Probably, I’ll Marry You
When Johan proposes, I’m out in the yard, watering plants. I’m not thinking about my situation, or about Johan.
That is when Johan shuffles from the house barefoot and sinks to his knees. First, I worry about him staining his light khakis on my wet grass. Usually his trousers have oil and ink stains. He can’t care for a pair of pants, can’t keep a job. Thinking about his lack of employment gives me a headache, one that lingers over my right eye.
I’m not very employable either, that is, my eye twitches during job interviews. My ex-husband never lost a job. Kept his clothes real nice. The woman my husband left me for has a piggish nose and wears designer clothing.
I can feel anxiety bubble up. Johan is looking at me with a grin that stretches beyond his smile lines. He has a cute, rat-like face. Rats are very intelligent animals. My best friend, Mancy, has two rats. When I visit her, one of them, a female, snuggles inside my shirt pocket. Rat pee dries quickly and there is almost no smell.
“You and I should get married,” Johan says.
His face looks white, bloodless. The flowers in my yard are wilting, the Lavatera is dying.
“Huh?” I say. “This is sudden.”
I grab his small hand. A hand whose size matches his penis, which does not bother me at all.
“Lice,” he says. “Otherwise I would kiss you.”
Johan has lice from a hat he bought at the Salvation Army store.
“Probably,” I say.
“Probably, I’ll marry you.” If I were to start smoking again — this would be the moment.
“Well, think about it,” Johan says.
He sticks his index finger on the bulls-eye center of his forehead, as though pointing at it with a loaded gun. It makes a mark on his skin. I can already tell he is going to jinx this.
Meg Pokrass has published stories and poetry in McSweeney’s, Gigantic, Five Points, Rattle, PANK, 3AM, Wigleaf, Matchbook, NANO Fiction, 100-Word-Story, SmokeLong, Word Riot, Flash International, Yemassee, Superstition Review, and many other literary magazines both online and in print. Her flash and microfiction have been included in 2 Norton anthologies: Flash Fiction International (W. W. Norton & Co., 2015) and the forthcoming New Microfiction (W.W. Norton & Co., 2018). She received the Blue Light Book Award for her collection of prose poetry, Cellulose Pajamas (Blue Light Press, 2016).