John Yohe

At the Gate

when the two friends could no longer avoid the angry men with guns + atvs + leafblowers, they made their way to the gates of the walled city just before sundown and knocked on the small steel door to the side of the gates. a small slit opened. two eyes appeared in the slit, flicking under long lashes from one man to the other. —what do you want?! we dont allow straight white men!

—please, said one. we/re not like those others. he gestured behind them. —we/re hungry.

—are you jewish?

the man tilted his head slightly. —what?

—are you jewish? you look jewish.

—well, i mean, yes. secular though.

—thats fine. do you believe in israel?

—i/m sorry? believe?

the person behind the slit sighed. —believe in the right of return?

he shrugged. —i guess? i dont believe in the killing of palestinians tho. or their displacement, of course.

the eyes glared. —wrong answer. we dont take muslim extremists!

—im not muslim! i told, i/m athiest—

—we dont allow muslim extremist sympathizers! you/re either with us or against us!

—but…i just think the palestinians should me treated equally, like humans—

—sorry jew boy. jewish self-haters arent allowed!

—but—

—move along!

the first man stared at the glaring eyes for some seconds, then turned to his friends. —if you can still get in, do it! i/ll meet you somewhere!

—i/m not leaving you!

—no! the orange people are too close! theres no other way. its either/or!

—its never either/or!

—just do it! go!

the first man ran from his friend, away from the walled city towards the hills. his friends stared after him.

—straight white men not allowed! you may as well go after him!

the man turned to the glaring eyes. —but we—i—just want shelter. water. maybe a pizza?

—no straight white men. are you gay? closeted?

—uh….

—do you want to suck dick?

—excuse me?

—do you want to suck dick? fantasize about it?

—well, i mean, in certain fantasies. but i like women!

—too bad. are you bi? that counts.

—i mean, i have fantasies about being forced to wear womens underwear while my girlfriend laughs + has sex with a real man.

—cuckolds dont count. but are you trans?

—um, i dont know? i dont think so?

—are you a little bitch?

—i mean, maybe?

—do you feel like a little bitch in the presence of real men?

—maybe? but that doesnt make me a woman, does it?

—well, it doesnt make you a man.

—i guess thats true.

—we have a womens mountain mike race this weekend. if i let you in, you could sign up.

—oh, that wouldnt me fair. i mean, i/d sign up for the mens race.

—ah ha! i knew it! you are a man! your politics are so transparent!

—thats not politics. thats like, social issues.

—i knew it! cisgender male!

—what do you mean?! politics is about the exploitation of the working class!

—communist! socialist! anarchist! you/re like the dead white men you read!

—look, if you dont let me in, i will be dead! the conservative christians want to kill me because i/m not pro-life!

—if it wasnt for men like you, women wouldnt have to worry about abortions. get the fuck out of here!

—seriously?!

—seriously!

the slit closed. the man stared at it. he turned to the distant roar and dust cloud of atvs and leafblowers coming closer.

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