2: “He’s Gord 2.0.”

Gord’s life was a little bit shit at the moment. That’s not to say it wasn’t always a little bit shit; it just seemed to be a little bit more shit than normal. For starters, he’d played yet another birthday party in which he’d been forced to perform Taylor Swift songs. This time, however, it was a sweet sixteen birthday party and the birthday girl, Mikayla, had been a little shit. Small children were mean to Gord, mostly by accident. They asked incredibly direct and unintentionally cruel questions about why he played the guitar at kid’s birthday parties for money instead of getting a real job or why he was dressed so funny. Mikayla and her friends mocked him until he was emotionally traumatized, forever afraid of interacting with other teenage girls.

“To be fair, that’s probably something to be discouraged anyway,” Gavin pointed out, which was a fair point, but it didn’t make it any less painful to think about how Mikayla had called him old and sad. Gord supposed he was old and sad to her. Part of him had wanted to confront her about it, to tell her to take a long, hard look at him so it might serve as something of a public service announcement to her and her friends to study a trade and leave school with an actual skill set. Another part of him just wanted to tell her to fuck off, but the largest part of him, the part that was concerned with things like rent and hydro bills, told him to keep his mouth shut.

And then he asked out Bobby, only to have her then tell him she wasn’t sure because her ex-boyfriend Will was back in Roehampton and he had asked her out as well. Naturally, Gord then spent an excessive amount of time online trying to find her ex-boyfriend Will and, when he was successful, subsequently feeling very poorly about himself indeed. Looking at photos of Will made Gord feel much worse than anything Mikayla and her mean girl friends could say to him.

“I asked out Bobby,” Gord announced to his living room, surfacing from his bedroom and cyberstalking spiral. No one was home. He was effectively talking to Eartha and Snib. He didn’t even know how Snib had gotten inside the apartment. Jacklyn was going to be pissed about that. Instead of returning Snib to his rightful home, however, Gord threw himself on the couch between the two cats and waited for someone to come home so that he could share his misery with someone who wasn’t a feline.

“I asked out Bobby,” Gord informed Finch and Robin two hours later. He hadn’t moved from the couch. Snib was sitting on his chest where Gord was slouched, purring loudly. Eartha was watching them intently, looking a fair bit like she was considering attacking both of them at the same time. She probably was.

“Good for you,” Finch returned.

“She said she didn’t know,” Gord continued.

“That’s less good for you,” Robin commented. He and Finch came to stand in the living room in front of the couch, Gord, and the cats.

“Her ex-boyfriend has moved back to the city and he wants to pick things up where they left off,” Gord explained, shoving a hand into the front pocket of his jeans to pull out his phone. He held it out to show Finch and Robin the photo of Will he’d screenshotted. “This is her ex-boyfriend.”

Finch accepted the phone and Robin looked at it over his shoulder, letting out a low whistle.

“Well she certainly has a type,” Robin remarked. Bobby’s ex-boyfriend Will had dark hair and a mustache, not unlike Gord. Except, unlike Gord, Will was quite fit and had what Gord would absolutely describe as dreamy eyes. If his Facebook profile was to be believed, Will had been in the navy. The closest Gord had come to being in the navy was performing the song “In the Navy” as the police officer member of the Village People in a tribute band that played one hundred per cent of its gigs at gay bars.

“Look at him!” Gord said, waving a hand in exasperation, startling Snib. “He’s Gord 2.0.”

“No, don’t sully this man with your name,” Finch returned. “Christ, he’s magnificent.”

“Unsurprisingly, that does not make me feel very good,” Gord replied dryly.

“Yes, me neither,” Robin agreed, shooting a look at Finch, who rolled his eyes at both of them.

“He looks like a young Tom Selleck,” Finch said. Robin tilted his head and looked at the photo again.

“Oh yeah,” he said after a moment. “Damn, what a babe.”

That didn’t make Gord feel much better either, but he kept it to himself this time.

And then, just when Gord didn’t think his life could get much shittier, his mother turned up unannounced at his apartment one Saturday morning. He heard her before he saw her. He was in the living room, eating cereal on his couch with Eartha, who was chewing on the fraying cuff of his plaid shirt with vigour. Gavin and Finch were still asleep, but Robin was up, woken earlier by the belting singing voice of their next door neighbour Rakesh and his rendition of “Cold-Hearted”, a favourite of his and literally no one else’s. Gord’s mother sounded to be carrying on a one-sided conversation in their hallway, speaking far too loudly for such an early hour. By Gord’s estimation, she could only speaking to one of two people: Jacklyn or OBG, also known as Greg. As neither were especially favourable options, Gord hauled himself off the couch, holding his bowl of cereal, and walked over to the apartment door to wrench it open, revealing his mother talking to both Jacklyn and OBG at the same time.

“Ah fuck,” Gord groaned.

“You watch that potty mouth, Gordon,” his mother scolded immediately, without even looking at him, and then seamlessly returned to her conversation with Jacklyn and OBG. “So I was standing in line for the washroom at this waterpark all by myself and the woman in front of me, the one with the beehive, had the largest bosom I’d ever seen in my life. Wouldn’t you know it, it was my son’s fourth grade teacher and I suddenly understood why he’d taken so well to math that year. And, you know, I never did get that hotdog.”

Jacklyn looked quite taken aback. She was holding a basket of laundry on her hip, clearly having just come back up from the laundry room in the basement. Most likely she’d been accosted by his mother in the hallway, completely unsuspecting. OBG looked as vacant as he normally did, standing in all his glory in his underwear and open bathrobe. His dog was nowhere to be seen, possibly still on bedrest due to his canine gout.

“Ma, come inside,” Gord said, interrupting was undoubtedly gearing up to be a forty-minute conversation, entirely one-sided and even more unwanted.

“I’m making friends,” his mother replied, turning to smile at him for the first time. “This is your neighbour. What was your name again, honey? She lives right across the hall, Gordon. Did you know that? You two should get together sometime. It would be nice to have some friends in this big city.”

“I already have friends, Ma,” Gord said. “And yes, I know her.”

“She’s lovely,” his mother said. At this point, Gord had taken hold of her arm and was physically pulling her toward his apartment.

“She’s something,” he agreed. He successfully left Jacklyn and OBG in the hallway, bringing his mother inside his own place. Robin was still in the living room when they entered, spiking up the hair on the top of Eartha’s head to give her a mohawk.

“And who’s this now?” His mother asked, putting her hands on her hips and giving Robin a onceover.

“This is Finch’s boyfriend Robin,” Gord answered. “This is my ma.”

“Well, isn’t that so continental,” his mother cooed.

“Not so continental, Ma,” Gord replied. “And you knew Finch is gay.”

“Yes, of course,” his mother waved her hand dismissively. “There’s a lesbian couple three doors down from me. Wasn’t Finch dating that cute boy with the curly hair? Very positive fellow. He owned so many great scarves.”

Gord wasn’t sure this was a conversation Robin wanted to be a part of.

“Oh, I met that guy once,” Robin said, surprising Gord. “He’s a tool.”

“Oh dear,” Gord’s mother clucked.

“Yeah, he is,” Gord agreed.

“Gordon,” his mother chastised.

His mother stayed for the entire day. She harassed Finch and Robin for hours when Finch finally woke up. When Gavin woke up, she harassed him as well, mostly about his love life, or lack thereof as it were. Finch, showing incredible restraint and an odd amount of sympathy for Gavin, managed to keep Carly and her cousin-boyfriend to himself. When Amare came over at the end of his shift at the hospital, Gord’s mother insisted that they all go out for dinner, even Robin, to whom she had taken quite a liking. They went to a pub that was roughly a billion degrees. Gord pulled his plaid shirt off partway through dinner, revealing his Eagles t-shirt underneath. His mother tutted softly.

“The Eagles are such shit, Gordon,” she told him in a quiet voice.

“No, Ma, The Eagles are the shit,” Gord corrected her. She gave him a long look.

“Your father loved that shirt so much,” she told him, even though he knew. That was the only reason he wore it. Like his mother, Gord didn’t actually like The Eagles. Gord was actually most like his mother, save for her ability to chat to literally anybody about anything for any length of time. The only things Gord had inherited from his father were his ability to grow facial hair, his car, and his wardrobe.

“He’d be proud of you, Gordon,” his mother told him, reaching across the table to pat his hand. Gord took quick stock of his life and wasn’t so sure that was actually the case, but he appreciated the sentiment nonetheless.


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