The Photo (short story)

He may not acknowledge it, but I’m always there for my boyfriend Sherm.  When he got fired from his part-time job at Absolutely Kosher Records, I humbly turned to Daddy despite my current estrangement so that Sherm could still afford to be in the sixteenth row of the Camper Van Beethoven reunion concert.  But you see, despite all I do for him, Sherm is somehow unable to thank me.  Sure, he utters the one (or occasionally two) words he learned from Sesame Street (the only TV show we both watched as kids), but after our fight, I’ve become impatient.

Our fight was the result of Sherm’s inability to accept my status as an equal.  Because he happens to be fifteen years my senior, Sherm thinks he is musically and otherwise culturally superior to myself in terms of knowledge.  He thinks that because I was born nearly ten years after Ian Curtis’ demise, I can never appreciate Joy Division like he does.  So he called me a “poseur,” I snapped at him, and we didn’t speak for two days.

But ever since Sherm was fired from Absolutely Kosher, he has turned to a project completely unrelated to music.  He somehow managed to land a writing gig for a comic book—Green Lantern vs. Sinestro.  But he doesn’t seem to know much about his own characters.  When I asked him how many Green Lanterns there are, he replied, “two, a black one and a white one.”  But there are others, according to Wikipedia!  He’s been working for Vertigo for the past three months now, and I haven’t seen a single sentence he’s written.  I wonder why he refuses to show me his work.  On a couple nights, I’ve actually envisioned him as Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining, pasting “no beer and no TV make…”  No, wait, that’s The Simpsons’ parody of that film.  I’ve never actually seen the film.  I need to stop watching The Simpsons ironically.

Anyway, I’m in his apartment, viewing an Echo & the Bunnymen poster on the adjacent wall when I notice his cell phone in the couch I’m sitting on.  Sherm’s just taken me to dinner, which was about par, but he slinked off to put the finishing touches on Issue #1 of Green Lantern vs. Sinestro.  The cell phone is vibrating rapidly, so I pluck the phone from underneath the cushion.  It is then that I receive a text containing one photo.

Wow, the comic’s illustrations are already done!  This is a photo of the first issue of the comic.  But wait, where are Green Lantern and Sinestro?  And who are these umpteen teenage girls embracing…is that Sherman?  Ugh!  Must be one of those pathetic autobiographical comics like the ones Harvey Pekar or Joe Matt draws.  Oh, no.  I’m on the cover too!

Yes, to the right of these thirteen or so skimpily clad teenage girls embracing Sherman in what looks exactly like a drawing of our bedroom is a jealous-looking cartoon me, who is the only female on the cover not hugging Sherm.  When does he plan on publishing this?  There are no other texts from this strange number.  Oh well.  Whenever I see Sherm again, I’m breaking up with him.


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