Creative Comedy Project

Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot By Tracy Maylath

Huddled like four bowling pins at one end of the dining table, we squint at the man perched far at the other end as though he might tumble toward us and topple our upstanding family. He’s Ed-from-across-the-street’s son. When Father warns us that he’s coming over to buy our battered Datsun, Mother scans the kitchen for invisible spies before hissing ‘Evelyn says he’s _____.’

Her sentence rams into a glottal stop.

‘He’s what?’ I ask.

‘You know.’

‘Know what?’

‘She means he’s _____.’ Father’s gesture finishes his sentence. His right hand flopping, his left arm crooked, wrist planted on waist.

I giggle. Father as the little teapot when he recoils from holding Mother’s purse, even for a moment, like the purse will infect him with feminine cooties.

‘She means he’s gay,’ Brother says.

‘Shush,’ Mother says, ‘It’s not nice.’

‘How come?’

Mother’s mouth opens to answer before her brain has shuttled words to it.

Brother assists, ‘because it’s against God.’


‘I dunno. Cause it says in the bible.’

‘Nuh uh. Does not.’

‘Does so.’

‘Does not.’

‘It does so. It says that being gay is a sin and if you do that kind of stuff, you’ll go to Hell.’

‘What kind of stuff?’

‘Gay stuff. Duh.’

‘Does not. The bible wouldn’t say “gay stuff”.’

‘Well it doesn’t say “gay stuff”, Stupid, it just says like being gay and stuff.’

Mother scuffs crumbs from the table. Father rattles the pages of the used car ads.

‘But Ted at church was gay?’ I say.

‘Shhhhhh...’ Mother hisses.

‘But you said that’s why he got fired?’

‘The new organist is better anyway,’ she answers.

‘I sat next to him once,’ Brother shudders. ‘The bible is right, they should just all go live in San Francisco.’

‘The bible says gay people should all live in San Francisco?’

Mother tells me to stop acting superior. But I’m not because the bible is like algebra. It makes me feel stupid because everyone else understands that gay = bad and I don’t get how they balance that equation.

Now he’s here at our kitchen table having car facts volleyed toward him by Father while I examine him, like he’s my algebra textbook, for clues. He’s just like Ted, or Father, wearing a boring shirt with the penguin logo on the chest. He and Father seal their deal with a manly handshake.

As he’s getting in the car, he spots me peering at him from the kitchen windows and waves at me.

I ask Father, ‘he seems nice?’

‘Well as long as he doesn’t shove it in my face, I guess his money’s just like anyone else’s.’

I puzzle over what Father thinks Ed-from-across-the-street’s son might shove in his face. I figure it must be the gay stuff the bible mentions.

Brother sneaks up beside me. He grabs my arm, shunts up my sleeve and draws an imaginary inoculation on my forearm, ‘circle, circle, dot, dot, now you have a cootie shot.’


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