Last Tango in Paris, Texas
by M. Christian
Whatever. It was the dive of dives, the black hole of Paris, Texas, frequented, as far as I knew, by alcoholic kangaroo rats and inebriated rattlers or at least the two-legged equivalents.
I do know that once a year, for two or three days, they hung a very tired rainbow flag in the doorway. I liked that a lot. I mean, as far as I know he wasn’t a fag (and don’t tell me a gal ran the place), but for a couple of days a year he looked up from the red dust, the flickering Budweiser sign, and looked us right in the eyes.
It wasn’t really our place. We didn’t have that kind of relationship; we just hadn’t picked up those kinds of things—no song, no holiday, no place. It was just Shelly and me, the thin blond and the big butch. Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m the butch and she’s the blond. We didn’t have a certain place, but we’d been to the El Rio before, and that little queer oasis just seemed to me to be the right kind of place to end it.
It wasn’t like I didn’t care for her. God knows we’d been up and down the ride enough times together. It was just—well, it was just over. I had this girlfriend back in the seventies who used to get real stoned and then real perceptive. One of my favorite sayings of hers is that dykes just have so much juice in them, like gasoline. They run hot and fast and then, well, there’s just nothing left. We just run out of gas. Rattle, rattle, gasp, sputter —nothin’. Who wants to push a relationship along? Not me, that’s for sure.
I think Shelly knew this was it. I’m not great at hiding my feelings; good enough, though, because that one girl back in the seventies didn’t see the breakup coming. Not before she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Ruthie, you always make the wrong decisions.”