Ajax Hamilton yawned quietly to himself as he stared lazily out of the window of the bus. He covered his mouth with the back of his hand, and the bus began to pull away. The backhanded yawn was witnessed by a young woman named Janis who had decided that day to come out to her boyfriend and dump his ass. She was torn, on one hand she felt guilty for lying to Todd for so long, but on the other hand he was such an unbearable prick that there was a certain amount of malicious satisfaction she was receiving from the idea. At the same time, he was also a bit of a gorilla, so there was a hot pit in her stomach that she was trying not to think about.
He really did look like a gorilla, a shaved, bleached gorilla with bright pink skin.
It was as this realization passed through Janis’ mind that she noticed Ajax’s backhanded yawn inside the bus as it pulled off. She watched the bus pull away, belching vast clouds of exhaust, and tsked under her breath, then a hitch caught her chest and she inhaled tightly, barely opening her mouth at all as she yawned. She ended it with the word -Hum, and only then raised her hand to her mouth to cover it.
In a window across the street, two floors up, Rob sat looking out the window, talking on the phone to his girlfriend Raquel, who was talking on a pay phone in the local pizza joint, waiting to pick up their order. The first ten minutes of their conversation had consisted of how disgusted Raquel was having to use a public pay telephone since she had flushed her cell phone down the toilet at a kegger.
He leaned on the window sill, watching Janis, idly wishing she were his girlfriend instead of the one he had. She looked nice. She looked like his type. He liked the way she shifted nervously under the streetlight. He assumed she was waiting for the bus.
While he wasn’t paying attention the topic had changed to her antics with her sorority sisters. -We hadta wear our bras on the outsidesa our shirts, and -get this- cluck. Like. Chickens. Can you believe that? In front of people? I almost died, she told him, laughing loudly into the mouthpiece.
-Should’ve been like a turkey, he said quickly in the almost nonexistent pause he had learned to anticipate between stories. There was silence on the line.
-Turkey? she asked, in that tone. He could imagine what her face looked like perfectly as she said it, it was always the face she wore when she used the tone. Twisted up and awful. Todd hated his girlfriend, he realized. One word had made him realize the depth of his loathing. Wearily, he said, -Turkey? They should have made you all cluck like turkeys.
-Turkeys? he asked. -‘Cause it’s almost Thanksgiving? Forget it . . .
-Ohhhh, I get it. Oh.
-I get it. That’s not funny.
-No, it isn’t.
-Do turkeys cluck? she asked.
-I think they gobble. It’s not the same, she said.
-No, it certainly is not. Good observation. Is the pizza ready yet? Did you pick up gas?
-Mm, almost. The creepy little pizza boy in here keeps staring at me. You should see his nasty red hair. I bet he has red pubes. Soooo gross. So gross. This other guy just walked in who looks like a gorilla. Nuh-asty.
At that moment Rob noticed Janis finish her yawn, down below, across the street. She looked like she was smiling as she tried to hide the yawn. He smiled back. A few seconds he interrupted Raquel with a somewhat loud yawn.
-Didoo ust . . . awn? asked Raquel awkwardly over the line, yawning herself. -Ho! she ended it.
-Yes I did, Rob answered. -Yes I did.
The seventeen year old clerk at the counter in the pizza joint had been staring at Raquel on and off for the past fifteen minutes, wondering how much of her tits was padding, how much was real, and whether she was wearing underwear under her loose baggy sweatpants. He thought constantly about yanking down a girl’s sweatpants. He was mortified that he may someday do it, he thought about it so much. He wished he was back in his room, the basement of his parents’ house he had converted into a bedroom apartment, getting high. He was SUPPOSED to be back at home getting high. He was, however, currently covering for another employee who had attempted suicide in the staff room earlier in the evening.
He wondered if the staff room would be off limits because of the police now. His fake ID was in his bag, in his locker, and so was an eighth of weed. If the room was off limits he would most certainly be, as his father liked to say, up shit creek without a paddle. Some people are so fucking self centered, he thought, watching Raquel turn her back slightly to him, and noticed there didn’t seem to be thongs marks through the sweat pants. She turned back toward him, and yawned long and slowly, making eye contact with him as she did. She quickly turned away, which he took as a sign that she was embarrassed that he caught her looking at him.
She liked him. Sweet. Pleased with himself, he yawned openly and unattractively in the face of the young man who had approached the counter. -Haughhh, MMMmmmmmm!
-Pepperoni and bacon? the young man asked.
The clerk turned, still yawning on and off, and looked at the tag on the box of pizza sitting under the red lights, attempting to stay warm. He hated this job. Hated the customers, hated the whole goddam city, land of a thousand cocksuckers. The name on the pizza box read TODD.
He turned back, and ended the grotesque yawn. -Huhh, is, uh, are you, uh. Todd?
-Mm hmm, the young man with the large pink head answered. He was getting pizza for his girlfriend Janis, who had called saying she wanted to ‘talk’, which was never good. It was usually about how he embarrassed her in front of her dykey friends by talking about how he liked his steak grilled, or complaining about the hockey strike. She was so drab. To attempt to placate her he was buying her favorite type of pizza, pepperoni and bacon. He figured it was cheaper than a pair of shoes.
Todd grabbed his pizza and walked out into the night air with it, steam billowing out the sides of the damp warped cardboard. Although delayed, he caught the yawn. He was nearing his car by the sidewalk and shook his head softly trying to clear his head, and passed the window of a bus idling nearby. Ajax Hamilton, sitting up in the window of the bus watched him absently, thinking about Billy Van and The Hilarious House Of Frightenstein, and how much better it was than an of the shitty children shows which clogged the channels these days, and as the bus pulled away he lazily yawned again, long and loud, covering his mouth with the back of his hand and mumbled to himself:
-Christ, can’t stop yawning . . .