Love Will Tear
    Joey Manley

Joey and his lover (whose name was also Joe) got birds: zebra finches. They got a cage, but left it open, and put tree limbs in the corners of the living room. The birds flew from tree limb to tree limb, going beep. They had been raised without parents, so they never learned to sing, said the guy who gave them the birds. This guy was a boyfriend of the alcoholic queen next door. He happened to be blind but Joey and his lover hardly ever remembered that about him. The only time they thought about it was when they stepped into the elevator and he was already there, and he didn’t say, “Hello.” Mostly the birds didn’t fly or go beep at all, unless Joey chased them. They stood on the tree limbs or on the floor cocking their heads. Joey didn’t chase them out of the meanness, but because he wanted to see them fly. Beep, beep, beep, they went. Eventually they had seven babies, one of which carried its wings behind it like a cartoon of a pacing man, and couldn’t fly, and never took a bath. Joey and his lover gave all the babies away but that one. “We should flush it down the commode,” Joey said, but it hopped and hid under lots of things where they couldn’t get to it. “I feel sorry for ugly girls, I really do,” said Joey’s lover. This was a quotation from “Miss Firecracker” starring Holly Hunter. 

Finally they came home one day and couldn't find it anywhere. Even when they were moving out of that apartment, months and months later, they never found its body. In the scene where Holly Hunter says that she feels sorry for ugly girls, she is leaning over a pool table, showing her breasts to her brother. In a much better movie later in her career she played a character who didn't speak at all.

Sometimes Joey, or his lover, said, “We are not really lovers.”This almost always happened after a night at the adult bookstore, especially if one of them had been lucky and the other had not. There was no correlation between which of them said this thing and which had been lucky.So far they had never said it together, in the same conversation, or even on the same day. Each understood this thing when he said it as a not very dangerous lie, a useful way to force more closeness, or at least a promise of the same.Neither understood it correctly when he heard it, though.

One day their third boyfriend, also named Joe, the tattooed punk, went to a therapist.He said it was a good excuse to talk to a suited man.He had a fetish for men in suits.A few days later he left a message saying for the first time that he loved them.He said it several times.“But not in a three-way kind of way,” he said.Joey and his lover counted as one item, the two of them on one side and himself the lover of what they were together on the other.This was the most Joey ever remembered hearing Third Joe say at one sitting.They never saw him again.More than a year later Joey shaved his own head and got a septum ring, but it just wasn’t the same.

Joey kept a journal of his dreams.An evil industrialist ruled the near-future earth.His house took up the entire land masses of Connecticut and New York and a few other states with abbreviations I had never seen before.Everybody worked for him.The only resistance came from a lone Zorro-type figure, the hero of the piece.Here’s the twist.The industrialist suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder and was himself the Zorro.

Joey kept a journal of his dreams.The spaceship carried the proudest remnants of a dying civilization: ten or twelve figurative paintings and all the infants of the dominant species.When it crash-landed on the other planet, its contents were grossly misinterpreted.

The doctor left the result of his lover’s HIV test on the answering machine, which Joey considered very non-professional.In the new apartment their birds flew all over the house, instead of just from tree limb to tree limb. Joey found birdshit on the bathtub.

In Posse: Potentially, might be ...