Chivalry & Candy

by G.T.

Kyle H. (208) – His nickname in the fraternity was “House Nazi” as he was the House Manager, responsible for overseeing that chores and maintenance were completed, and a very strict one at that. My first and fortunately only experience with his discipline occured in the beginning of my first semester. Being a very, very deep sleeper, I wouldn’t wake up to Kyle’s yelling and prodding for Saturday morning clean-ups. Kyle changed his approach and pulled my bed from where it was situated, against the wall, lifted my mattress (with me on it, mind you), and I proceeded to tumble off and SMACK! Up against the wall and, to make matters worse, up against the old-school metal vent that spanned the length of the wall. I woke up.

Kyle’s prized possession was his very old, blue jeep, that he drove to Chicago from his home state of Wyoming. If I remember correctly, it had belonged to his grandfather, and was passed down to him. On any given day, Kyle would be in the campus parking lot, tinkering under the hood of the jeep, fixing and refining with the utmost care every nook and cranny and spark plug. At 6:01pm.

                                                                The dashboard and
                                                                gauges are
                                                                refurbished, like the
                                                                upholstery. New tires
                                                                make it new, but start
                                                                her up and she’ll
                                                                purr like the first
                                                                time you rode her.

And a totally intentional innuendo later, Kyle did not respond. I sent him a follow up text after writing the last poem of yesterday.

8:02pm, Me: “How’s the jeep running? I recall you working on it the day I left.”

That is true. Before I walked away from that house and school, Kyle’s jeep was parked next to my car, and as usual, he was under the chassis. He in fact was the last person that I had said good-bye to. I wasn’t all that close to Kyle, as compared to other brothers, and it struck me as odd that he would be my last farewell. Why? It points to a flaw of mine: how I overly romanticize every mundane detail in my life, that is, if it’s possible to overly romanticize. For Christ’s sake, I can’t even go out for a coffee at four o’clock in the morning, see a drunk vagrant, and find some symbol out of it. Sure, romanticizing proves beneficial to writing, but it makes walking among the living quite difficult. You overthink interactions with people, and to my experience, it’s usually unnecessary to do so in most of those occurences. That must be why I work a night job, and only venture out of my house after hours, and walk among the drunk, the drug dealing, and the dying.

8:08pm, Kyle: “still good. Phone is dead. Text more later. also; i don’t know who this is.”

Kyle M. (630) – A former coworker of mine at that pit of Hell and retail that we all know of as Wal-Mart. Allow me to introduce you to one of several low points of my life, and it stands as one of the lowest.

I worked with Kyle in one of saddest departments to work in: the meat department. We shared the sorrows of discarding expired meat into big yellow tubs, managers who blamed us for the mistakes of others and even (at least for me) turned their back on me when I was blamed for a health code violation by an inspector in a department I didn’t work in. In fact, that manager yelled at me for the mistake, aware that I didn’t work in that department. And to think that employees had to do a cheer/salute to every manager during the daily meetings. Don’t worry, I used to sneak out of the store for a smoke break during the meetings. It’s too big of a store to watch everybody, and that little fact came in handy when you needed to retain your dignity.

I wasn’t sociable or friendly to anybody at that store, except for Kyle, who was the closest to a sane individual there. Aside from me, or so I like to think. A fair, thoughtful guy, as compared to the other associate, Art, who boasted that he had tried every item on the menu at Buffalo Wild Wings, and our supervisor, Tony, a Wal-Mart obsessed rocker who was in two bands: a deathmetal band, and a Christian rock band. You read that right. Kyle loathed Wal-Mart as much as me, but had a short-lived aspiration to be promoted to candy supervisor, but never got the job. A purposeful day for me was being able to make Kyle laugh, especially when he pined over the dairy girl, with whom he fell madly in love. She resisted his advances, possibly because it would’ve conflicted with her side gig: masturbating on a web cam to her middle-aged male fans/myspace subscribers.*

*She had confessed this to me one evening when we were discussing Kyle’s adoration for her. I’ve had the misfortune to being the middle man in many a squabble involving friends and stuck in the middle in peoples’ romantic disputes, but really, this one takes the cake. And she showed me pictures.

I don’t think Kyle’s heart was ever mended after that escapade. I couldn’t tell you, because around this time last year, I walked from that job, and all it’s low prices and stupid managers and spoiled tubes of ground beef. In case your heart was broken, Kyle, let this poem speak to you. At 6:35pm.

                                                                Her words
                                                                like sour milk
                                                                poured upon your
                                                                heart like it were
                                                                chopped liver.
                                                                Candy is what you
                                                                wanted but it
                                                                still would’ve rotted
                                                                your teeth
                                                                eventually.

He never responded.

Kyle W. (630) – Three guys named Kyle today. Three very different Kyles, too. This fellow, Kyle W., or “Puddin” as he was nicknamed in the fraternity, was a pledge brother. He gave up the red cup of beer and replaced it for a M-16. What I mean is that he dropped out and went straight into the army. As far as my sources tell me, or my super secret Facebook profile and friend list, is that he’s currently living in Thailand. I looked him up because I haven’t heard from him for what must be three years now.

Back in the fraternity, Puddin’ and I once had a lengthy discussion about “chivalry”. His high school sweetheart, blonde and athletic and blue-eyed, a.k.a. an Aryan postergirl, had dumped him, and he was heartbroken over this. He believed in being a gentleman, but saw himself courting nothing but wenches, I guess. I didn’t get too medieval with him, and instead just listened to him vent his feelings. Now he’s married and has a baby boy, so I could only assume that his chivalrous ways worked out for him afterall. At 7:57pm.

                                                                 You said that
                                                                 chivalry
                                                                 was dead.
                                                                 Life is dormant
                                                                 unless you are
                                                                 willing to change
                                                                 your mind, or so
                                                                 your wife had told
                                                                 you.

He didn’t respond either.