One to Ten

︎︎︎ Ben Gail

︎ Feb 29, 2024

Kind stranger, outside the AMC theater.
Would you do me a favor?
Would you rate me on a scale from 1 to 10?

My jacket’s from Topshop.
A friend told me he liked it, long ago,
And I don’t get compliments on my clothes very often.

My shoes are from Allbirds.
I once heard Allbirds are for assholes.
But I didn't know that when I bought them.

My nose is from my grandfather.
He was a surgeon, famous in his town,
But I only knew him when he was quite old and feeble.
His belly lurched over his beltline,
Just as mine has become inclined to do.
He would lead the family in prayer,
And my mother says he was the
Kindest man she’s ever known.

My eyes are from my grandmother.
She had a hard time loving herself.
She called herself pathetic when her blood sugar
Rotted her foot off her leg.
I didn’t think she was pathetic.
My waist size is 36,
But it used to be 32.

My mother gave me my hair,
My ears, and my smile.
I know my ears stick out,
Like Alfred E Neuman.
She was her high school valedictorian,
And went to medical school at a time
When not many women did.

My father is tall, and he’s worn a thick brown beard
For as long as I’ve been alive.
I look good with a beard. It grows out well.
He taught me that loose fabrics make you look gay,
And he taught me about the scale
From 1 to 10.

Ben Gail is a writer for video games currently at Robot Gentleman. His work has been published by the L.A. Times and Sci-Fi Shorts. He lives in Venice, California.