Jones sucked. I'd never seen him, of course. To be honest I didn't even know if he was a him, a her, an it. In another time they would have called that "gender bias". The same went for me. I simply didn't know.
Can't you just look? you might well ask. But who are you? Why do you care? And where – exactly – would you look?
The voice when it came was disguised, but singular.
I knew when it was Jones. Who else would it be? At that specific hour, I mean. In another time they would have called that "confirmation bias".
The can would rattle.
Ha-la, he would say.
Ha-lee, I'd reply. A certain stiffening of the coccyx, and then the back-shakes, and for those alone, Jones fairly sucked. Had it been the shakes and nothing else I'd have felt comfortable telling myself just that – hey, myself, Jones fairly sucks, does he not.
But there was more. My markers would start dropping – "drooping" to use the old form. I would fairly wilt.
I didn't like the can. I fairly wanted to get off it. The palpitations – ha-la! But I could never rush it. Jones – I felt sure – wasn't meant to know I knew.
Yalum, he'd say to end things.
Right-o, I'd say. Yalee.