by | Apr 6, 2021 | CNF, Issue Twenty

The first thing you need to do when you meet a man is





Without a name, he only exists in your story.

It started with Clammy Hands, in his late twenties, too eager to talk to your not quite legal (but almost) neckline as you shelved books at the local library. The clumsy seduction of your alphabetizing skills wasn’t hard to miss—obviously—as you half-hoped your first job would turn into Marian the Librarian After Dark somewhere in the stacks and half-wondered how long til he corned you at your car where you knew the kindly old lady at the circulation wouldn’t be able to help you. Who would she share her apples with on Saturday afternoons after you got strangled by this creep’s clammy hands. Maybe they would have been clammy enough for you to slip away.


you wonder what happened to Clammy Hands.

Then, you remember.

Naturally, he stopped existing when you quit the library. You moved on, and he disappeared, no longer able to quietly stalk teen girls who would think he was creepy in a charming way or at least a way they had to tolerate if they wanted to be noticed at all.

Over the years,
they’ve accumulated.

Diet Coke Guy.

Mediocre sex washed down with the room temperature soda he brings you. Before he was standing there at the gas station picking out this sex soda from the cooler, it’s safe to say he didn’t exist.

No mother. No job. No beginning. No end.
Just a dick.
Just the means to buy you sex soda.
And he only has those things, because he gives them to you.

Leg Humper.

Regrettably, did hump your leg while you focused on the Beyonce playing in the background, deciding how you would craft this story over drinks with people you still allow to keep their names or fifteen years later in a poem.

Over the years,

some protested,
not wanting to be one of your stories.

some protested,
knowing they’d never exist without you.

Each time the answer was so simple:

Be better.

They never understood.

Over the years,

some thought they’d break the system,
exist where you weren’t.
outlast you.

Narcolepsy Guy.

Really tried his best. He warrants two nicknames because how do you let ghosting by banjo tour slide? You can’t. It is too poetic and tragic and pathetic in perfect measure. Though, that doesn’t mean he exists when you aren’t thinking of him. There is no proof of that banjo tour, just the nickname you bestowed.

Fake Brain Tumor Guy.

Really thought he’d try something.
He used to have a name, but he lost that privilege.
Instead of grieving, you took his name.

he only exists





They all do.

Read more CNF | Issue Twenty

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