Where the Hell is Kirk? (short story)

It had been three days and still no sign of Kirk. Jez sat atop their king-size bed sipping her fourth Bloody Mary of the day in a T-shirt and pajama pants. Staring into the gold-encrusted mirror adjacent from the bed only made her drink more heavily, because that black T-shirt reminded her more and more of Kirk. It wasn’t so much that it was a gift from him as much as it advertised his first band, aptly named the Kirks because all six members of the band were named Kirk. Jez admittedly never listened to the Kirks, even though in her wilder days she had been one of the most notorious band groupies in the entire Bay Area. She had probably slept with at least one other Kirk, but could only remember her special Kirkey, the man who made her days and nights (but especially nights) shine. Jez and Kirk were now attending separate Sex Addicts Anonymous groups because of how impossible it had been was to let go of each other. But now it appeared that after five successful years of marriage in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the East Bay, Kirkey had finally let go of Jez.

How many Bloody Maries had there been in those three days? Jez had slept through her scheduled Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting… had Kirk been at his either? Jez had plenty of guesses as to where Kirk was, but was not at all motivated to look. She took a few more sips of her latest Bloody Mary, her long eyeteeth chipping the fragile glass. I should call someone, she thought, and struggled to retrieve her phone book from Kirk’s nightstand. Because he didn’t read enough to need a bookshelf, Kirk kept all three of his books on his nightstand: a copy of the New Testament that he had stolen from a former missionary named Melvin Snix, the latest Cometbus punk fanzine, and a phone book which was presumably also stolen. Though Jez and Kirk fancied themselves to be suburban conservative Christians, together they had approximately 613 sins, the shattering of the eighth commandment being a rather recurring one.

Jez searched for the phone book for her friend Vanessa. Vanessa was a manic Danville housewife who had recently retired from a high-level job at Facebook. She had been responsible for many of the more controversial layout changes to the site. Jez had originally met Vanessa at an inter-college frat party shortly before graduation. They had been very active in the same sorority at rival schools. Though she originally thought ill of Vanessa’s haughty nature, the two women eventually bonded during the years that they lived in San Francisco. However, Kirk had not warmed up with Vanessa’s husband Melvin (yes, that Melvin) in the slightest, and was constantly cracking rude jokes about a man he had not seen in multiple years, much to Jez’s chagrin.

“Hi, Vanessa! It’s Jez! How you been?”

“Oh, Jezebel! What a nice surprise. I just noticed you finally joined Facebook. Don’t you love it?”

“Kind of,” sighed Jez. “I really only joined because Kirk persuaded me to a couple days ago.”

“Oh really? I was just looking at his profile this morning, and you aren’t one of his Facebook friends. I wonder why that is.”

“Hmmm, I sent him a request. Kirk probably hasn’t checked his Facebook since I sent it to him.” Jez reached the end of her Bloody Mary, but didn’t feel like refilling her chipped glass.

“Huh? I’m actually looking at his profile right now, and he’s been posting stuff all day. I mean, he just posted some band pics a few minutes ago! I think if he could log on to do that, he could accept your friend request as well.”

“Band pics? Oh, that’s right. He did some corporate gigs last month.”

“These don’t look very corporate,” snickered Vanessa.

“Maybe it’s a small business. I’d check his Facebook profile to clarify, but his profile is private, so I can’t see his pics.”

“You know, it’s weird that I’m his Facebook friend and you aren’t. I mean, you’re his wife, after all. I don’t want to sound mean, but it almost looks like Kirk’s Facebook friends with every woman in the East Bay besides you.”

That son of a bitch, thought Jez. “Alright, I’ve been hiding something,” said Jez, too drunk on Bloody Maries to keep her secret inside for any longer. “But don’t tell anyone about this! Not Jericha, not Vanessa, and especially not Melvin! Kirk hasn’t been home for three days, okay? I don’t know where he’s been, but I’m getting desperate.”

“You desperate housewife,” chuckled Vanessa.

“But what should I do about it? I don’t know what to do, Vanessa. It’s so hard to adjust.”

“Well, Jez, what I always say is, when you have a man and you lose him, what you need is an instant replacement. Or if you have a woman and lose her. When my sister Maudie died last year, I was sad and all, but then Mel and I adopted a couple girls from the Philippines and now I’m fine. I know we’re supposed to be past this, but I am not joking when I suggest you go out and party your heart out.”

“I’m already doing that though. I’ve had (hic) five Bloody Maries today.”

“Yeah, but you need an actual human replacement. You need a new man, Jez. And I know just the venue for you. It’s a really cool house. It’s called the Punkhaus. Melvin told me about it.”

“Punkhaus. Hmmm,” said Jez. Uneasily, she bounced off her bed, changed out of her pajamas into somewhat formal wear, and drove her red convertible to the Punkhaus in Emeryville.

Jez was shocked when she saw the list of bands that were playing at the Punkhaus. Along with Rottheimer and He Who Laughs Lasts, two bands she hadn’t heard about since her groupie days, was the Kirks.

“It can’t be the same Kirks,” Jez muttered aloud, and entered the Punkhaus.

“Hey, it’s Jezzy!” exclaimed a deep male voice from upstairs. Jez followed the voice and found herself face to face with a musician she hadn’t seen in years, Lionel Rogg, casually carrying the hunk of self-assurance which had both begun and finished his not-at-all endless summer with Jezebel. A mane once lime was now dyed jet black, and his eyeshadow was at least partially inspired by the frontman of Green Day, as was his choking crimson tie.

“Lionel! Long time no see! I forgot you were in Rottheimer.”

“Oh no! I was never in Rottheimer. You knew me when I was in Crimpshrine. I’m here because I’m in the Kirks!”

“Y-Your name’s not Kirk,” stammered Jez. “Everybody in the Kirks has the first name Kirk, right?”

“Kirk’s my stage name. Kirk Lemonhead.   I couldn’t be in the Kirks if I went by Lionel. It would be like being in the Ramones and not using the stage surname Ramone, wouldn’t it?”

“I guess,” said Jez.

“Yeah, only one of the Kirks is actually named Kirk,” snickered Lionel.

“My husband, Kirk M’Caine.”

“No, his real name’s Chester. Chester Marlowe. He was here yesterday, actually. We all were. We’ve been playing here every day for the past three days. Pretty cool, huh?”

“Not when you’re his wife and you want to know where he is,” said Jez.

“Wait, you’re his wife? Whoa, that’s too bad, I was going to have you be my groupie again. Do you think he’d be fine with that?”

“Kirk’s been lying to me so much lately that I think it would be a nice way to get revenge on the fucking fool.”

Lionel coughed. “That’s crazy that you keep calling him Kirk. I always call him Chester, we all do, on account of that’s his real name.”

“Did you say Chester Marlowe? And to think that I legally changed my last name to M’Caine. It’s not even spelled right.”

“Don’t sweat it, Jezebel. We all go through bad days. Here, let me lead you to the Punkhaus’ bedroom.”

In a matter of two hours, Jez had slept with every member of the Kirks besides the man who she once assumed to be named Kirk M’Caine. Jez was just finishing up with Kirk Masonian when she heard a knock on the door to the Punkhaus’ bedroom.

Lionel Rogge again. The fact that he looked even more cocky this time signaled that the Kirks were about to gregariously spread their musical wealth. He did not seem at all alarmed that the woman he had just slept with was now sleeping with his bandmate. “I found Chester,” he alerted Jez. “He doesn’t want to talk with you though, but I can mediate something. I was a mediator for the president of my Episcopalian church youth group in high school, and punk isn’t as different from religion as both cliques want you to think.”

“Stop calling my man ‘Chester,’” snapped Jez. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s Kirk. Kirk M’Caine. I know for a fact that his mother is named Zecharia M’Caine and that he comes from a long line of M’Caines, so drop this ‘Chester Marlowe’ shit, okay?”

Kirk Masonian sprinted out the door to fetch his drum kit. Lionel coughed, and began to speak again. “Actually, I think I know why Chester’s so angry. Did you sleep with the guy from the Melvins? He seemed mad about that.”

“I know a Melvin. Melvin Snix, he’s married to my friend Vanessa.”

“Yeah, he said that he found out you slept with the Melvins.”

“Wait, all three Melvins or just one?”

“You tell me. How many Melvins did you sleep with?”

A pause. Lionel sighs. “Listen, there are three Melvins. Their names are King Buzzo, Dale Crover, and Joe Preston. Do any of those names sound familiar?’

Before Jez could answer, Kirk M’Caine slithered into the room, clad in a leather jacket Jez remembered him stealing a few months back. “Been eavesdropping,” he muttered. “Jez, I can’t believe you’d cheat on me! I mean, Melvin? Vanessa told me the whole thing!”

“Hey, who’s Vanessa?” pondered Lionel, before Kirk signaled for him to leave. As he clumsily approached the egress, Lionel hollered at his bandmate Kirk Masonian, who was already on stage.

“Sorry about that,” Jez murmured. “When did you talk to Vanessa?”

“Facebook.”

“I see. Well, Melvin’s one man I’ve never slept with, and I never lie about these kinds of things.” She realized what she had just said, and gulped. The truth tasted like vomit in her mouth. “I slept with all of your bandmates though.”

Kirk took out a hypodermic needle and indiscreetly flung it like a dart into Jez’s shoulder. Jez flinched, slightly squealing, and dived for the door. As she pinched the needle in her blouse, what she believed to be the truth exploded from her mouth. In a matter of seconds, Jez’s dirty blonde hair headed for the floor, and her face was smeared with the remnants of those many Bloody Maries.

Then the Kirks played for three hours straight, but Jez didn’t hear any of it.

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