This is going to be something completely different, yet again. Hope I can capture what it is I'm going for. Been doing a lot of people watching lately (don't worry, no one in particular!). Hmm...
Title still tentative.
Shawn Mullins was a very nervous, shy young man. He chewed his fingernails, but when he did so he hid them furtively, so as to throw people off his track. When he went to bed at night, he set three alarms, because he feared he would not wake up in time, and when his friends came over he unplugged the extras. Crossing a road was a production; he spent so long twining his thick neck back and forth, all the while pretending to be fixing his hair under his hipster hat--so as to look some form of debonair--that a good five solid minutes would pass before he stepped off one curb and onto the pavement. That sort of thing; you understand. But what is really remarkable about Shawn Mullins is that he had no idea he himself was a nervous, shy young man. In his own mind, Shawn thought himself, as he would say, the fer-shizzle. The truth is that Shawn had spent so long convincing everyone in the world that he was outgoing, fun, hip, or whatever other descriptive word he liked to use, that he had finally succeeded in convincing himself. Jack of all trades; anaconda for the ladies; gift to the world in general.
It is men like these that give women the most trouble.
After spending a few years working in his hometown’s local hardware store, Shawn decided it was time to go be cool elsewhere. He had “outgrown” his town. Big fish; small pond. We all know what this means: he feared, deep down, that his peers were onto him. And nobody likes to have their self-perception broken down by rumours and rumblings. So he picked up and moved to Wyoming to work in a dude ranch, because he just knew it would fit his rugged, cool-guy personality better than working in a hardware store in Charlton, Tennessee. And when he arrived at the ranch, along with his eleven pieces of luggage (full of striped scarves and hipster hats—because he must be perceived as not only warm, but interesting), he saw her and he knew that he had to give her even more trouble than even the most troubled woman has ever endured, because she was the one for him.
"Stop it! Why do you have to be such an asshole!"
Shawn leaned against the shed railing and crossed his arms, blue-on-blue scarf snug around his neck. It was late afternoon, and the cold winter light fell golden onto the hay that covered the shed's flooring, and he'd already managed to piss off Chloe. In his mind, this was not a bad thing. She was beautiful when she was mad; her pale eyes grew dark with anger and her hair usually slipped out of it's elastic, so that she looked like she must look when she woke up in the morning, wild, rumpled, fantastic.
"You think this scarf brings out the color of my eyes, hm?" Then, after fiddling with the folds (an attempt to sneak a fingernail up to his mouth), "Hey, just sayin', that's how we roll in C-town. Yo, yo." He rolled his gloved hand into a C-symbol of some sort.
"You are a moron. Give me back my phone, goddammit."
"Why, you gettin' mad? Hm? You gettin' angry? Watch out," he half-called over his shoulder, "Chloe's about to do a lil' sum-summin', know what I'm sayin'? Hey girl, h-ey." He waved his arms dramatically, hoping the effect wasn't lost with the bulk of his winter coat. Montana winters could be potentially disastrous, fashion-wise, he had decided.
Chloe jumped at him, flinging her arms as high above her head as the parka would allow. It was comical, bundled little Chloe in her big puffy parka, all of five foot, trying to get her phone from him by force. He laughed at her, knowing it would make her even more mad, and held his hands higher so that she had to jump even closer. Maybe she'd slip on the hay and fall into his arms. Maybe. He was an anaconda for the ladies, after all.
But when he moved his arms higher, she stopped jumping at him. Her hair settled down. She looked to the hay, then back up at him, and squinted in the sunlight, standing only inches away, but a foot below him. Standing there, with her squinting towards him in the sunlight, he suddenly felt the dislike rolling off her in waves.
"I've tried to be nice to you."
The words were quiet. Shawn lowered his arms but said nothing.
"I've tried to be friends. But let's get something straight. I am sick of you being an asshole to me all the time, and then apologizing a day later with a laugh. You jealous of the men in my life? Hmm? The reason they're in my phone and you're not is that they aren't assholes to me. Get it yet? No? How would you like it if I was a bitch to you all the time and then laughed about it, you self-centered prick? You asshole? You pit of a human being? Oh, I'm just playin', ha-ha. I'm sorry. Fuck you; I'm sorry. Fuck you, I'm sorry. Fuck you I'm sorry. "
She pulled her face down from his, backed up. Stood there, deflated, in the not-as-cold-as-outside cold of the shed.
"I am sorry, Clohe. I really am." Shawn held out the cell phone. A peace offering.
"Yeah? Lucky fucking me, to have an immature poser dickhead like you say sorry. Oh, ha-ha." She stuck the phone in her pocket. "You're never going to be with me. Sorry. Ha-ha"
And she walked away.
"Good! I wouldn't want you to be my girl anyway! Whatever, worm! Be with you, ha! I'm a lone wolf, a-rooo! Ha!" And he dug the toe of his work boot into the hay on the shed. Dust flew up and he scowled at it, but he was alone, so she couldn't see that he really meant the opposite.