It’s a man-thing

 

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Today I was in the kitchen with Dan and Mike walked in and began to excitedly punch him on the shoulder, saying, ‘Good night then, was it? Eh?’

And Dan started laughing as if they shared some exciting secret.

I’m nosy as all fuck, so I started whining, ‘What? What are you talking about?’ (I have an older brother, growing up I spent a lot of time left out, I don’t like it).

‘You’re not allowed to know. Me and Dan talk about things, secret things,’ said Mike, with that expression kids get when they’ve found something, but it’s theirs and they don’t want you to see it.

‘What things? Why don’t you tell me?’ I asked, because I have no real dignity.

‘Man things,’ said Mike smugly.

We all went outside and sat in our new bench area, but Mike hadn’t finished gloating, he wanted to make sure Jessica (who was sitting out there, happily smoking a cigarette) understood too.

‘See, you think that the communication ends at four when we all go home, but me and Dan, we carry on, that’s just the beginning.’

‘Carry on what?’ said Jessica, politely feigning interest.

‘Man things,’ said Mike, again, proudly.

‘Uh huh,’ said Jessica (she’s so much cooler than me)

‘But what are man things?’ I asked.

‘You know, manly,’ said Mike.

‘Tell me!’ I wailed.

‘Well, for a start we talk on WhatsApp,’ said Mike.

‘WhatsApp?’ I said, this wasn’t quite the wrestling-pigs-and-smashing-cars manly thing I’d imagined. ‘What about?’

‘We send each other selfies!’ said Mike.

‘Selfies,’ I repeat.

‘Yeah, Dan will tell me he’s going out, and then he’ll send me a picture of the shirt he’s wearing and ask me if it looks good.’

‘So you WhatsApp each other pictures of your outfits?’ I ask. ‘That’s your manly thing?’

‘And Mike sends me back pictures of his clothes too,’ added Dan, who’d been chuckling quite a bit, ‘look!’ and held up his phone that showed Mike in a flower patterned shirt and an inept duck face.

‘See?’ said Mike. ‘Man things!’

I think he may be trolling me.

Word of the day: phallocrat – one who assumes the naturality of male dominance

The dream man gets out

identikit

Word of the day: Bodach – churl; goblin or spectre

Weather: yuk

Mood: well…

 

Got home from work, muddy and soaked. The lounge door was open and I could see Jinjing and Hamoudi hunched over their laptops. Being nosy, I went to try and see what they were doing and they both turned to look at me with haunted eyes.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked, I could see composite faces on each of the screens, like something off Crime Watch.

‘Working with an online identikit program,’ said Hamoudi.

‘My dream,’ said Jinjing darkly, ‘the face in my dream, we’re trying to create it.’

‘The man who stands and stares through your window?’ I asked. With all the trouble with the landlady, I’d forgotten about that.

‘I think he was sitting opposite me on the tube this morning,’ said Hamoudi. I tried not to look too confused, but I must have, because he went on. ‘I knew what he looked like from Jinjing. And there he was, the dark haunting eyes, the grey hood, the pointy nose.’

‘And he was going to work?’ I asked.

‘He wasn’t going anywhere, nobody else could see him,’ said Hamoudi. He paused dramatically, then said, ‘He was dead.’

‘Ah,’ I said, I’d forgotten about Hamoudi’s dead people also. I look at the faces they’ve created, Hamoudi’s has a scar, Jinjing’s has a brooding brow and pouty lips.

‘See? They look the same! That proves it!’ says Hamoudi. ‘I saw the man from Jinjing’s dream.’

I don’t point out that they’re sitting right next to each other, looking at what the other one is doing, so it’s not surprising they’re a little bit similar. I also don’t point out that Jinjing’s has no scar and Hamoudi’s doesn’t have a brooding brow or pouty lips. I don’t want to spoil the drama. I creep out the room and make the most of the empty kitchen to cook some pasta.