All Stories, General Fiction

Always Worth That  by Adam Kluger 

Unknown assailant shoots owner inside Bronx Bodega 

Girl killed by alligator in Florida 

Gaga reigns supreme on Golden Globes Red Carpet 

Man releases giant rat inside a NJ McDonald’s 

Winter storm warning for most of Northeast. 2 feet of snow predicted for NYC. 

Someone on Tinderhooks likes you! 

Bronson Magoolie tapped the dating app on his iPhone to see what new swiper liked his dating profile. These dating alerts were almost always a big letdown. 

Swipers be crazy 

They smile but the dream they sought has gone away. 

They hide parts of their faces behind strange animations and they hug dogs and cross out children and ex’s in their photos. 

Swipers be strange. 

Bronson Magoolie was pretty sure now, that after swiping left through a parade of unattractive, masculine -looking women over the age of 50 (but all claiming to be 46), that he was going to die. 

Not just Bronson. 

All of these women and all of the people who were currently living on the planet. 

It wasn’t because he felt that the apocalypse was right around the corner or that WWIII was inevitable, It was just a realization that death was a natural part of life. 

That for Bronson, and all the swipers looking for love or sex or a second chapter or chance at happiness, the clock was ticking. 

Even the 20-something girls who looked too good to be real. 

All of them. All of us. It was the natural order. 

Magoolie wasn’t usually a fatalist. 

Perhaps, it was the sadness he recognized in the eyes of the older swipers who wore their faces like kabuki masks. They were laughing and pursing their lips and posing and wearing too-tight jeans with blown out hair. 

It was sad the way they listed their non-negotiable terms littered with abbreviations and emojis as time was moving along and had robbed them all of their youth. 

Their beauty. 

They had masculine faces now and hair of straw and they held up glasses of wine and stood in front of famous places. 

Even the Trans-girls…men who were altered to look like women were unarguably more attractive than many of the oldsters shopping their tired, dried out wares on-line. 

Magoolie was alone now and he was glad for it. He was all alone save for a few friends and restaurants he would haunt and nurse a cup of coffee. 

Magoolie would swipe and more times than not he would feel sad for the faces he pushed to the left and even sadder for the ones he swiped to the right. 

Those were the ones who were younger and prettier and somehow they were relying on a dating site to help them find a man to give them a child or help pay bills or something. 

Magoolie knew he could never provide these swipers with what they wanted which was everything. The entire bill of goods they had been sold on what marriage is or what men are. 

Magoolie was a man and it nearly killed him. He evolved and suffered and persevered and now he was alone again and that was ok. 

Swipers be crazy Magoolie thought as he went back and forth from Tinderhooks to Bumblebee to unhinged to okiedokie. Each site offered the chance to bet on a dream or fantasy. 

Some of the women wanted tall men. Some wanted LTRs. That meant long term relationships. Some of the women were from China or Russia. They filled out forms and provided information and they offered snapshots where they were with good friends or laughing or acting silly. But what was being requested was a sobering proposition. 

They wanted a second chance. And there was nothing wrong with that but Magoolie was still putting the broken pieces of himself back together shard by shard and he was still a mess. How could he offer anything to anyone when he was just trying to find normalcy. Solvency. Magoolie was a poor pick to provide second chances or LTRs he was a reclamation project whose photos oozed sadness. 

“Why don’t you have any pictures where you are smiling Magoolie?” 

That was a common question by swipers who should have known better than to try to analyze what was so obvious on the surface. 

He was broken, perhaps irreparably and that was the truth. 

Magoolie felt the Morpheus-like pull of the black dog that he tried to fight daily. Cup after cup of coffee would help as would the pills  he ingested like jujubes. 

Life was moving on and Magoolie was still trying to get back on his feet. The time spent conversing with swipers felt pointless and depressing. But what else was there to do? 

Swipers be crazy thought Magoolie and so am I. 

Then he thought of the kid asleep in the big bed. Dealing with the separation as best she could growing up way too fast and bringing light to a dark space. Filling every room with her voice and smile. Winning every thumb-wrestling match much to Magoolie’s over-exaggerated chagrin. Agreeing with Magoolie on most key points and never failing to share her excitement over a video game or tv show. Asking the meaning of words and for another cup of milk and why not get up and get it for his princess. It was the least he could do. Playing floor-hockey in the hallway. Holding hands crossing the street. Singing songs along the way and making up silly lyrics about the kid’s favorite characters and why not write a note that “Daddy loves you” in a lunch box containing a lunch that Magoolie would focus on like an iron chef. And there was the kid in the big bed tossing and turning – Having a nightmare. 

“You ok?” Magoolie asked from the big black chair across the apartment. 

“Yes,” the kid said with a slight sigh and then she was back to her pillow. She had been unhappy with a mean girl or two at school earlier in the day despite her now straight A average. How did the kid handle the back and forth and erratic schedule. Poor little angel. But that was life. It wasn’t fair. But the kid was doing better and thank G-d for that and yeah Magoolie started praying again like he did as a little kid. It is no piece of cake in this lifetime or any other Magoolie ventured. Buddha had nailed it. Life is suffering. But it is also a gift. The kid was a gift and so were all the other things that would make life bearable and the struggle worth it. 

The kid was worth fighting for. 

The kid was always worth that. 


Adam Kluger

Banner Image:

5 thoughts on “Always Worth That  by Adam Kluger ”

  1. Let’s see if this comes through in words anything like what popped into my head: This is a humane take on a dehumanizing process that is intended to make desirable human contact easier. Phew! Pass me the Tramadol.
    You’re brilliant as ever.


  2. Hi Adam,
    The structure was brilliant. To simply list the first section and then give us more on the second compliments and enhances the whole story.
    Not many writers can completely change form without it being annoying.
    No-one can touch you with these types of stories!
    All the very best my friend.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.