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Tough Guys and Pussy
by B. Russell

At a typical sports bar in downtown Kokomo, three athletic young men were seated, Budweisers in hand, as the football game blared. They drank with abandon and let the beer slosh on the counter and dribble down their chins, and they peeled peanuts, tossing the shells on the floor. They made bets on the game, and as the final seconds ticked off the clock one of them cursed and kicked the side of the bar hard, then cursed again as he fell from his stool and crashed to the floor, gripping his foot in agony.

"Davis, get up you fucking pussy." The other patrons glanced over for a moment, then went back to their conversations.

"Yeah, Davis, stop faking it and get up. You owe us the next round."

Davis rose, limping, and sat down beside them again. "I'm sorry guys. Yeah, next round's on me." Then he covered his face in his hands and hunched over the counter. The other two looked over in surprise. Davis never apologized for anything.

"Why are you talking like such a pussy all of a sudden, Davis?... Wait, are you crying?"

"Nah, Steve, I'm fine. It's just that... Shane and I broke up last night."

"Well, like I always say, bitches ain't shit. Shane can go fuck herself, know what I mean? Gimme five, bro." Steve held out his outstetched palm, but Davis continued to slump over the bar, shoulders quivering as he cupped his face in his hands.

"This isn't like you, man. I've never seen you act this way over some ass. What the hell is wrong with you? Guys like you don't cry."

"Not everyone can be like you, Carl," said Davis. "I've got thick skin, but underneath I'm just a sensitive guy that needs to be held."

Dead silence.

"What the fuck did you just say??!!" Steve said finally, horrified.

"It's like I've got to be this tough guy all the time and not be affected by anything. You know, because chicks dig assholes, and nobody likes a pussy. But all this time I've been living a lie, man. Shit, I don't even like beer." His shoulders started quaking again and you could hear his muffled sobbing. The bar had gone quiet now, as the patrons turned their attention to these three men.

"Oh my fucking christ, I can't believe this shit!" said Steve. "Who the fuck are you, and what did you do with Davis? I can't believe I'm hearing this... Pull yourself together, you fucking baby, and stop talking all this pussy-ass bullshit. That's advice from a friend, you goddamn psycho."

"A real friend wouldn't say that," Davis replied, "A real friend would give heart instead of hurt."

"What the fuck are you talking about??!!"

"I'm more like you than you think," Carl said, calmly, and rested a hand on Davis' shoulder.

Steve turned to Carl in complete disbelief. "Oh Hells no, not you too?"

Carl ignored him and continued. "I know exactly what you're talking about. From early childhood on I'd been expected to be the strong one, so I embraced that role and never looked back. But it's been so hard wearing that mask, always being a tough guy and never getting to be what I truly am. I'm just like you, man. On the outside I may seem like a man's man, but underneath I'm a loving, caring human being with human needs." Carl took a deep breath. "Sometimes, when it's late at night and nobody's around, I listen to Tori Amos. God, it feels good to finally get that off my chest."

Steve's arms hung limply as he looked to one man and then the other. "What the hell's going on here? What is this? Fucking pussy-coming-out night?"

"Stop using that language, Steve," Carl replied. "It's hurtful and demeaning to women."

"Shut the fuck up, you goddamn pussy!" Steve howled. "Am I the only one here who's a tough guy on the inside too? What's wrong with you people?"

"Don't listen to him, Davis. C'mon, give me a hug. We can finally be ourselves now." Carl held out his arms as Steve froze in revulsion.

Davis straightened himself out and removed his face from his hands. His cheeks were dry and he wore a wide grin.


Carl froze, hands still outstetched. "....Um, what?"

"I just did The Pussy Test on you guys," said Davis, obviously pleased at his performance. "Steve, you passed with flying colors, nice job bro. But Carl, you failed The Pussy Test, big-time. You fucking pussy. Steve, gimme five!"

Steve paused in confusion, then the confusion cleared and he grinned ear to ear. "You wicked son of a bitch!" he said, and gave Davis a high five.

"Get out of here, Carl," Davis said, finishing his beer. "Go sit with the hippies, you fucking pussy. Real men only at the bar." Carl stood, in complete shock and embarassment, and then quickly retreated to the back room while Steve and Davis laughed and the patrons again resumed their conversations.

Carl sat in the backroom, slumped in a booth at the corner, crying alone. All the time and energy he had spent cultivating his bad-boy image, and now everybody in town knew what he was. What was he to do? Where would he go?

He felt a hand on his shoulder. Carl turned to find a beautiful blonde in a tube top and tight black pants looking down at him. "I listen to Tori Amos too."

Carl dried his eyes. "You do?"

"My name is Joan," she said as she slid into the booth beside him. He rested his hand on hers and they smiled, sharing a moment of profound spiritual connection. Both of them were getting pussy that night.



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