Taco Tuesday #1 (Prologue)

howl

Photo by http://johnturck.tumblr.com/

Taco Tuesday was born in suburban New Jersey, through the union of Steven Tuesday, and his mother, a woman who only went by the singular name of Gee.

Steven Tuesday and Gee would have laughed had anybody called them a couple of hipsters, and proudly reclaimed the title as a smirking point of pride. They’d tell anybody who called them such that the war was over and the hipsters had won, with everybody rushing to be the first to discover or rediscover brunch spots, rarely discussed foreign movies, or next hot neighborhood. But in the moments where they were alone and laughing themselves silly in their Batmobile themed sleigh bed, they would have professed that if they were anything, they would have been ironic.

That they had ever found themselves in a patriarchal cisgendered relationship to begin with, seemed absurd. They met, years before Taco, standing in the line for the bathroom at an art installation of work created by war criminals. Steven’s oldest friend of seven weeks happened to catch them looking at each other, and asked if she was his girlfriend.

“Yeah,” said Gee, putting her hands on her hips and offering the dopiest smile she could manage. “I’m his girlfriend all right.”

Steven whipped his head around and asked the stranger if she had been cheating on him, and the two immediately began reciting the nastiest version of a mid relationship meltdown, shouting over the DJ’s dance track, and making the most emotionally detached people in Astoria noticeably uncomfortable.

And from inside the bubble of space that the others at the exhibition had given to aggressively not look at the fighting couple, did Steven and Gee finally drop the act and share their first wink.

They left together, pretending once again to be a couple, this time having made up much to the relief of the strangers who hadn’t wanted to imagine them fighting all the way home. Gee mentioned how delicious the whole idea of being a couple had been, and the two told their families that they were an item. Steven Tuesday’s parents and brother – the Briarsons, were only relieved that they’d heard from their son for the first time in two years.

They’d quit their artistic aspirations and settled into the great performance art of deconstructing the American suburban family. They moved from Astoria to Jersey. Steven took a delivery job with an international courier. Gee had joined the book club. All the while they laughed at how “typical” they had become, greatly annoying the locals who had politely given them the chance to assimilate without making a production.

“The whole thing is so ironic,” Steven said to his neighbor, while sipping a glass of port in the middle of the afternoon.

“Actually, I think it’s more sarcastic than anything.”

“It’s what?”

“Well, I figure if anybody would, it’d be you two who moved out here as a joke, like a couple of jagoffs.”

His life was a lie. Steven came home and only saw his earnest desire for a simpler life. Somehow against his diligent pursuit away from the basic, he had lied to himself, and placed himself within the conservatively approved confines of pre-matrimony. He came inside and saw that he wasn’t alone. Gee had realized the same thing.

They had a public breakup. Gee threw his things out into the lawn while he pleaded to her above in the window, not fully knowing whether it had been another game, or if he really had let her down by tricking her into this relationship.

Eventually they had both moved on. Steven had started dating again, to little luck. Gee had fallen in love with a background face in one of her paintings. From time to time they would run into each other at speakeasy ice cream socials, and once more at the National Dadaist Museum, which as it turns out was a post office in Schenectady, NY. Each time, Steven Tuesday and Gee would strike up a conversation, which was really just a negotiation where they would ask whether the meeting was ironic. But they had always settled on it being a coincidence.

A clichéd series of meet cutes.

Steven asked Gee if it was possible to partner up, and not fall into the basic rut that all couples seemed to lay in until they broke up or died off. Maybe there was a way to get back to dismantling the norm together.

Gee told him that she couldn’t get over the feeling of mutual ownership implied in a contract of marriage.

A flash of inspiration fell down on Steven who left her side and ran off to page his friend Saul Moseley, an avant garde contract lawyer. With a little bit of work lobbying their state legislature, and maintaining separate bank accounts, Steven Gee was able to rework their marriage as a lease agreement. They would marry and stay married for the next seven years, with an option to renew or walk away.

Their wedding was a simple ceremony, held in the conference room of the local convention center. Men were to wear a tie, and women would be dressed in pantsuits. Steven’s blue striped shirt with a white collar fit him as if he were painted into the costume. They honeymooned in the park, on a bench where for seven days they spent time taking each other’s picture, and sipping on wine, while children played soccer in the outfield connecting fenceless the little league fields.

A year later, their son was born. Though they had been happy, their only real fight had been over what to name him, only conceding that it wouldn’t be normal like James or Scott. Steven was deadest on calling him Monday, but Gee told him about what Monday represented. The grind. Prime time football.

“It shouldn’t be something that dredges up tedium. It should bring us joy.”

“Well then what do you recommend?”

“Taco.”

And thus begins the story of Taco Supreme Tuesday.

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