An apology junkie lurks around AA meetings, hoping someone will run into her on their Ninth Step — Making Amends. (Someone runs into her, alright.) She prints up little cards to basically tell people to fuck off. It doesn’t quite work out that way for her — this is a story of redemption, after all.
“Before, I’d been looking at her outfit. Now, I looked up: she had this head of huge, black, frizzed-out hippie hair in the shape of an A-frame cottage, parted in the middle with nothing punk about it, just totally inconsistent with the rest of her look, except for her face, which she turned to me to hiss something that ended, “having a fucking stroke why don’t you for fuck’s sake fuck off”, followed by a loud exhale of rage-breath.
Suddenly, her outfit didn’t make sense anymore. It no longer felt like a vote of support for my own vestigial, but hopefully still noticeable, coolness. See, when we were in the parking lot, I’d experienced a heady, but possibly imagined, sense of approval: by me of her outfit, and of me by her, as though she could somehow tell that I had pogoed across the divide between the 70s and 80s, had never gotten over the death of Joe Strummer, and was still secretly punk, without a trace of it being in evidence. That is, I felt that she and I were friends, that we were naturally aligned somehow. So the “fucking stroke” thing took me by surprise.
I got to work making 2 by 3 and a half inch business cards so I could hand one to the faux punk the next time I saw her. Because I knew, sooner or later, I would. It’s a small town.”
You can get your downloadable DEAR EX-FRIEND CARDS here.
But make sure you email me and tell me all about what happened when you distributed your card. Or cards. Whatever. Some of us need a few.
First published in Kiss Machine, #14, The Activity Issue, 2006.