Thursday, October 1, 2009


David turns the flat black plastic over in his hands, wondering why he stays.

“Davey, are you even listening?” Lance is still sitting across from him, cables snaking from his hands. David hates being called Davey, and he’s afraid he’ll turn to stone if he looks straight on, although Lance is no Medusa. Lance is the most beautiful man he ever met, with blond hair past his ass, and cool blue eyes set in a cherubic pale face.

“It’s a monitor,” David parrots. “I slide the iPod into the dock to watch videos. I plug it into the USB port to recharge it.”

“With this cable, right. But you use this cable if you want to just plug it into a wall socket. And this one goes into your car’s cigarette lighter.”

Why would I be watching videos in the car, David wonders, but he accepts the cables, sets them to the side of his plate, dares to look into Lance’s face. He does not turn to stone. Lance squeezes his hand.

“With all the traveling you’re doing lately, Davey baby, I figured it would be easier than trying to watch on a tiny screen. Do you like it?”

David nods, squeezes Lance’s hand back, blows a kiss for good measure. Lance gave him the iPod, and the laptop, and the cell phone, and he uses them, because when your lover gives you an expensive gift, you can’t let it gather dust in the closet like you do with the ice skates your mom gave you when you turned eighteen, or the waffle iron from your aunt. He uses them, but he doesn’t like them. They are alien rocks, chunks of silicon that betray and befuddle him. Lance never asked him what he did in airports before. David used to enjoy the people watching, the invisible anonymity of airports. It used to be that everyone watched everyone in airports, while pretending to read books. Now everyone is wrapped up in cords and cables, alone in their worlds of music and movies and wifi.

He programs numbers into his cell phone, but speed dial always calls the wrong person. He stores music on his iPod, but when he hits shuffle, it only plays Lance’s techno music. Despite Lance’s best efforts, David fries his hard drive an average of once every nine months. But Lance keeps trying.

Now, Lance smiles his angelic, cupid’s bow smile, brushes the satin hair back from his face, stirs his coffee. David’s cell phone buzzes in his pocket—Lance helped him set it to vibrate—but he’s put on some weight this year, and by the time he drags it out, whoever it is has hung up without leaving a message.

“Who is it?” Lance asks. David shrugs, and Lance reaches, impatient for the device. “Unknown name, unknown number,” he says once he has it, and hands it back again.

David leaves the phone on the table. It’s too embarrassing, trying to get it back into his pocket while sitting down. “You know the theory of resistentialism?” he asks.

“Tell me.” Lance’s blue eyes sparkle, as if he’s actually interested.

“It’s the belief that machines are aware, and they’re hostile to their owners. It’s why copiers always break down when you’re in a hurry. And it’s why everything I touch malfunctions.”

Lance laughs, grabs David’s hand again and kisses his fingertips. David lifts his head, so Lance won’t see his double chin. “That again,” Lance says, laughs. “You’re crazy, Davey baby. Look, machines are machines. They do what we tell them to do. You just have to speak their language.” When he drops David’s hands, he nods at the pile of cables and technology on the table, then glances down at his iPhone, starts tapping on the screen with one hand.

Without looking, he reaches his other hand out for his coffee. David admires the muscles in his forearm, the white skin and golden hair, the manicured fingernails. Lance always smells good, like a baby straight out of the bath, and his clothes don’t wrinkle, no matter how he sits. And Lance never sweats, either, or if he does, it smells like talcum powder.

Lance sputters into his mug, but even that is graceful, like blowing bubbles. “It’s cold,” he mutters, but his mutters are the warm-up scales of an opera singer. His eyes intent on the screen of his phone, he opens the microwave on the counter beside him.

David can’t take his eyes off him, the graceful arc of his arm as it whisks the coffee from the table to the microwave. Light glints off the metal spoon still resting inside the mug. David says nothing as Lance shuts the microwave door, hits the start button without ever looking up from his phone.