"Ha ha," I said, blandly, when I got my next gift open. Though I knew it would appear callous to outright dismiss the sentiment, most of my guests were already sharing a legitimate chuckle at the contents of the oddly shaped package. There was certainly no love lost between my best friends and me. We were all those kind of guys, after all.
"Now, I don't want to walk in next Sunday for the game and have to pry you two love birds out of bed," Johnny joked, taking the gift from my hands and riding it around the room in a victory lap. This would've been strange if the present in question weren't one of those entertaining, yet completely morbid horse heads on a stick that you give to children who like to play cowboys in the backyard.
My birthday theme amongst my friends was now blatantly obvious as I peeked inside the next gift bag, which featured a feed store sized bottle of Mane and Tail shampoo. With a roll of my eyes and a low growl, I scooped up my beer and downed the last of it. What is wrong with the world where a guy can't attend his four year old niece's Pretty, Pretty Unicorn party and don a pink pony party hat that she insisted all of her guests wear without getting mad shit from his friends. I was a good fucking uncle, damn it!
I guarantee if Natalia had looked up at them with her crystal blue eyes and tiny pink cheeks the way she'd looked at me, they would all find themselves in this exact situation. I would do anything for that little girl, even though I knew this would be the aftermath. I couldn't resist a well placed, "please," followed by the cutest pout ever.
I should've known from the far too excited look on her mother's (AKA my older sister's) face that no good would come of my wearing of the head piece. That, coupled with the immediate flash and dash she'd made told me that I was going to apart of Facebook infamy.
"I could kill Rebecca," I grumbled under my breath while the guests at my own birthday gathering were still howling and patting themselves on the back for their hilarious beastiality themed presents. I tried to muster up a little more anger and indignation but couldn't without feeling like a hypocrite. If that picture had happened to any of my friends, I would've done the same.
Schooling my features into my most formidable gaze, I reached beside my chair to grab the instrument I'd placed there before any of my guests arrived. I should've known they'd overlook the most obvious and most hilarious gift you can get a guy who's been Pink Pony Shamed on Facebook.
"Enough!" I shouted, slapping the leather riding crop over the top of the table to get their attention, which was brief. Once they realized what I was holding, the laughter coming from our corner of the bar was deafening. "Silence!" I yelled again, trying hard to keep a straight face. "Now that we all see that I fucking win, I'm outta here, dickbags," I announced, calling our night to a close. "There's a filly at the bar that needs training," I joked, grabbing the tequila shot my roommate had place in front of me and held it out. The men around me mimicked my stance and waited for my parting words. "To women and horse. And to the men who love to ride them both," I said, then slammed my shot back like everyone else, with a laugh. The room still felt electric as I walked out of the bar, and I loved it.
Always leave them wanting more, before the night started to turn in the direction of desperate hook ups and vomiting. Five years earlier, I wouldn't have made the same decision. Hell, I hadn't made the same decision and my life would always be different as a result.
My name is Jayden Linstein, and I'm the reason my twin sister is dead.