KEEP, TRASH, OR GIVE AWAY? • by Alex Moersen

He was cleaning out the bathroom when he saw the vibrator. Its pink-purple color vibrant against the white drawer. He picked it up and sighed while he studied it. He walked into the bedroom, where four piles sat at his feet: one for trash, one for give away, one that would go to his new apartment, one that would go to hers.

“What should we do with this?” he asked. “Keep, trash, or give away?”

She turned and saw what he was holding. She shrugged. “Just throw it away, I guess.”

He held it out. “You don’t want it?”

She shook her head. “Not really.”

“I thought you liked it? I mean, I got it for you.”

She paused and looked at the ceiling, searching for the right words. “I did like it… But I think I only really liked it because you liked it. It felt like it was more about you than about me.”

“Well, that’s kind of hurtful.”

She waved her hand at him and went back to packing the last of her clothes. “Oh, don’t be a baby.”

“It’s a shame to throw it away. It wasn’t exactly cheap.”

“You keep it, then.”

He sighed and looked at the trash and give away piles. “Can we give it away?”

She whirled around and looked at him like he was an idiot. “Ew.”

“Fair enough.” He pressed the button on the side, and it started vibrating. He held it to this throat. “Come on.” His voice came out broken and robotic. “You sure you don’t want it?”

“Stop,” she said, but a small smile formed.

“It has such diverse uses!” He lowered his voice and elongated his vowels. “What if you kidnap someone and need to disguise your voice on the phone?” He poked her in the back.

She turned around, smiling now. “Stop!”

“Leave the money in the trashcan at Parker and 1st. No cops!” He poked her again.

She broke into laughter, and he held the vibrator under her chin. “Stop — Whoa!” She laughed with the vibrations of her voice, and he moved closer so that their bodies were just brushing together.

Their laughter died down as they looked into each other’s eyes. He let his hand fall, the vibrator droning on. He leaned in, hesitated, and leaned in again.

She closed her eyes, sucked in her breath. “Wait.” She placed a hand on his chest. “We can’t.”

There was a sternness in her voice that told him it was truly over. He sniffed and nodded. “Yeah, we shouldn’t.”

She continued packing her clothes, and he stood despondent, his stare moving from the back of her head to their separate keep piles. The vibrator hummed.

“Could you turn that off?” she asked.

He spun it in his hand, but before he could find the button, a red light blinked, and the vibrator’s battery died. He tossed it in the trash pile. “Well,” he whispered, staring into the junk pile like a void, “that’s it.”

Alex Moersen is a graduate of the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop, where he worked as the Associate Fiction Editor of Bayou Magazine. His fiction can be found in Cutbank.

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