Chapter Sixty-Two: “You are for sure going to hell”

Gord was having a hell of a time. For one, he kept running into Myrtle at church. It made sense; both of them had to be there at the same place every Sunday. He had to play extremely old British hymns and she had to taxi around her astoundingly old grandmother. Myrtle had introduced him to her grandmother and he had had to literally restrain himself from gasping. She appeared to be held together by prayers and face Band-Aids. She was a lovely woman, though. That didn’t mean he wanted to spend ten minutes every Sunday morning listening to her talk about her bridge club. Frankly, he was amazed she was even in a bridge club. Although, it did sound a little like she was only in it for the bridge mix.

He supposed the problem was that he hadn’t actually told Myrtle that he didn’t want to see her anymore. It was a shitty thing to do, but he’d done it nonetheless and now he had to face the consequences. The consequences, as it turned out, were listening to her very aged grandmother talk about bridge mix and the nearly unbearable awkwardness of dodging Myrtle’s invitations to dinner.

“So you’re in real life ghosting a woman repeatedly at church,” Gavin summarized when Gord explained his dilemma one Sunday evening. “You are for sure going to hell.”

“Maybe you could bribe Finch to pray for you,” Amare suggested, yet again not at his own home.

“I think bribing someone to pray for you negates the benefits of the praying in the first place,” Gavin pointed out.

“I can’t bribe Finch,” Gord cut in. “What the hell would I pay him? I have no money. All I can offer him is my time or my body.”

Finch gagged, thereby cementing Gord’s point.

It wasn’t a great time in Gord’s life. Myrtle was too damn kind and it was becoming hard to, as Gavin so succinctly said, ghost her in real life. It was unbelievably cruel and even Gord was getting sick of himself. And then, at the same time, he was still being relentlessly pursued by OBG, who kept leaving him notes asking him out, not deterred in the slightest by the fact, as far as he was aware, Gord didn’t speak English. He stopped by the apartment at least three times a week, though he never really said anything, just stood outside the door and waited for one of them to come out. He never wore pants, which really bothered Gord. He figured that if OBG was going to let his neurotic dog piss on the carpet directly outside their apartment, the least he could is put on pants to repeatedly ask him to dinner. Or close his robe.

“At this rate, I’m actually going to have to learn Spanish,” Gord complained to Amare one evening. “I can’t just keep repeating ‘Donda esta la bibliotequa? He perdida mi burro. Quiero tequila’ over and over again. Eventually he’ll notice.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Amare replied thoughtfully. “He seems like he might have a few screws loose.”

“I have seen so much of his junk already and we haven’t even gone for dinner,” Gord continued. OBG had some seriously threadbare tightie-whities.

“I think I just threw up a little,” Amare said, wrinkling his nose.

“You just told me that you had to literally scrape someone’s shit off an elevator wall yesterday,” Gord retorted flatly.

“I didn’t say I enjoyed it,” Amare returned. “Both are gross, just in different ways.”

Gord rolled his eyes.

“What am I supposed to do about this? About Myrtle too,” Gord sighed.

“I just think both of these problems could be solved if you just explained that you don’t want to date either of them,” Amare answered. “Literally all you have to say is ‘I think you’re very nice, but I’m not interested’.”

“Jesus, is that how you dump people?”

“Yes.”

“And it works?”

“Yes.”

“It’s that easy?”

“Yes.”

“Then why can’t I do that?”

“Because you’re a moron,” Amare said. And then he pushed Gord off the couch.

On Sunday, Gord went to church with firm resolution to break things off with Myrtle. He really didn’t want to do it, and only partially because he was a coward. He also felt it was presumptive to assume he had to break things off, as if she had been spending all her free time since their one date pining for him. He wasn’t that great. There was a very good chance that she had moved on with her life and was simply being kind to him when she saw him at church because she was a kind person. And when she rushed him at the organ before the service began, while he was playing a slow, sombre hymn as the congregation gathered and chose seats, it seemed the latter was correct.

“Please don’t say anything about our date,” she hissed to him. She had come up from behind the carved wooden partition that sat between his back and the congregation. It was startling to say the least. He dropped his elbow onto some of the keys, emitting an incredibly loud atonal chord. He heard several people in the sanctuary gasp. Myrtle was staring at him with frantic, wide eyes, gripping his forearm with both hands. She was also crouching slightly, as if she was trying to avoid being seen, but that in itself was conspicuous. Besides, with the sound the organ had just made, there wasn’t a chance that even the deafest member of the congregation wasn’t looking at them now.

“Alright,” Gord agreed, mostly out of surprise. He wasn’t quite sure who exactly she thought he was going to tell. If she didn’t want him to tell his friends, it was far too late. If she didn’t want him to tell members of the church, she needn’t have worried because he pointedly avoided speaking to any person at church if at all possible. In fact, he had been trying, to little avail, to avoid speaking to her as well.

“It’s just that my boyfriend Kevin is here and he wouldn’t like that very much,” Myrtle continued, glancing over her shoulder, presumably to where Kevin was sitting. Gord was even more stunned than before and frankly a little offended that she had used him to cheat on her boyfriend. He also felt very strange having this conversation in a church. It was so sordid. They should’ve been discussing it in a clandestine back alley somewhere, cloaked in darkness and surrounded by rats and shame.

“I wasn’t cheating,” Myrtle backtracked hastily, probably sensing Gord’s shocked horror. “We were on a break. He’s just a jealous guy. It’s better for everybody this way. Sorry, but thanks so much.”

Myrtle bolted back to her pew. Gord turned in his seat to watch her go for a brief moment. The man sitting next to her astoundingly old grandmother, Kevin presumably, was a mountain of a man. He had gigantic forearms. He considered what would happen if Kevin tried to fight him and then ultimately decided that he wouldn’t really like to know and also that he’d like to maintain the delusion that his mustache made him come off butch and manly like Burt Reynolds.

Gord met up with Finch at the end of the service, bypassing Myrtle and her grandmother entirely. He didn’t even look at them, too afraid of Kevin’s forearms. Finch was sitting in his usual spot by the back of the church with Joey, who had a split lip. Joey was whistling the theme tune to WKRP in Cincinnati.

“Myrtle has a boyfriend,” Gord hissed to both of them, but mostly Finch. Joey raised both his eyebrows and stopped whistling mid-verse.

“You trying to bang old biddies, bro?” He asked, actually looking impressed. Gord shot him a quick look before turning back to Finch.

“That guy with the Pop-Eye forearms is her boyfriend,” he continued. “Apparently he’s the jealous type. She asked me not to say anything to him about her and me going for dinner, but I’m not actually insane. I have better self-preservation instincts than that. That man could kill me.”

“Technically a lot of people could kill you,” Finch replied unhelpfully. “In a lot of ways. You’re not very strong. I could kill you at almost any time if I wanted to.”

“I don’t know why I bother talking to you,” Gord told him.

“I don’t either,” was Finch’s flat response.

Later that night, Gord opened the door to what he had been hoping was the Chinese delivery guy to find OBG standing in the doorway with his small dog. He stared silently at Gord for a long moment. Gord contemplated just closing the door in his face again.

“Hello,” OBG greeted him solemnly after far too long a silence to be socially acceptable. At the same time though, he was wearing an open bathrobe and some white briefs so it wasn’t the most socially unacceptable thing about him.

“Hola,” Gord returned. He couldn’t do it. He had promised himself that the next time he saw OBG, he would come clean about being English-speaking and just be frank. But his run-in with Myrtle and her giant, jealous boyfriend Kevin had left him jaded and tired. He was hungry and it was too late on a Sunday evening for him to have to deal with anything serious. Besides, OBG didn’t say anything more after that. He just stood there and stared blankly at Gord until the Chinese delivery guy really did turn up. Then he walked away with his dog as the delivery guy watched him go, looking both stunned and horrified. Gord tipped him extra well.

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