Although the following story uses the names of actual people and is set in an actual town, the one I live in come to think of it, any resemblance to people and places real or imagined is unintentional.

I made this story up, in other words. Everything that happens is fictional. Obviously some parts get a little touchy, that’s to be expected. I use the character name “Ferdinand Rojo,” there’s one example, and that’s also the name of a real person, a former friend of mine, though everything that happens to him in the story is of course fictional. Any resemblance is unintentional.

But okay, Ferdinand maybe did sleep with Erica one time and Erica did kick him in the giblets the next time she saw him; that maybe happened more or less like it does in the story you’re about to read.

What I want to say is: let’s not get all dramatic about this fiction/non-fiction divide in every single instance. It’s basically all made up and that’s all you need to know. Outlandish rhetorical flourishes, overwrought narrative conceits, far-fetched scenarios, it’s all here. If you really dig into it, you get a sense the sequence of events is a bit chip-choppy too. On purpose, of course.

You want another ‘for example,’ I can tell. Fine. It’s like, there’s that third section, you’ll get to it after the digression about erotic lederhosen, where I have the “character” Katherine lying all akimbo on a couch in her house. She’s listening to George Harrison on vinyl and thinking of a man she longs for, twirling “brunette lengths of hair in her fingers,” first staring at the ceiling, then closing her eyes, knees bent, imagining her and him lying there and listening together.

But that, that right there. That’s one of those fictional devices I’m talking about.

It Was Her Apartment. Not a house. Katherine’s 29 and single. Christ, she works for a non-profit. You think she can afford a house?

Oh, and there’s this great part too, I was up hours right-clicking for just the right synonyms, where I have “Ferdinand” “very slowly leaning down to grab his socks and five-notch belt, wincing at the timid creak in the floor his lanky movement makes [lanky!], peeking to stare perhaps a moment too long at Erica’s perfectly French-curved hips holding the sheets over her body” before tip-toeing “cat-burglar-like” out of her apartment that next morning (an apartment she of course shares with Katherine—you think Katherine can afford even that walk-up herself?).

Don’t be dim, people. This whole passage? Total fabrication. Made up. Untrue. At least, kind of untrue-ish. But definitely over the top with adverbs. That’s a shload of stupid adverbs. Resemblance unintentional!

So what I’m saying is, that night when Erica saw Ferdo from across the bar and walked up to him to “pull back her leg ready to uncork it on an unsuspecting man’s nether region,” I’m not even sure that makes sense. It’s hilarious, obviously, “nether region.” But it never happened like that. Not exactly.

And oh, oh, please, like this is just any woman’s leg and not the Goddess Erica’s. Holy mother, she’s toned. You add that to her independence, her humility, her sense of justice? I’m in awe from date one. I’m talking to Ferds over Tanq and Tonic back at our place after every one of those dates, la-dee-da-ing about this stunning woman, feminine but not girly, poised but not arrogant, so that to think of her and her leg as anything but the most gentle example of inherent beauty, not a weapon to be aimed at Ferdo’s shriveled dice bag, that’s a crime greater than fictionalization.

“Uncorked.” God bless. And anyway, what the hell lies did Ferds tell Erica that night? And what was she thinking? You can’t blame her for crotch-kick retribution, I’ve got no bone to pick with that—and she hit him dead on, it was like… Thud! Bam! Drop! What I can’t figure is, how did it get to that? That’s the real story. That’s the kind of interior detail that’d turn this (I’m expecting) Pushcart Prize contender into a crackling mystery right quick.

You better damn hope she wasn’t sucked into that pompous humanitarian bullshit, because you know Ferds is a blowhard incapable of commitment, right? Yes yes yes, he worked in South Africa with that NGO for six months, and we all thought it was damn near heroic. Whoop-dee-doo. He did grad school in wildlife science for two years and we oohed and ahhed at the maturity of it. Really helping the native birds of Zambuca, we get it. Oh, Ferds, such passion, oh Ferds, what a stand out, oh Ferds. Give me a fuckin’ break. He got all of us in on the local farm deal, renting the land and starting that CSA and brokering the deal with the farmer’s market council, and then what? Then we’re shin deep in Swiss chard and he bails on us to take that internship in DC.

Come on. She should’ve punched him in those Br’er Rabbits after she kicked him after he showed up at our bar that next night.

Because you know what? No, no, fuck this. Fuck him. “Katherine” wasn’t listening to All Things Must Pass on LP, staring at the ceiling, quietly singing along and imagining what could be, with him. That was Erica! But you see what I did there? I mixed it all up, and you’ll have no idea when you read the story. Idiots.

Don’t you think I stare at the ceiling too, thinking of happiness that might’ve been? Don’t you think “What is Life” comes on and there’s the line about how my “love is there for you any time of day,” and you accept the feeling that there’s something enchanted and holy and mystical connecting me and her, but then this whole thing with AssFerds the canker blight goes down right after we’re “thinking things out” and over the next months you start to focus on the album’s title, All Things Must Pass, and wonder which side to fall to? Is it that her love is there for me any time of day? Or is it the other way, that all things must pass, that you’ll get over this?

One lasts, the other fades. One is an opening, the other a closing.

Oh, fiction, you fucker.