The night custodian walked into my office.

I was working late.

“Hey, Pete. How are you?”

“I’m doing okay, Chief. I quit smoking.”

“Really? That’s harder to quit than heroin.”

“So, I’ve been told, but I stopped in 2003 for five years.”

“Do you miss smoking?”

“No.”

“How did you quit? Last I heard, you had cut back to 3 or 4 cigarettes a day.”

“That’s right. I weened myself off. I had a few packs left. I burned those and put them into a big bucket. Then, whenever I had the temptation to smoke, I rooted around in the ash for a cigarette.”

“Kinda like browsing?”

“Yeah. I was looking for something I wanted, but given enough time, I only got disgusted.”

“So, disgust is a strong motivation to quit.”

“That’s right.”

“Why did you quit in 2003?”

“I wanted to be healthy.”

“And now?”

“It hurts when I cough.”

“Pete, have you ever wondered why outsiders end up on the outside?”

“Yeah. They do what they want to do.”

“Women like a guy at the center of things. Do you ever get angry about that?”

“I did in 2003. I listened to this guy on the radio who talked about female nature. I watched the women in bikinis, strutting their behinds by the pool. I smoked, drank beer, and turned up the volume. They hated it.”

“Why do the bad boys always get the cute girls?”

“I had a girlfriend who was with me for five years and when her ex-boyfriend got out of prison, she went back to him. When I was in middle school, there was a kid with an ape face who lived down the block. He had long black hair. I liked the neighbor girl, but she didn’t want anything to do with me. She kept going to him.”

My best friend was calling me… “I got to go, Pete.”

“Nice talking to you, Chief.”

“Man, I’m depressed. I was successful in school. Now, I have this rage. What else do I have to accomplish to get the attention of women?”

“Man, you’re doing pretty good. Women love you. Just give it some time.”

“I’m not bad enough.”

“Maybe, you should level-up, and make more money.”

“I want to be a poet, dude. If I get a job with more responsibility, it will suck my soul. I know women look at me like one of those wannabe wimps, playing the guitar with long hair, dreaming of becoming a rockstar. Everybody knows, it’s never gonna happen.”

“Man, I got to get ready for bible study.”

“Okay. I’ll see you there.”

I checked my email—another favorable rejection.

At bible study, we were having a gift exchange, but before that, we talked about the Old Testament in our small group.

“What is the difference between doing something in our power, and doing something in alignment with God’s will?” My friend asked.

Nobody answered. Then, I spoke up…

“Perhaps, God will give you the strength to do things beyond yourself. You must follow Him, and that requires faith. My problem is… does God want what I want? Perhaps, God doesn’t care that I get married. My whole world might be crumbling away, while I keep trusting in God. I may die alone.”

I could tell, my words resonated. I guess that’s one thing I have going for me—people listen to me—they like my brand of bullshit—it sounds like the truth.

My friend began talking…

“Well, I find that I want things, and then, when I get those things, I want more things.”

“A wife and a family are pretty standard,” I said.

We went to the hot chocolate bar and exchanged gifts.

A guy named Jason (wearing a Travis jacket), stole my jar and diary, and I got to open a box with a stuffed animal inside.

It was a blue whale.

I carried it around with me, like I was a little boy. It was a comfort.

“I’m going to make love to this, when I get home,” I told my friend.

He looked at me, like I was crazy.

The End

Ps. I named my stuffed animal Big Blue.

2 thoughts on “Blue Whale Gift Exchange

  1. Why don’t you go after women who like your interests instead of insecure women who are bored with their lives and need someone fast and fun?

    Also, that’s a cute name for a stuffed animal.

    Liked by 1 person

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