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Smart Car
by Doug Hawley

11: Auto Retread

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I have come to a decision about my relationship with Jane and Sheila. Jane is a lot of fun, but also a lot of pain. On a practical level, I know that she would never settle for just one man. She doesn’t exactly brag, but she makes it clear that she has a lot of men on the string. I’m just one day of the week to her. Sheila has been going out with another guy, but I have the feeling that she might be willing to commit to me and I’m definitely ready to commit to her. Sheila is beautiful, bright and exciting in her own way, namely her Rogue secret identity.

After gathering my courage, I ask Sheila if we can be exclusive.

“I’m ready. I don’t think Shane ever thought of me as something other than a cover for his true interest. You’d think that wouldn’t be a problem with so many taboos breaking down. I don’t think he will even be hurt politically if he comes out. Anyway, he’s been very evasive and secretive lately. He may be about ready to drop me.”

“I’m sure I won’t break Jane’s heart. I think that she has a queue waiting for an opening, so to speak, in her schedule.”

We were both right. Neither Jane nor Shane was heartbroken by our respective breakups.

A few days later we had dinner at Shelly’s Bistro to mark our new relationship. We didn’t see this coming, maybe you did. Shane and Jane were having dinner together. Puzzled, we ask if we can join them and they graciously offer us seats.

I confess to them that I’m surprised that our two exes are together.

Shane responds “I think that I know what you are thinking. People get the idea that I’m queer because of my tastes and my metrosexual grooming. Like a guy that appreciates Broadway shows is automatically homosexual, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m ambitious and I’m aiming for higher political office. I thought that a prude like Sheila would be good for my image.”

At this point two sets of eyebrows were raised. Shane is not a good judge of character.

Shane continued “My secret wasn’t being gay, it was being kinky. Jane and I make a perfect match. I’ve been her Thursday date for several months. Lately I’ve been thinking that my gay image may get me votes rather than cost me votes. I’m not going to say anything publicly, and I’ll let the public keep guessing. If my kinky side comes out, well this is Oregon. Almost a hundred years ago a multi-married man who lived openly with a woman that he wasn’t married to was elected governor. The next governor was bi. Spanning all that was a lesbian superintendant of Portland schools. A few years earlier than that Portland elected a mayor involved with an almost underage guy. I don’t know if there is anything sexually that could hurt me as long as it is between consenting adults.”

Neither Sheila nor I could think of anything to say to that. The rest of the dinner, we talked about the Trailblazers, the Ducks and the unseasonably hot weather as if Shane hadn’t dropped his bombshell. We finished our dinner with them and they bought us dessert. I think that the four of us will be fast friends.”

Author’s notes: I learned some lessons from film and TV. In order to lower production costs, the first half of this is what would be called a clip show in another medium. I’ll keep making sequels as long as I can get away with it. It works in Hollywood.

My pen name comes from a martyr who died early in this century. The day after he read this passage from an Oregonian editorial “The peace and justice community has been self-tasked with positively impacting the POC community issues” he died. His final note also said his knees hurt.

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