Hypocrite

He said it with so much anger. He spit the word out of his mouth like it was poison, like he was trying to poison everyone in the room with his problems.

“What a bitch,” he said.

He was talking about a woman he’d gone on a date with. At the end of the night, she didn’t want to sleep with him. That’s why he was angry.

I was offended. I’m not a woman, but I was offended.

“If she didn’t want to fuck you,” I said, “she didn’t have to fuck you. That doesn’t make her a bitch.”

I was on the side of the angels. Clearly. I was the hero of this story. I was the champion of human rights.

Then I got in my car a few minutes later. I plugged my phone into the auxiliary cord and pressed play.

The next song in my playlist was a song by Future. It’s called “Freak Hoes.” I’m pretty sure I could rap along with every line in the song.

So who’s really the asshole in this story? Who’s the hypocrite?

*

I was leaving a restaurant. Someone had left a beer bottle in the parking lot, behind the tire of my car. I didn’t want to run over it, to break the glass and ruin my tire. I kicked the bottle–gently–out of the way.

It rattled over the concrete, the bottle did. Its momentum carried it over to the car next to mine. It stopped underneath the other car’s tire.

A guy said, “Wow, thanks a lot.”

The guy who drove the car next to mine, he was just coming out of the restaurant too.

While I was driving away, the guy picked up the beer bottle and carried it to a trash can nearby.

Then the guy started his car and drove away, pumping countless cubic pounds of engine exhaust into our increasingly fragile atmosphere.

*

Sometimes, someone I know well does something that surprises me. They do something that I thought was out of character. But maybe it wasn’t. Maybe, I start to think, maybe I never really knew this person as well as I thought.

But it gets worse.

Because sometimes I surprise myself.

I think there’s a locked door in the basement of my mind. It’s locked from the inside. I can’t get in. What’s in there? All the things I’ve repressed. The beliefs and desires that I don’t think about, that maybe I don’t even know about.

Is it just me?

Or is it everybody?

I hate to say it, but I think we might all be hypocrites.

Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

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Hi, I’m Mitchell Nelson.

I wrote The Cannibal’s Daughter and some other books. I blog on this site occasionally, but I spend most of my time writing new fiction. You can read more about me here, if that's what you're into.

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