Friday, May 27, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Telling Dad

There were only my parents left to tell. I rolled up to the house and found Dad on the porch. An extension cord ran through the window to power a fan that blew into his face while he smoked his pipe. Maybe that’s why he was smiling. It was a rare event.

My bowels tightened as I approached, but it was probably better to catch him in a good mood for this.

"Hey Dad," I said. "Can we talk a minute? I have something to tell you."

"Is it that you're going to pay back-rent for the eighteen years I raised you?"

“You don’t have the legal grounds for that, Dad.”

“You going to pay me back for sending you to law school, then?”

I smiled into my sleeve, not wanting to show him too much positive reinforcement. Dad took encouragement like others took alcohol, and he was an abusive drunk.

“You know how I’ve had the same roommate for three years?”

“How is that lease?”

And down we went. Sucked directly into an inferno of topics on his mind. I bided my time, weathering complaints about the Dodgers’ line-up and the Republicans' concessions to Obama. There was a pause around what we were going to do for Memorial Day. Charcoal was a tenuous issue for him.

Charcoal is not how most people come out, but it was a break. I jumped in.

"Dad. I need you to know: I'm gay. Danny isn’t just my roommate. We’ve been together for almost a year."

He studied the handrail of the steps. I put my hand on it, and he studied another part of it. There was this big opening, and honestly I didn’t know how to fill it. Then Dad looked up, lower lip puckered.

"Okay," he said. "I tongued your mother's asshole last night."

My mouth fell open a little.

"You... what?"

"Kind of makes you want to throw up, eh?" His lip wasn't quivering anymore. "But you're not going to stop me. So what are we doing for the grill?"

And that was it. He even helped me break it to Mom, which was nice because it was another week before I could look her in the eye.

I swear he's a good man.


  1. At first I thought I could predictably see where this was going but the twist made me physically 'LOL'. You caught me off guard good and proper, nice work!

  2. Hilarious and heartwarming, John... That one zinger was awesome.

  3. Whoa, that was a surprise ending! See we think we know someone and really we no nothing about them or how they will respond. I now have a big smile on my face. I think it's kinda nice his Dad helped him break it to his mum.

    Nice story, great twist!

  4. I liked that. It's amazing how he was so convinced he'd know which way it would go and then he's thrown off guard. Have to wonder if his dad always knew...

  5. If a line of dialogue ever was a kick in the nuts consider me doubled-up beneath my desk with teary eyes.

  6. John this is brilliant, I absolutely love the ending. I think I like his Dad's wicked sense of humour too.

  7. Shockingly funny! To be honest, I was pretty sure I knew what the son had to say but no clue how dad would react. He turned out to have a very strange sense of humor.

  8. Dominic, if I got you to laugh then I won. It's definitely one of the riskier payoffs I've gone for lately. Thanks for reading!

    Anthony and Jason, the line is definitely the pivot, the climax or deflater, depending on your feelings.

    Helen, I think most of the people in our lives who are around that long have a surprise or two for us. At least those really prickly personalities do. If only they were all so congenial surprises?

    Icy, do you think he knew? Maybe at least suspected?

    Steve, his dad has a prickly one, no getting away from it.

    Mr. FAR, I'm curious - when did you know what the son had to say? I didn't intend to keep it a deep secret the way I did Dad's.

  9. Your brilliance shines through.

  10. Reading your work is a masterclass in dialogue and timing.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  11. Man, what a perfect response!

  12. I didn't see that one coming from his father! Hilarious, John, loved it :)

  13. Peggy and Estrella, it's my pleasure to entertain. Thanks for reading.

    Adam, that's one of the nicer things anybody's said about my writing in a while. Thank you, Adam.

    Harry, would you pull this one on your boy?

  14. Great way to handle the news, Dad.

  15. Love that zinger at the end!
    Wish I'd had it that easy!

  16. You're pretty good at this bomb-dropping thing, John. That was so funny, and yeah, a little risky. Worth it!

  17. Whoa. Definitely TMI, Dad. But it was neat that he was kind, in his own fashion. Good work.

  18. That was laugh out loud funny. Good ol' Dad knows how show everything is A-OK, even if it might not look like it.

  19. Tony, I have sound faith you would take the news differently.

    Shelly, you'd like this guy as your dad? He probably would send you Wii games too often.

    Mike, I don't write too many of them, but there are bombs in life that are worth composing fiction about. Better if I can make a few of them funny.

    Janet, I will bet you fifty U.S. dollars this dad does not know what "TMI" is!

    Eric, glad I got you to laugh. Welcome back to #fridayflash, even if it's just for the week!

  20. Ah, (wiping tears from eyes) that was brilliant! - so funny xxx

  21. Lmao!!! Oh my word, that was sooo not right. Lol. Christmas will never be the same at that house.

    Nicely done. :)

  22. Yup, I think he suspected at least. And found quite a way to express exactly how he felt about it--good & bad. Great story, John. :)

  23. Ha ha ha ha. Still smiling. How cheeky of you! And,pace was great, setting enhanced characters, dialogue perfect. Great handling of an emotional subject.
    Deborah B

  24. Wow.
    Had me gripped with "You don’t have the legal grounds for that, Dad." and from there on in I was laughing so hard I couldn't see.
    Great timing and a lovely pay-off.
    Brilliant - as usual!

  25. Sam, thanks for stopping by! Glad I gave you a laugh.

    Kat, you never know what you learn when you share about yourself, that's for sure. So long as Mom doesn't bend over to pick up presents, he'll come through okay on Christmas.

    Jen, did you think Dad disliked his son's sexuality too much? Or was evenhanded?

    Deborah and IBC, I'm glad the humorous rhythm worked for you. I didn't want this to be the normal tense "coming out" story that passes around. Thanks for the glowing praise!

  26. I read this on my iPod and almost dropped it when I got to *that line*

    So funny!

  27. That was fan-fucking-tastic, John. #outface

  28. Blimey :) it has all been said above. Twisted twist ;)

  29. I did not need to read that one line. Yeah, you know the one I'm talking about. But, it fit perfectly, filled the space in the air between them and moved the ordeal forward.

  30. One of the most terrifying things I’ve ever read. I can’t unthink that. I tried.

  31. Rebecca, haha! Now that's something I can be proud over. Good on you for not damaging your gadgets.

    Danni and Clive, thank you for popping in. I'm glad you two got such a kick out of it.

    Lara, yeah, that line will haunt a few of us who have dear mothers. I know I've avoided eye contact today.

    Matt, our parents boinking. Worse than any werewolf or mummy story.

  32. I hope I can terrify my kids like this someday.

  33. i'm speechless..for me that means this was quite the tale or tail aI guess I should say..

  34. OMG you cracked me up with this one, John!

    Thinking about it, the dad took it rather well, comparing with the reaction one could expect. It seems he might be a good man after all.

  35. Tongued your mother's asshole last night?!!!! -> :o Stunned me speechless.

    I can't imagine a father saying that to his son. I had to reread to make sure he actually said that.

    I think he already knew! Poor boy was worried for nothing.

  36. You hit this out of the park...simply out of the park.

    My own mouth fell open - and not just a little either.

    Damn, that was funny. And the line about not being able to look his mother in the eye...inspired.

    Great story, well told.

  37. Max, I have faith in you. Some day you will mortify your offspring.

    Tim and Sonia, yup, it's the most disgusting line on the Bathroom Monologues, perhaps the worst in all my #fridayflashes. I had to one-up The Head Organ's Import eventually.

    Mr. Solender, happy to render you speechless for a few moments. Thanks for dropping by, sir.

    Mari, there have definitely been worse reactions to 'outing' in human history. Dad's not so bad - is he? We could ask Mom.

    Kevin, if I got you better than he got his son, then I definitely feel some accomplishment. Thanks for the exuberant response - you and everyone. Definitely makes the daily posting worthwhile.

  38. A brilliant piece of comedic drama...or was it dramatic comedy.

    I think it was obvious where the boy was going, but the dad's response was priceless, John. And that final bit about him not being able to look his mother in the eye for a week was the icing on the cake. I'd like to see THIS one in the BOFF2!

  39. Excellent and funny. Great work, John!

  40. Okay, here's what Doctor Z thinks. The father suspected the son's tendencies, was slightly disgusted by the thought, and wanted to say something to shock and disgust the son. Then they could be "even" and get on with life. A well told tale, John. You said a lot in a little space.

  41. No John, unfortunately I don't think his dad being disgusted by his sexuality was at all out of proportion or "too much." Sometimes that's just how it is. That's why this is such a great piece: he's honest but still accepts his son. That's refreshing. :)

  42. Alan, the tensions of family can be both comedic drama and dramatic comedy. Either description works, and I'm actually flattered to get both. I already have my one entry into BOFF2 - maybe BOFF3? Even though I can imagine this line getting me disqualified for certain judges.

    Barber, glad you laughed. Thanks for stopping by!

    Madam, a valid and valuable theory. I'm tempted to say you're right and close the matter, though this is one of those stories where I'd like everyone to have an interpretation. Eager to read more theories, if anyone has them to share.

    Jen, I don't find that unfortunate. It's downright fortunate, and like you say, sometimes how it simply is. Thanks!

  43. Just when I think I've gotten used to your writing and that you couldn't possible surprise me any more, you write a hilarious piece like this. I agree it was risk, but it definitely worked. Well done, John.

  44. I have to say, John that was quite a curve. I'm thinking, though that Dad knew all along.

    I enjoy your Bathroom Monologues.....:-)

  45. Chuck, I try not to write too many twist endings - they're arguably the biggest cliche in flash fiction right now. But some are too darned tempting. The response to this one was quite relieving - it's another of those stories I almost didn't post. You'll mock me for this, maybe?

    Cynthia, thanks for reading those Bathroom Monologues! It does seem like the consensus that Dad knew.

  46. See, I get the humour, I do... but what I got more was the dad's one-upmanship. Like the poor kid never gets a word in edgewise (your comment about the drunk - excellent). So in terms of the kid's sexual preference shocking the dad, of course he had to one-up the kid. In other words, you think you're gonna get me? Well, you should see what mama and I do in the bedroom...Like everyone else I was just gut-punched by the ending. Wowsers! AMazing! But I'm curious... did you read this one out loud to your mom? (heh)

  47. Oh, just f*ing brilliant! "Dad took encouragement like others took alcohol, and he was an abusive drunk." is one of the best lines that has ever been written. Period.
    And the ending- that shocking, off-putting yet totally appropriate to communicate his feelings about it was just f*ing brilliant! Love it.

  48. Where would we be without our parents...? An absolutely brilliant story.

  49. I realize I'm jumping on a fairly filled bandwagon, but let me echo those who preceded me: Hilarious! Probably not suitable for the next church newsletter; but still, really, really funny.

  50. Cathy, there was no oral report to my mom, nor does this bear any resemblance to events in my life. Thank goodness.

    Bev, you were the first to comment on that line, weren't you? I'll admit to taking some evil pride in it. I've been that way at least a few times.

    Anneke, where would we be without our parents? Not many places, I think.

    Garner, my first visitor from Absolute Write! Welcome, and welcome to the pile. Thanks so much for the praise, I'm glad it got you to laugh.


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