Ken is a likeable guy who sells with the rest of us at the swap meet, who can’t seem to hide his butt crack. Turn around, and there it is, staring at you, a pale half-moon, if the moon were fully out of shape and disgusting. “Workman’s cleavage” as my friend Phil would say.

It puts one in an odd position, having to find balance between how nice Ken is, and how much one hates seeing his vertically smiling butt. It’s like Ken’s fuck you to the world- “hey I don’t give a crap (bad drum roll) what you think. I dare you to say anything. Anything at all”. No-one does.

He had a fight with another guy that he bought collections with. Mick thought Ken was stealing records from him. Mick has been posting phony ads on Craigslist with Ken’s number and then going around telling everyone how awful Ken is. But, in spite of his need of a belt or suspenders, everyone likes Ken, and no-one likes Mick. At least not as much, and less so now.

I picture Ken, now that he’s 70, relaxing on the couch, drinking Bud Light and falling asleep watching old episodes of Mannix. He’s been sick recently, and maybe he wakes in the middle of the night, goes outside holding up his pants with one hand, the other pointing to the stars, thinking, that, out there, is where I’m going next, there, where I belong.

A better place, a kinder view, one eye on the world, one turned away.


prompt that inspired this