Ha Ha Ha
Tim Dicks

My girlfriend kept working while I was laid off and then on and on after. I acted brave like I enjoyed walking barefoot around our apartment as the sun rose and filled the place with heat and Marta indulged me. Everything became a joke to her, ha ha ha. Enjoy your hard day of eating Cocoa Puffs, she'd say. Ha ha ha.

Ha ha ha, I'd say, but then after a while the words started to sound funny. I started wondering if I'd really said them or if I'd said something awful. She'd smile and kiss my jaw and go out the door and I'd walk around the kitchen in a square, feeling the tiles move under my toes, then watch her in the parking lot, wondering if I'd just asked her to aim for a garbage truck as she pulled out onto Burroway.

And then it got so that I was sure I was saying those things to her but she was ignoring me, not because she felt hurt but because it didn't matter what I said. I was someone in underwear and a T-shirt that smelled like cheese, eating dry toast while she straightened her hair. I listened close to myself for a few mornings while she went through her routine, making her sandwich and taking her little can of vegetable juice, but I really couldn’t tell. So I decided to test it out.

"What?' she said, when I'd said it.

"You heard me," I said. "Just like you hear me every morning.

"What does that mean?"

"I'd think you'd know by now," I said.

She left. She was red-faced and in a rush, like we hadn't gone through this every morning for the past few months. She was in such a hurry that she forgot her can of juice, and I opened the thing up and slurped while I watched her fumble for her keys out in the parking lot.

Tim Dicks has had stories in recent postings of PANK and Necessary Fiction. He blogs for Uncanny Valley.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201101ha.htm

Detail of illustration on main page courtesy of Kr. B..

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