Curb Sofa by RJC Smith

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I came home from work and sat in the sofa we had dragged off the curb a few weeks earlier.  I say ‘in’, rather than ‘on’, because I would sink into it. It was way too big for one person, but not big enough for two. The sofa cradled me like a hammock.

I spilled beer and it pooled under me and soaked into my jeans, in an area whose center was the small of my back.  I put a towel under me—even though the sofa absorbed the beer within fifteen seconds—and did nothing else about it.  I did nothing about it and drank five more beers while watching old sitcoms on Netflix. I had bought a six-pack of craft beers—pretty much the only alcohol I drank was IPAs.

My roommate came home and went into his room.  

I slept in my bedroom, which had never aspired to be anything more than a mattress and the boxes I moved in with.  I had put a crucifix I’d bought for a dollar at a thrift store on the wall as an ironic nod to its sparseness.

When I walked around the next day, in the cold, wet early December, the spot at the back of my jeans seemed perpetually damp from the humidity.  It agitated my anal fissure—which I had gotten after some bathroom trouble following a week where I ate a cheeseburger every day.

It felt like a colony of termites eating away at my foundation.  One minute it would be fine and in another I would be using all of my willpower—nearly crying from the irritation—not to scratch and pull at my ass through my jeans.

Jean buzzed me into her apartment.  I thought we were going to hang out.  Have a drink or two at her apartment then maybe go to a bar later.  I arrived with a six-pack of hoppy, seasonal beer. She said she couldn’t actually hang out because she had too much schoolwork to do.  I cracked open a beer and thought to linger for a minute anyway.

I was standing up.  She was on her laptop at her coffee table on her sofa.

I looked at the framed picture of her and her mother on the wall.  I walked in a little circle again. I looked towards her, at the long couch she sat on.  I felt myself feel very tired. I lifted up the brown bottle to my mouth—resisted the irritation in the seat of my pants.

“Last night I spilled some beer on the sofa, and it pooled around me, and then I was just sitting in it,” I said.  “I’ve smelled like dried-up beer all day today.”

She looked at me with revulsion or bewilderment.

“Why would you tell me that?” she asked.

“Because it’s funny, I guess.”

She looked at me.  I made a little shrugging motion with my body.

“I thought it was funny,” I said.

I smiled.  She looked at my mouth.  

My mouth tasted like burnt.


RJC Smith is from New Jersey and lives in New York. He has work published in X-R-A-Y and forthcoming in Post Road.

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