smash it! burn it! (excerpt)

The girl added some extra foam to Salinger’s latte with a blank expression on her face.

“Here you go, Sir.”

“It’s Xir! You assumed my pronoun!”

“Is Sir even a pronoun? I thought it was like a greeting or something. I don’t know, I’m confused now,” said the girl, her face showing something that looked like a combination of amazement and fear. “They haven’t taught me that yet. I’m a gender studies student at State — I’m sure we’ll get to that section, to that
understanding. I want to be inter-sectional! I didn’t know,” said the barista.

The barista, judging by her comments, had no idea that she would be much happier in life, and would have time to learn more important things, if she dropped out of her dead-end Pozz-ed course of study. She had no way of knowing that everything — everything — she was being taught in college was complete bullshit.

“Yes it’s a pronoun! I was a double major in gender studies and gender relations. Maybe you ought to try the relations part, you bitch. You ever think about that? I mean, what the fuck is going on? It’s twenty twenty-nine!” Salinger said, sneering.

“Well, I didn’t know,” said the barista.

“Ask then, ask. I can educate you if you can’t educate yourself,” hissed Salinger.

“Okay, what is your pronoun again?”

“It’s Xir.”

“That’s what I said, though,” the barista replied with a look of confusion.

“No, you said Sir. I said Xir.”

“I’m not hearing you right, I said Sir and then you said Sir. But then you said that I said Sir and you didn’t say Sir.”

“I didn’t say Sir, you said Sir. I said Xir.”

“Are you pranking me?”

“Let me write it down for you.”

“No, that’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”

“No, it’s not okay. And saying ‘don’t worry about it’ is a micro-aggression that feeds right into the patriarchal form of White Supremacy. Go get a piece of paper and I’ll write it down for you.”

“This is so lame,” said the barista, but under her breath, of course — Salinger couldn’t hear her say it. She couldn’t afford to get fired for mis-pronoun-ing someone like Salinger. Even though her job was tedious – it was dog-shit – she needed it to pay her bills. She walked off to get a pen and paper, then walked back and handed it to Salinger Stevens.

Salinger took the pen and paper in a huff and wrote, in all caps, “XIR.”

“Here. Here! Coffee girl… There is it,” Salinger said, handing the paper to the barista, to the girl who made his soy drink.

Her name was Karen, although Salinger didn’t ask her and his demeanor indicated that he didn’t care what her name was. He was focused on his pronoun, or title, or whatever Xir was.

“Okay. Thank you Sir,” said Karen.

“That’s not it.”

“What’s not it?”

“You’re still saying ‘Sir.’ You need more guttural,” said Salinger in an urgent, high-pitched voice.

“What is guttural?”

“You make the sound in the back of your throat. Xir. Xir. Say it!”

“Uhhhh, Ex-zir. Ex-zir!” said Karen, trying to wriggle off of Salinger’s hook.

“You need to work on that. More guttural!”

“Ummm, okay,” said Karen, miserable, but forcing a corporate smile onto her face.

“Thanks. Have a great day!” said Salinger, with a look on his face that clearly indicated that he didn’t give a fuck whether the barista had a great day or not. He said it to make himself feel superior.

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