Mercury-Marvin Sunderland (he/him) is a transgender autistic gay man from Seattle with Borderline Personality Disorder. He currently attends the Evergreen State College and works for Headline Poetry & Press. He’s been published by University of Amsterdam’s Writer’s Block and UC Santa Barbara’s Spectrum. He’s @Romangodmercury on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Photography by Co-founder P. M. Chatelain
Salt Water Gator
Martin pulled a cup of frozen red Gatorade and tequila from the freezer. It had leaked all over his roommates’ food. He brushed off the frozen red droplets and put them in his mouth. He got a sponge and scrubbed anywhere he missed.
I really need to throw out this cup, he noted. This hadn’t been the first time he’d had to do this.
He got a spoon and started scraping at it to put shards in his mouth. It was an abomination of a cocktail, but he liked it anyway. It was, in other words, a frozen Salt Water Gator without the salt. He walked back to his room, and lied down flat on his bed. He stared at the ceiling, attempting to drink lying down. As anyone knows, that never works, but for some reason that never stops anyone from trying it again anyway. It does work better with a spoon, but not by a lot.
He lied there, quietly scraping the frozen concoction out of the cup. He was beginning to disassociate when he heard a notification on his phone.
Your daily top picks are ready! Start swiping!
“I don’t know why I’m still using Tinder,” he muttered. He opened the app anyway and swiped mindlessly. He responded to messages. He could barely remember any of the exchanges, just that it was the same conversations he had on any dating app — getting hit on by chasers, overly sexual stuff said by cis men, and nice conversations with other trans men that never really went anywhere. He put down his phone and finished off the cocktail. He went to the fridge and grabbed another one. The alcohol was just starting to set in and he really loved being drunk.
Valentine’s Day is coming up, he remembered.
Don’t remind me, he rebutted.
It was one of his few nights off from working as a bartender. He knew the bar was going to be busy on Valentine’s Day night. He had a social job that somehow always made him surrounded by loneliness. People loved to talk to him, yes, but he felt like the only reason why people talked to him was because he was there. He’d been trying to get transferred to the gay bar that was closer by his house but so far he hadn’t had a lot of luck. He knew he just had to keep trying but sometimes life just felt so helpless.
He got another notification on his phone.
Jake messaged you!
Without even reading another message, he deleted the Tinder app. Again.
I think I need to let go on the alcohol tonight, he noticed.
He put the cup back in the freezer. This one didn’t have any leaks.
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By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7
32 pages, published 1/15/2022
By In Parentheses in Volume 6
56 pages, published 1/15/2021