A whole thing of pasta salad

A whole thing of pasta salad

A whole thing of pasta salad in the heaviest bowl you've ever seen on a weak fold out table. The tinfoil half on and a wooden spoon poking out.

Penne, lemon, olive oil, red wine vinegar, cherry tomatoes, green pepper, red onion, cucumber, kalamata olives, flies buzzing around, feta wilting in the sun.

A greasy paper plate with the light blue trim resting hell-blackened burgers and charcoal dogs no one else as of yet has been shameless enough to poke their beaks into.

Lemony bug spray sweat on the back of your neck.

A 64 oz bottle of Heinz ketchup standing like a sentry. One or two of the fancier mustards unopened.

Across the yard everyone else’s kids are all zooming around like low altitude dog-fighting airplanes. Squealing and without fear. Fearful of the wrong things rather.

No one is looking your way.

Eat it.

Eat it all.

Do it.

The napkins have breached containment. Being carried off on the wind like the leaves of a torn hardback meant for a dwindling fire. You could go run after them.

Someone's husband has his phone bluetoothed to a shitty little portable speaker playing a Spotify generated mix for middle aged alcoholics.  

It doesn't make any sense but sometimes when you listen to the early Silver Jews records and there's too much Malkmus in there it feels unseemly.

Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was important to you at one point in your life.

Stop breathing,
stop breathing,
breathing for me now.
Write it on a postcard,
Dad, they broke me.
Dad, they broke me.

Remember that one?

Well now you're thinking about New Orleans off of Silver Jews’ debut LP.

There is a house in New Orleans,
not the one you've heard about.
I'm talking about another house.

That is a very funny way to start a song you have to admit.

Someone’s wife here would probably find that charming. You could go talk to one of them about it. Yeah he was this musician who uh...

There’s a bumper sticker that makes your stomach feel bad on one of the beer coolers. Worse than a sun-dried hot dog will later. And when you open it you’re honestly kind of relieved to not see the infamous gay beer because it’s a better joke that way. An absence is a kind of punchline. Things seem formally consistent. Of course they aren’t serving that here. You could make it a whole thing if you wanted to. A whole fucking thing.

Hey man do you guys have any of the trans beer? From Instagram that one single time? A year or two ago? Everyone went crazy over it.

They’re playing Justin Townes Earle now. Maybe you misjudged this DJing husband. Maybe he’s significantly sadder than you had assumed.

Your aunts and uncles are so old. Your parents are so old. But that provides a kind of cover for you doesn’t it?

No one is going to notice if you eat the charcoal meat. Two of them even. Someone had asked earlier if you wanted cheese on yours and you said oh haha whatever is fine and you meant to say you wanted the cheese on the burg but now there is no cheese left.

People nearby talking:

I’m sorry but you know what the stupidest part of it was?
Of what?
When he died.
Stupider than being dead?
Well. No. Not stupider than that.
What then?
It was what he said.
What did he say?
He turned back and just at the moment of it he goes see you in another life…
See you in another life… brother.
Wait to who to Nick?
No it’s from that show. It was a whole thing.
What oh oh right.
You remember...
Yeah I remember.
That is stupid.
I know.
Why would he say that kind of thing?
I don't know just to be a pain in the asshole I guess.
At a time like that.
All of our assholes.
But who was he saying it to?
Well that’s the question isn’t it.

God the cis straight beers are ice cold. Who would it hurt to drink five of them right now?

You’re invisible after all. Not old enough that family thinks they better ask you questions about yourself for the first time before it’s too late and not young enough that everything you do is being documented at all times. So that none of it might ever be forgotten.