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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Gulley

STU. As told by an a-hole homophobe.

Updated: Nov 19, 2023


I swear every guy I see with a mustache is a swinger. Or a fan of Freddie Mercury and I’m not talking about the music. I’m talking more about “Don’t stop me now, Freddie…uh…I’m gonna ride you til the day you die” kinda fan. Stu is no exception.

We both come to Cafe at 7:15 every morning. I always sit at the same table like I'm still in high school and the seats are assigned. So does Stu.

He always beats me to the cafe, though. Sits at a two-top, back against the wall, legs sticking in the pathway so I have to step over his wiry legs every goddam morning on the way to my four-top by the window. One chair for my briefcase. One for my feet. One for my ass. The other...well, for whoever is lucky enough to share their morning coffee with me.

This morning Stu waits with his crumpled khaki’s gathered up to his crossed knees exposing an oddly tanned, surpisingly hairy calf. His eyes fix vacantly on a world map hung across the room as he wags his tongue across his ‘stache, probably searching for leftovers from breakfast.

He’s waiting. The iPad that rests in his lap is a decoy. He never looks at it. He’s waiting. For someone to ask, “Hey Stu, watcha reading?”

But nobody ever asks Stu what he’s reading. Except today.

She has red hair, the same red as an old 1970’s Raggedy Ann doll. I only know this because my sister had one. That’s all. A studded black headband slicks it off her face exposing a halo of peppered gray. Her eyebrows crawl across her forehead, desperately trying to escape back to their wild habitat, a tree or sprig of poison ivy. She sit down right in Stu’s lap. I’m not kidding. She reached down, uncrossed his legs and plopped her ass right on him.

Stu smiled. I’ve never seen Stu smile. He has a nice smile.


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