“Don’t move, OK?”



Couldn’t she just put it on the stupid countertop? Spices do smell good, though.

I need to shower, clean Harley’s ear, vacuum the couch. After this. Damn, pushups too. After this.

“Can you open the bag a little more, please?”

“For sure.”

Oh, shit, the trash cans, gotta bring the trash cans in.

Wait, who’s coming over again?

“Who’s coming over again?”

“Toros and Mariam.”

“Right, yeah.”

Toros and Mariam. Toriam, Marros. Nah, no good. I wonder when Toros will start holding stuff? Maybe he already has. I should warn him.

“Are they bringing anything?”

“Umm, I don’t think so?”


“Why not?”


“What, we’re making dinner, aren’t we?”

“Yes, we’re making dinner because they just got married and this is their they-just-got-married dinner.”

I don’t like when she draws her eyebrows up like that.


“‘Are they bringing anything,’ he asks. I’m gonna tell your mom.”

“Will you just relax?”

“Will you just open the bag a little more, please?”



Any opener and this is gonna rip and the chicken’s gonna spill across the floor – Jesus, look at that grout, it’s completely cracked – and Harley’s gonna eat it and have diarrhea at three in the morning, man, and goddamnit, Toros is obviously gonna get all whiny about Harley again. Back up, mate, back up.

“I’m not putting Harley in our room tonight, Rima, I won’t.”

“Only for a little, while we eat. He begs, Noy. And now with that cone of his, he’ll scrape their ankles.”

“You have no idea, he gives me the worst, honestly the most spiteful I-hate-you-Dad look.”

Same as the one I’m getting from her right now.

“You need to be a good host.”

“I think I’m a lovely host.”

“Noy, please.”

“They ought to be good guests! Two way street.”

Her head hurts, that’s the headache face.

“Rima, honey, the poor thing has tears, legit tears, drying on his cheeks when I go to bring him out.”

“Dogs can’t cry.”

“Toros makes Harley cry.”


Well, shit, there’s a lot of room for change in twelve, no, thirteen, no, twelve years but she’s still laughing like it’s that first Friday night and we’re kids at In N Out.

“Do not put that down, I gotta pee.”

Jeez, this is getting heavy already. Will she know? Yeah, the meat would move.

So many people told me what marriage was going to be, but no one said it would mainly consist of holding things.

Mostly ziplocs.

I gotta ask around.

This fried chicken is gonna be lit, though, Rima’s fried chicken fucks.

Who told me getting married would be a hassle free fuckfest?

Was it Harry? Raff? Couldn’t have been my dad, no way. Can’t remember.

I mean, it was, for a while, wasn’t it? Like, a couple of years or so?


Think I should shave.

“Hey, should I shave?”

“I don’t care. You didn’t put it down, did you?”

“Who, me? Pssh, no way, I’m a professional. Doors, purses, Trader Joe’s totes, Target bags, bins, pans, skillets, pillows, cardboard boxes, flower pots-”

“Maybe try holding your tongue and shaddap, Noyboy.”

“Tried, too wet. Listen, Rima, when did we do it last?”

“Do what?”

“Do sex.”

“Sex, huh?”

She’s stumped.

“…I guess October? I don’t know.”

“We had yesterday.”

“But how tired were we?”


“Next time.”




“Look who’s home.”


“Should I keep holding-”

Eh, she’s gone, our little walkin dude’s here, barefoot, and nothing else matters.

Nonononono- not the record player!

“Nick, please don’t.”

Nice try, idiot, he sure listened to that. It’s good my hands are occupied otherwise I’d flip him the bird behind his perfect back.

Motherfucker’s a real something.

“Papa, hi, Papa!”

“Heya, fella, how was Nana’s? Hi, Mom.”

“Hi, Noy.”

“Papa, preschool was great.”


“Papa, Nana’s was great!”

“Ohhh, I’m so happy to hear that, my lad. He was alright, Mom?”

“Like Nicky said, it was great.”

“Did you ever flip me off when I was his age?”

“Absolutely not!”

“Bullshit. I bet Dad did.”

“Your husband needs help, Rima.”

“He’s your son.”

“I’d offer to make you coffee, Mom, but I can’t set this down.”

“Part of the job, kiddo. Tell me, Reem, how are the newlyweds? Did they enjoy London? I’m still frankly shocked Mariam signed off on eloping like that without- ehhh, Harley, stop! Noy, do something, that’s gross.”

“Not gross, adorable. And anyway, I gotta keep holding this.”


“Harley likes to kiss Nicky and Nicky likes to kiss Harley. We are the good boys!”

I’m not putting that dog anywhere tonight, bro, Toros can deal. Will Nicky remember Harley? He’s got, what, like seven more years? Duh, man, of course, he’ll remember Harley, he’ll have to bury the fucking mutt. Isn’t that a dog, though? He’s teaching Nicky so much without either of them knowing, and he’ll teach him about death. God.

“You can put the ziploc down.”

“Are you quite sure?”

“See what I deal with, Mom?”

“He’s your husband.”

I am, aren’t I?

“Why are you smiling?”

I don’t have an answer.

“Just smiling.”

“Call me if you need anything, please.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

“See you tomorrow, guys.”

That’s nice. Lucky. Annoying sometimes. But then, so is everything.

“Can I do anything else for you, Rima?”

“Nope, thanks.”

“You bet. Should we bang tonight?”

“Sure, post fried chicken bang. Great idea.”

One hundred percent happening.

“I love you.”

“I love you, Noyboy.”

“Cool, so I need to do some pushups, bring-”

“In your head, I implore you, in your head.”

Bring back the trash, Harley’s ears, shower, maybe shave, do the-


“What’s up, bud?”

“Papa, I want to play piano on the keyboard.”

“You do?”

“Yes, I do. I really want to play piano on the keyboard, Papa.”

“Then let’s rock and fuckin roll.”

“Fuggin roll!”

“Noy, come on.”

He didn’t even say it right, it’s fine.”


“Yes, Nicky.”

“Papa, will you carry me?”

He ain’t gonna ask for long.


“OK, pal, come on up and let me hold you. I’ll hold you.”