Why do the boys near the bar bite the air behind my back? I know why. Because I’m a tall man with long, blond hair. My sister braided it into the shape of fancy bread. She’s here, too. A guy in plaid lifts her out of the way and shakes my hand. He says, “I get you. I get the anorexic Thor thing.” He pushes his fingers into the slim meat of my chest and backs away. He is a car reversing into a crowd. The dancers make a path for him to escape into the restroom.

I don’t have a watch. I have a phone. The time I read doesn’t match the time I feel.

We miss the last train home. It’s an ungrabbable tail of lights under the dance floor. My sister watches what I do, so she can suggest I do something else. I say it’s time to pollinate a cab with dollar bills. My sister lifts her tumbler of thin ice and mouths, “No. More bourbon.” I mistake it for, “No more brother.”

The drinks here have a special price. That price is taking off my shirt and dancing on the bar for the length of a song. Another shirtless man helps me down.

“Boy, I love that glitter,” he says, meaning my sweat. He doesn’t ask to lick me, but fine, he licks me. “Keep eating what you’ve been eating,” he says. He takes my shirt and wears it out the door.

“Is this a game?” I ask the bartender.

“Yes,” he says, mishearing me. “We’re all gay men but that guy.” He points to a dog biting ankles on the dance floor. Someone throws a beer bottle at the dog, and the dog licks up the beer. My sister kneels before the dog. She tries to shake its paw.

There was a woman on the train here. She flicked the window with a long fingernail.

“Coyotes in the graveyard,” she said.

My sister couldn’t believe it. One of the coyotes humped a tombstone. The other coyotes panted.

“Coyote on the dance floor,” I say into my phone, hoping the robot inside will take the initiative and call for help.

The coyote licks my sister’s neck and whispers something. My sister laughs. I thought a coyote had too many teeth to talk. Now I worry I don’t have enough. How can I say anything with so few teeth? I can’t.

A man with a gun the size of a keychain shoots the coyote just as it’s testing its teeth on my sister’s skin. The disco ball is a full moon above us. The dancers are a petrified forest. The howling begins. Cold air sucks through the door as fools rush out and coyotes rush in.

 

 

 

•••

© Casey Hannan