now wait just a minute!” Jack says, pulling back. “I was nice enough to play along, so you’d better be nice enough to keep to yourself.”

“What else are we supposed to do for five more minutes?”

Through the door, Jack can hear someone playing some new Rudy Vallee records on the Victrola.

“Can’t we just listen to the music?”

“If that’s what you want,” George says.

“If that’s what I…George, you can’t be serious. You can’t possibly want to kiss me. That’s just—that’s just silly.”

“Why is that silly?”

“Well…”

“We’re friends, aren’t we?” George asks.

“Yes.”

“Good friends, even?”

“Yes.”

“Best friends?” George presses.

“Yes, George. You’re my best friend in the whole world. And I’d do anything for you.”

“Except kissing.”

Jack sighs.

“Yes, except kissing. I don’t know why you’d even want to kiss me.”

Jack can imagine George shrugging in the dark.

“We could make it contest. See which one of us is the best at it. Personally, I think I’ll win.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah?”

“Oh yeah!”

“Oh year yeah?”

Somewhere in their back and forth, their lips crash into each other. Jack’s got something to prove now, and it pushes him to be more aggressive and competitive. Never let it be said that George Burns got the better of him! Jack pulls away when he needs to take a breath.

“I still think I’m the winner,” George says.

“In a pig’s eye!” Jack exclaims.

“I got you to kiss me, didn’t I?”

“Well yes, but—”

“So then I win.”

“But.”

“How does defeat taste, Jay?” George asks.

Jack takes a deep breath.

“In this case? Like cigar smoke!”

Before George can respond, the door opens, and their friends yank them out into the light.