Misbehavior by Christopher Juan Luis-Jorge

I: Pump

I sit in the patient’s chair and Carminda asks me to roll up my sleeve.

I roll up my sleeve and Carminda says Wow, you’ve got great veins.

I think:

          Thank you for noticing. Much of my current identity is wrapped up in my
          vein’s plumpness. I don’t have a whole lot going on for me right now and
          I'm taking every victory I can, no matter how small. I’m not happy. Do you like
          pho? I don’t think I’ve been happy for a very long time. But I’ve been reading a
          self-help book, The Power of Now, and it’s encouraged me to stop catastrophizing 
          and to focus on being more present. At present, Carminda, I’m very attracted 
          to you. To hedge the bets in my favor—in favor of you being attracted to 
          me—I actually did a whole bunch of chin-ups before I left home; now my 
          biceps and forearms are flowing with blood, lactic acid, and definition; adding 
          an easy quarter of an inch (maybe even more) to their circumference; pushing 
          my dormant veins against the surface of my skin. Look at them, aren’t they fat? 
          Ripe? They don’t usually look like that, but the pump and the tourniquet are 
          really coming together right now to make my veins look extra juicy. This is all 
          for you, baby. I’m a provider. You see, I value you. And I value your time. This 
          pump I’ve got going on has made my veins nice and visible so there’s no need 
          to waste precious minutes on the hunt. How about you and I use that extra 
          time to get to know each other a little better. I’ve been coming here for the last 
          few months, but I still feel like we’re total strangers. All I know about you is 1) 
          you’re always very kind to me 2) you’ve got the booty that launched a
          thousand ships. What time do you get off today? There’s a new pho place I’m dying to try. 
          Rave reviews. It’d be a real pleasure to take you with me.

I say thank you and I’ve been practicing.

I sit in silence and contemplate whether that even made sense.


II: Greek Food

         So, it’s my second day in the city, right, and last night I had Tex-Mex for dinner, which was just okay, but I’m new in town and getting a little desperate for a new favorite restaurant. Across the street from the subway station on the way to work, there’s a Greek restaurant with this big bright friendly neon sign in the window. It’s called Mykonos, but the spelling’s all fucked up, they replaced the O’s with Greek O’s with the slash through it, just in case the name “Mykonos” was too subtle. But that was just the kind of sketchy, hole in the wall, mom-and-pop food I wanted in my life, so I thought I’d drop in after work. I did, and I placed my order with this nice old Greek lady who worked the register. I think she was Greek. She had an accent. Anyways, so I get the chicken kabob and it was nine bucks, but it came with rice and some sauce, so I figured what the hell. It comes out and the chicken is really tender and moist but a little pink and I think it might give me Ebola or E. Coli or whatever undercooked chicken gives you, but it’s really tasty and the rice is pretty good. The little Greek lady even threw in a Greek salad, which was a nice touch even if it had a little too much tomato and not enough feta. So on my walk home, I pull up Yelp on my phone and I’m gonna give it a review, which is kind of tricky ‘cause the food was 4 stars out of 5 tasty, the service was 5 out of 5 good, but the undercooked kebab was, like 3 out of 5— 2 out of 5 if I get E. Coli—so I just think eh fuck it and rounded up to 4 stars. Well, the next day I’m pretty busy, so I don’t really have time to cook dinner and I drop by again, right, but this time I get a steak gyro, ‘cause you can eat rare steak without getting sick. The little Greek lady remembers my name, which is a nice touch—5 out of 5 customer service, like I said. So, she says your gyro will be right out, Hayden or whatever, and I sit down. It comes out pretty quick, but not too quick, you know, like it was just sitting there already made under a lamp. The right amount of quick. And it was really good. Not as good as the kebab, but definitely safer and the presentation was a little cleaner. Anyways, so I’m finishing up my last bites when she and this tiny, tiny, tiny Greek man—way smaller than she is—come up to me while my mouth is still full and she says are you on Yelp, Hayden and I think oh shit. THAT’S how she knows my name. I tell them yeah, and she asks me why I only gave them 4 stars. Why not 5? And this is real awkward, but I tell her straight up that the chicken was undercooked but it’s whatever, it was still tasty and I came back so, obviously I’m not too broken up about it. No big deal. Well her husband—I assume it was her husband—asks why I didn’t say something at the time, that he would have remade it. So, I lie and say I was in a hurry and that I didn’t have time to wait, but I guess I don’t really know why I didn’t just ask for him to remake it. Well, he says I should have told him and I couldn’t really argue with that. Then they just sort of left me to finish my gyro. But that whole thing was really passive aggressive, right? Like, maybe there was a language barrier there, but it was weird. I felt weird. Plus, the restaurant has, like, 4.3 stars on Yelp, so my review was pretty much on par with everyone else’s.  Anyways, so on my way out she smiled and said Bye, bye ‘Aiden’ which was a total power move, because she already said my right name, like, three times at this point, but I smiled and waved at her and her little husband and Googled “Greek restaurants near me” as I walked home.


III: In a Café

I turned around to face the incessant shoulder rapping that had nearly spilt my macchiato when I was greeted by this sweaty little sod. Pink-faced and drippy, he continued his tapping, unaware of his villainy until nearly a full second after my body had completely rotated to face him. As I spied the darkening concentric circles forming under his arms and his remarkable bosom, I began to approach something like pity and it was with such near empathy that I allowed social etiquette to direct my rage.

         “Hello,” I said in place of assault, “may I help you?” I watched a bead of sweat form just above his brow and slowly begin the descent down the topography of his useless pig-face. He, between breathless pants, began to speak.


Christopher Juan Luis-Jorge is an emerging Cuban-American author who specializes in the playful, the irreverent, and the brief. He’s currently based in Philadelphia where he’s pursuing his MFA at Rutgers University. His work has been featured Cypress Dome Literary MagazineThe Project Spotlight One-Act Festival, and The Orlando Fringe Festival.

Twitter: @jeez_luis_jorge

         “Hi,” he said, and his voice was shaky with exhaustion, no doubt from the grueling two-meter hike from his table to mine. It was more comparable to a child’s first violin recital than a human voice. “Are you using this chair?” He pointed his filthy sausage fingers to the seat opposite mine. The movement of his clumsy hands shook loose the droplet, which had only just reached his first chin. Time halted, and I stood trapped, as though a great hand reached up from hell to hold my head in place, forcing me to watch that single wicked drop splash onto the ground beside me. I reclaimed my composure and, with great effort, mustered the estimation of a smile.

“No, I am not,” I said. Arrogance grew in the man’s squashed face and a sense of entitlement began to crown somewhere between his either of drooping breasts. He wanted the chair. My chair. My rightful chair at my rightfully appointed table.

         “May I have it?” said the pig man as he began the motion towards my chair.

I turned my back to him, said “No, you may not,” and returned to my coffee, a god.

The Acentos Review 2019