By Kiki DeLancy
There was no way. The kid was cute, he said. I kept telling him no. No offense, I said. I didn't want to hurt his feelings. It was his kid.
“Don’t you have some friend?” he asked me.
“I don’t know about that,” I said. “It’d be a weird thing to bring up to a friend.”
“I’m getting desperate. Come on. I am desperate. There must be some ugly girl. Maybe some friend who’s just a little bit, you know, fast. You know what I mean. It’d be an act of charity for somebody.”
“Charity. Funny. Is this supposed to be with you, or him?”
“Ha ha. You must know some girl who’s not getting any. You see what I mean? This’d be a good chance for her. And she’d be doing this kid a big favor. She’d be helping his whole life. I mean, you should see this kid. God, it’d break your heart, Jami. It hurts to be around him. I got to do something.”
The kid was twenty-six, so he had a kind of point. That’s old for a boy, to go and never have done it, ever. It would about kill the average kid, I’d think. I did feel for him, when I thought about it. I felt sorry for him. Lon gave me a picture of him, and I tried showing it around the office. I was actually going to show it around for him, just to see if anybody seemed interested, but they already knew about it. Lon had already asked about everybody there already. I guess I was the last one to even know about it.
That kind of ruffled my feathers, kind of. “Am I the dog of the office or something?” I asked him.
“The dog? You’re the babe,” he said.
“Everybody in here said you already brought this deal up with them. Even the married ones. Even Patty.”
“I wouldn’t have asked you at all,” Lon said, looking up and then looking sideways, so the warm brown of his eyes rolled in a touching way. “But I’m getting desperate.”
“What’s wrong with me, then? I’m not good enough for this kid of yours?”
“No. You’re good enough. Maybe you’re too good.”
He didn’t say anything else to me and left my office, so I asked around for him a little bit after that. It was nice the way he said that, I mean, without looking at me, looking away from me in a modest way. You don’t see modesty very much. You don’t see politeness anyway coming from men to women very much anymore. I asked my sister, who hadn’t had a boyfriend in three years, but she got pissed. I told some of my friends, and they thought it was interesting, and talked it over in a conversational way, like imagine that, what a thing, but you could tell none of them would consider doing it themselves. Not that he wasn’t cute or that they wouldn’t sleep with some guy who didn’t even look that good if the conditions were right, but that in this case, what Lonnie called a charity case, they wouldn’t consider it, especially since everybody else had already said no. So I couldn’t even come out and ask them, face to face, point blank, I mean.
I could only think of one other person to ask, a girl I saw sometimes when I went out on weekends if I was by myself. The kind of person who you run into often enough, in the same boat as yourself, and talk to them, that you get to the point that you could speak of them as your friend, even though you don’t really know them. Her name was Belinda, and she always came and sat next to me if there was room at the bar when she came in. She seemed to like me. I liked her, and we were about halfway friends. So I asked her. I showed her the picture. The kid really was cute enough. He had a sweet face. He looked sad and happy.
“He doesn’t look bad,” she said. “What’s the matter with him?”
“He's kind of slow. That’s all.”
“Yeah. Not real bad. He’s got a kind of job.”
“What kind of job?”
“I’m not sure. Lon told me but I forget. His dad works where I work. I mean this guy Lon that I know is the kid’s dad. I think the kid works at a bakery. I’m not sure what he does but he’s been there a couple of years. He’s not real out of it, or anything. He’s been able to hold down this job, and get paid. He went to school, and all that. He’s not some kind of disgusting weirdo. I mean he acts normal, he doesn’t wear diapers or roll on the floor. Anyway, Lon brings donuts in some of the time, and they’re always from this one place, and I think he said that his son works there.”
“Well, doesn’t he know any little retarded girls, or anything?”
“I guess not,” I said. (I’d asked Lon that. He’d said the kid didn’t like any girls he knew. “They all have big glasses,” he said. “Acne, or some other thing. Most of them aren’t quite up to speed with my boy. He’s not much dumber than the average guy, if you only knew him. The kid’s mental but he’s not stupid.”
So she actually said yes, I mean Belinda did. I told Lon that, and he was real happy. Really happy, really happy. He was excited. “The poor kid,” he kept saying. “Wait til I tell him. This is great.” He left, and came back to my desk a few minutes later.
“What’s this Belinda look like? I called him on the phone, to tell him, and he wants to know what she looks like.”
“She’s nice looking. Real nice looking, a lot better than average. She looks like a girl you’d meet in a bar, but not in a bad way. She’s about thirty or so, maybe late twenties, and with long blond hair, an okay figure. Kind of big-waisted. You know? But not fat, not at all fat. She’s pretty. Her hair’s dyed, though. She’s not real blond. Most men don’t care about that, do they? Sometimes it can look kind of artificial, and spiky, or dried out. So she’s not gorgeous, but she is pretty.”
“Blonde, that’s great. He’ll love that. She’s coming to meet him tonight. I called her a minute ago. She said she’d be over.”
But at seven p.m. she was pulling a barstool up next to me. “What about your hot date?” I asked her.
“I already was there,” Belinda said. She pulled a couple of loose long hairs away from the corner of her mouth, pulling her hand and her wrist way out away from her face to get them into the clear. “It was just a first meeting tonight.”
She didn’t want to talk about it other than that. She wouldn’t say anything else, just looking around at who was down the bar, and looking with half-closed eyes at the bottles in rows. Lon told me later that she was no good. “She turned chicken,” he said. “The poor kid. He loved that hair. He patted her hair, and she didn’t like that. I guess it’s not the typical sexy man thing to do. You know, pat pat. It got on her nerves. I can understand that. I can see her point of view. Poor kid. He patted once too many times.”
“Is she coming back, then?”
He bit his lip, grinned at me, shrugged. I liked him then. He was a good guy, after all. He was always a good guy. His wife had took off years ago. She left him for the neighbor. Lon had raised this kid by himself, for the last ten years. He was just trying to help his kid.
“Why should he have to go all of his life never getting with a girl, ever?” he said. “Just because he’s kind of slow, and can’t go out into bars or pick up girls. Where does such a kid meet women? If somebody could figure this out, they’d make a million bucks.” That’s what he said on the radio. He got onto the morning talk show, quizzed by the two dorks about what kind of “package” the kid had to offer and if it was true that r-tards were compensated by nature in other ways, and everything stupid and low-life they could think of. Lon handled them pretty well. I was brushing my teeth, I remember seeing the toothpaste splashing into the light blue china sink and suddenly hearing his voice, Lon’s old voice, coming in from the radio. I was getting my clothes on, and I heard Lon’s old familiar soft way of talking, warm and funny in the room with me, trying to get that kid of his a date. I would do it, I said. He was desperate. He’d tried a personal ad on the radio station’s web site, and one of their morning show people had seen it and thought it was funny so they had Lon talk to them live about it on the show. A couple of slutty girls called the show, but he picked me. He called them back in the afternoon and told them the spot was taken, when I told him.
“That’s so great,” he was saying. “The kid’s going to be so happy.” He put his arm around me in the car. He was so happy, himself.
“Does he know I’m coming?”
“No, not yet. Not after last time. I didn’t want him to get all worked up again in advance, in case something happened again.”
“Nothing’s going to happen,” I said. “It’s me, this time.I couldn’t let you down. How could I let you down?”
Lon drove the car into his garage, and dropped the big door behind us. “You’re so great,” he said. He lifted his hand from my shoulder, where he still had his arm around me. It hovered for a second over me, just on my right side, then he dropped it onto my shoulder again and gave it a squeeze. “Lucky kid,” he said, “lucky kid.”
Naturally, we kissed. Just a kiss. His face was so close to mine, warm brown skin and all. I’d always liked him, you know. He was a lot older than me and he’d never seemed like the kind who chased younger women, just a decent and quiet and normal guy, so I never said anything to him and let him alone. Otherwise I’d have got to know him sooner. “Well come on,” he said. “The kid’s inside.”
We went through the door that connected the garage to the house. It led into a long narrow hall, and I could see on the other end that the living room opened out from it. We could both see the light from the TV flicking on the chalky wall. We couldn’t see the kid, but we heard him laugh. On the end next to where we were the hall went into a small utility room with a shelf of paint cans and a chest freezer that hummed. I followed Lon in there and he shut the door and blocked it with some of the paint cans, and we got down on the floor and fucked.
By Rick Maloy
Kimball smiled for the departing hostess and settled into a Queen Anne chair. The corner table, as he’d requested. Good start for today’s special lunch, except Vanessa should have been there. He checked the display of his cell phone. No messages. 12:39. A theatrical cough drew his eyes to the waiter standing next to him.
“Please sir, vibrate only,” the man said, holding out a wine list and menu. “And it’s our policy that all cell conversations take place in the lobby or outside. I’m sure you understand. Now, may I start you with something? Some wine, perhaps?”
Nodding, Kimball opened the leather binder and ran his finger down the list. “Twenty-five dollars a glass seems a bit over the top, but I’ll have the Etude. Thank you.”
“Excellent.” Like a fighter plane leaving formation, the waiter peeled toward the bar. Almost immediately, he reappeared with a bottle and empty glass on a silver tray. “Shall I clear away the other setting?” he said while pouring.
“No. I’m waiting for someone. She’s late.” He smiled and strangled the air. “Women.”
Only the waiter’s lips smiled. “No doubt. Enjoy your wine.”
Glass nearly empty, he checked his watch. 12:53. He’d also been late. Nine minutes. Vanessa may have been on time and went looking for him. He signaled the waiter.
“Decided not to wait?” the server said, pen and pad at the ready.
“No. I just wanted to ask if you’d seen a very pretty woman, early thirties, tall-ish, straight brown hair,” he slashed at his collarbone, “about to here. Probably would have had sunglasses on top of her head.”
Even before “sunglasses,” the waiter was shaking his head. “No, sorry.”
He drained the last of his wine and waggled the empty. “Once again.”
Refill in hand at 12:59, he caught himself in a nearby mirrored column. Eyebrows raised, the reflection smiled. A nod accompanied a slight raise of the glass. He patted the ring box bulging in a side pocket of his blazer. To hell with them all, eh, sport?
The image’s smile faded. It pulled its shoulders back. The spine straightened before melting to a slight stoop. Fingers scratched under the chin, pressed upward under the jaw. When the hand was removed, skin drooped, pelican-like. He massaged his forehead, screening away the well-dressed older gentleman. From under that shield of fingers, he spotted Vanessa at the hostess lectern. Each first glimpse since their introduction produced the same delighted amazement.
All eyes followed her low-cut beige sweater and short navy skirt through the restaurant.
Both arms waved over her head. An open-mouthed smile electrified her Hollywood-pretty face. “There’s my honey,” she said from three tables away, “and don’t you look handsome. Blue is so your color.” She scraped her chair next to his and gave him a small kiss and bite on the lip. “Sorry I’m late, angel, but I was having such a good time in the park.”
Even though he’d had some himself, he smelled and tasted wine on her. “You let us both drink alone for half an hour, when we could have been enjoying it together?”
“I wasn’t alone. This is so funny. You’re gonna love it.” She pawed his shoulder with one hand, pulled her hair over an ear with the other. “So, I’m sitting outside at The Boat House, letting the sun cook my face and legs.” She got up and turned her chair away from the view of the other tables. “So, I was like this.” Slouched in the seat, she crossed her ankles and clasped her hands on her stomach. “Like this. You can see what happened.” She nodded to her skirt, which had ridden to the top of her thighs, revealing a creased, powder blue wedge.
He winced; fluttered his fingers for her to sit up.
“Ex-act-ly,” sounded like three words. She stood, smoothed and shimmied her skirt, and turned the chair around. Laughing, she sat and draped an arm over his shoulder. “Well, I could sort of feel the sun on it, but I didn’t realize I was flashing until I heard some guy say, ‘Very nice!’ I had my eyes closed, so I didn’t know he was even there. Park was kinda dead, you know? So, when I opened them, I saw him.” She tilted her head back and fanned her face. “Omigod, gorgeous.” Her head shook, like regaining consciousness. “Anyway, I see him, and he’s giving my thong a thumb’s up.” Her eyes widened. A number of heads turned after she honked out a huge laugh.
His eyes darted to the blank or disapproving faces pointed their way.
“Sorry,” she whispered through her fingers, “but I thought that was funny.”
The waiter approached the table with another menu.
“Don’t need it,” she said, waving him off. “I ate something in the park. But you go ahead, angel,” she said, patting Kimball’s thigh. ”I’ll just have some wine and keep you company. Bring me what he’s having,” she said to the server. “Wait.” She snatched his glass and held up a finger. “Lemme just …” A big sip brought a bigger smile. “Ooo, that’s really good. Bring two. This one’s mine now.”
The waiter bowed and circled toward the bar.
She sipped and chewed the wine; sniffed inside the glass. “Blackberries? A little cinnamon?”
“Very good,” he said, applauding softly.
“I’m breaking your balls,” she said, slapping his arm. “I can’t tell.” She set the glass down and fumbled in her purse. “Better slow down on the grape juice, or this could be a short day. Where the hell did I put that? The guy was a riot, Kimball. When he saw the goods, I guess he thought I was presenting or something. Anyway, he just walked right up to my table and sat down. Well, we got to talking, and he bought me a couple glasses of chardonnay. Total shit compared to this stuff. What is this anyway?”
“Pinot noir.” He pressed back into the chair. “You ate? We’re here for lunch.”
“It was a while ago.” She continued to rummage in her purse. “I’ll have a salad or something. Don’t worry about me. Ah, here it is.”
He ignored the business card she held in front of his nose.
“Captain Andy Ventarella,” she read aloud, “Charter Operator. Said he runs a fishing boat out of Bay Head.” She held the card out again. “C’mon, angel, you’re not playing right. This is where you’re supposed to get jealous.” Her ring finger wiggled at him. “Bet a special trinket here would scare away those nasty men.”
He twisted in the chair, blocking the ring bump from her line of sight. “My daughters tell me I’ve lost my mind. I embarrass them.”
“This again?” she said, rolling her eyes. “Screw ‘em. They’re just afraid you’ll have fun, live a long time, and blow their inheritance.”
“My friends have stopped inviting me.”
“Angel,” she said, rubbing his hand, “you care too much about bullshit. The men are envious, and their old cunt wives are afraid the husbands will want what you’ve got.”
“Or…,” his head rocked side to side, “…maybe there really is ‘a time to every purpose unto heaven’.”
Eyes narrowed, she shrugged and shook her head.
“The Bible. Ecclesiastes. My time for you is past.”
“Fuck the Bible. Are you happy? I know I am.”
He smiled, tugged the captain’s card from her fingers, spun it onto a bread plate. “Commanding one of the larger rowboats on the lake was he?”
“There, that’s better.” She grinned, licked the rim of her wine glass. “God, you’re handsome. Think anyone would notice if I ducked under the table?”
“Let’s stay on point for a second, shall we?” He tipped away from her. “I have to tell you, I don’t like cooling my heels for half an hour while you have bad chardonnay with a stranger. And no call?”
“Oh, don’t be mad. The guy bought me some wine, and we talked about the beautiful day. I lost track of the time is all. What do you think I was doing? Giving him a hummer in the bathroom, for godsake?” She pulled him toward her. “Don’t be like this. You know I love you.” The backs of her fingers trailed across his hair and cheek.
He stared, remained silent.
She massaged his neck. “C’mon, we have the whole day and night ahead of us. Don’t spoil─ Ooo, Kimball, look.”
His eyes followed hers to a woman with shopping bags piled around her ankles.
Blinking accompanied Vanessa’s pout. “She’s been to Henri Bendel. I wanna go, too. After lunch, can’t we do just a little shopping?”
“Nest for hours in one of those pathetic ‘husband’ chairs? I hardly think so.”
“Aw, please? We have all afternoon.” She bounced her eyebrows. “We can go to Victoria’s Secret afterwards. I’ll model a few things for you.”
He wrinkled his nose, shook his head. “Sounds a bit smarmy, even to me” His eyes swept the room. “Another place to be seen as a salivating letch.”
Her fist banged into his arm. “Stop doing that. You’re not old, and there’s nothing wrong with us being a couple.” She straightened in her seat, rocked her hips, glared around the restaurant. “And if anyone doesn’t like it,” she said, her voice rising, “they can go fuck themselves.” She shook his forearm, tipped her face in front of his. “That’s what you should be thinking too. We’re right together. I’ve known it from day one. We love each other, so fuck ‘em all.” She crinkled her nose at him and smooched the air.
“You’re really quite extraordinary, child,” he said, smiling.
“God, I love it when you call me that.” She beamed and hugged her middle. “How? How am I extraordinary?”
“Well…for one thing, you’ve made me reconsider whether Providence truly exists.” His fingers brushed across her cheek. “When Mimi died, I saw myself leading a very different life, one that would become progressively smaller and more insular. Now I see possibilities. I’m happier than I’ve been in ages.”
“Me, too.” She clinked her glass against his and took a healthy sip.
“Salut.” Setting the wine down without drinking, he dropped his gaze into the glass. “Of course, you’re right about it being my life, my choices. But that doesn’t mean I’m unaware of the absurdity of…you know…us. Two souls traveling in non-parallel universes. No plausible tangents or bisects. Yet, here we are.” He tapped a finger to the side of his nose and lowered an eyelid. “And I believe I know why.”
“I can actually feel my brain getting bigger when I listen to you,” she said, inching closer.
“The joy of living comes from surprises. We’re so opposite, everything’s a surprise, at least to me. I have no idea what you’re going to say or do. Ever. And then whatever it is, I find it delightfully exotic. Even the vulgarity is somehow endearing. Earthy and colorful. Untamed.”
“Oh really?” Her eyelids flapped. “You find me vulgar, you douche bag?”
He laughed. “I do. But it’s oddly good-natured. There’s a spontaneity, a playfulness. It’s energizing just to be around you.” He leaned so close their foreheads touched. “And the love making…astonishing.”
“I know.” She purred. “It’s why I like mature men. So patient and attentive. And, omigod, great hands.” Her eyes and mouth flew open. “My ex? One time I caught him watching a baseball game over my shoulder.”
“Mimi…she wouldn’t have dreamed doing the things you do. I doubt she even knew some of them existed.” He chuckled. “Not sure I did.”
“Time to forget Mimi,” she said, her fingers tickling across his back. “You have me now. And don’t worry that I’ll dry up and sprout a mustache. There’s lots of ways to fool the clock these days. I’m gonna stay as young and pretty as your money and medical science can make me. I see us having a terrific twenty years, maybe more.”
“Sssh.” He pressed a finger to her lips. “No math. Remember?”
“Sorry.” She wrapped her fingers around his hand, kissed the tip of his shushing finger, then sucked it into her mouth up to the big knuckle.
He yanked his hand onto his lap and scanned the room. Unable to suppress a laugh, he turned to his giggling companion. “There’s a time and a place, you lunatic.”
“You are such an adorable tight-ass. I just love you.” Her knee jostled the table when she bounced toward him, arms wide. Wine slopped from her wobbling glass as she grabbed it. A ripple splashed onto the table, strafing droplets across her beige top. “Son of a bitch!”
The room quieted. Patrons twisted and glared. Kimball’s small wave and shake of the head halted the waiter’s advance. Elbow on the table, he rubbed his forehead and gazed around the crowd, stopping on Vanessa, who was dabbing a moistened napkin on the maroon flecks.
“I’m going to have to take this off.” She downed the rest of her wine and slid the empty toward him. “Order me another, angel. I’ll be right back.” A bit unsteady, she headed toward the Ladies.
He dabbed his napkin over items sprinkled by the spill, including the business card on the bread plate. That swipe smeared something written on the card in pencil. Reading glasses came out. It was a phone number with “cell” next to it. On the back, a handwritten “Ay Caramba!” was underlined twice. He tapped the card on the table, rubbed his lips, peeked toward the Ladies. After punching the number into his flip-phone, he returned the card to the plate. On his way to the lobby, he spun his finger at the waiter for another round, hit Send, and pressed the phone to his ear.
“Yo,” a deep, New York-y voice said after the third ring.
“I work with Vanessa, the woman you met in Central Park this morning.”
“Wow, indeed. Anyway, as luck would have it, she knows I’ve been considering putting together an employee fishing outing, and she just gave me your card. She was emphatic that I give it back to her, and somehow I smudged the cell number. I was mostly calling to test if I was reading it right.”
“We’re talking aren’t we?. But don’t hang up. So, you’re interested in a charter? That’s great. How big and when?”
“Not sure yet. By the way, I noticed someone wrote ‘Ay Caramba!’ on the back of the card. Is that the name of your boat?”
“Name of the boat,” the captain said, laughing, “that’s great. Nah. It’s from The Simpsons. You know, on TV? It’s what Bart says all the time when he’s blown away by something. Turns out she and me both like the show, and… How well do you know that wild woman?”
“Very. She was sort of a side dish for a while, until the wife got suspicious. We’ve stayed close though, and I can understand any man saying ‘Ay Caramba!’ after meeting her.”
A laugh burst through the phone. “Yeah, well, there’s a little more to it than, ‘Ain’t she pretty.’ After we finished a second glass of wine, she tells me she’s gotta be somewhere, but then she gives me this funny look and says, ‘Bet I can get an ‘Ay Caramba!’ outta you.’ I ask ‘how?’ So, she takes my hand… Forget it. Must still be a little buzzed. But hey, call me soon as you know about the boat. Okay?”
“Wait. Don’t leave me hanging. She and I had almost two years together. Nothing she does could shock me.”
“Nah. The two of you. Same office. I can’t.”
“Captain, I, uh, may be in the market for two charters. Have a little competition between departments. C’mon. What happened?”
“Just between us?”
“This must be good.”
“Gotta promise you won’t say nothin’.”
“Where was I?”
He tipped his head down; covered his eyes. “She took your hand.”
“Right. So she’s got hold of my hand, then she says, ‘Come with me. I want to thank you for the drinks.’ Next thing I know, we’re in a stall in the ladies’ room, and I’m brushing her teeth but good, if you know what I mean. She got her ‘Ay Caramba!’ and then some. But you been there. You know what I’m talking about… Hey, buddy… You still there?”
“Sorry. Look, I have to go. I’ll…” He snapped the phone shut and bent toward the floor. Waiting for his face to uncoil, he ran a licked finger across the tips of his shoes; picked phantom lint off his cuffs. A host of “told you so” faces swarmed in his skull. He took a step toward the revolving door, but pivoted and returned to the dining room.
Vanessa and the new wines were waiting at the table. She patted his chair. “Put it in there, big boy. I missed you.” Arms wide, she pushed her breasts out. “Pretty good, huh? Used the blow dryer on the wall. Got a few looks, but screw ‘em.” She picked up her wine and smiled. “So, where’d you go? Men’s room?”
He eased into the chair. “Couldn’t find a date.”
The glass paused near her lips. Her eyes flicked sideways at him as she carefully set the wine on the table. “That’s certainly an odd thing to say.” She laughed. “Is this your way of telling me you’re gay?” “I was thinking about you while you were gone,” he said. “How magnetic you are. How people are drawn to you. It’s quite remarkable, really.”
She batted her lids and smiled toward the ceiling. “What can I say?”
“Your charter captain, for instance. Seems a decent fellow.”
“Nice enough, I guess.”
“Oh, be generous, Vanessa. He raved about you.”
Her eyes darted from him, to the card, to him. “What are you talking about?”
“You’re not making─”
“Give it up. Your foolish joke about being late matched his version exactly.”
“You called? You’re checking up on me?”
Facing away, she bobbed her head in time with the beat of her tapping toe. “So you know,” she said, turning back to him. “So what? No big deal anymore. Like a…a goodnight kiss in your day. And you don’t own me. You want me all to yourself? Put something here,” she said, tapping her ring finger.
A laugh puffed through his nose.
Bravado drained from her face. “Aw, don’t’ be mad, angel. It didn’t mean anything. Too much to drink on an empty stomach. That’s all… Please…?”
He recoiled from her reaching hands. “You must be quite a favorite, regaling your friends with stories of how you play me. Clueless old jackass, waiting impatiently for his turn while you entertain the park.” He banged a finger on the captain’s card. “But this was reckless. Taunting me, like a murderer sending riddles to the police. Not a particularly bright thing to do to a lawyer, child.”
She snatched a hand with both of hers. “You’re making way too much out of this. I love you. Just you.”
He swiped her hands away, pinched a pair of one hundred dollar bills from his billfold. Laying them on the table, he winced and laughed. “ ’Ate something in the park.’ I just got that. You really were having fun with this.” He tapped the money and pushed away from the table. “That should more than cover everything.”
“One more chance…? Kimball, please. I’m sorry.”
“I wish you a happy life.” He left her staring at the cash, lips pressed tight, nostrils pulsing, sadness pooling in her eyes.
Out in the glowing October afternoon, he ambled up Fifth Avenue and into Central Park, occasionally stroking the felt-covered box, or sneaking a handkerchief to his nose and eyes. Her heartbreak seemed genuine, making his that much more incomprehensible. Unhurried wandering found him at the Boat House, scene of her good manners and mortal sin. He imagined leaning against the outside wall of the Ladies, holding her purse, waiting for gratitude to run its course. A modern man, in sync with trends, not a time traveler abandoned in the future.
Another party at Marissa's luxury apartment. Well, not exactly a party. Five rich girls with him, sitting around, drinking, and talking shit in the living room of a luxury apartment in a 50 story building didn't exactly constitute a party. It was a get-together like many others he had been to at Marissa's.
A Washington Heights Spic in a downtown Manhattan condo. The opportunities a university education could provide.
And the opportunities kept getting better. Tim, Marissa's working-stiff boyfriend, was upstate with some high-school buddies of his, drinking in a new scenery.
Not that it really mattered. Tim didn't give a shit when he flashed his ass to Marissa and her friends at the end of a party or a get-together. He actually encouraged that. He encouraged any activity that would later embarrass the Jackal.
The Jackal? Ten years after college graduation and these people couldn't call him by his god-given, ethnic name. The closest they came to doing that was calling him by his second nickname, Mr. Bathos.
The Jackal, what a character. Ten years after college graduation he would still embarrass himself for laughs. There was some sort of masochistic pleasure he got at the moment of humiliating himself that overcame most of the ridicule he would receive from Tim and his other college buddies. Well, mostly from Tim. And Tim was upstate tonight. So this was not really a get-together like many others he had been to at Marissa's.
The girls kept talking about their time in Asia. That's were Marissa had met this set of friends: Connie was an Irish girl staying in the States for a month to live off a girl who lived off her parents, Jen was an Asian-Canadian MBA student interning over the summer with Marissa's family's foundation, Sandy was an Asian-American who always dressed like a porn star because she was married to a nerd, Meg was a sexy, but vapid junky, and Marissa was chubby and nice and cute and lived off her parents.
They had all met while teaching in Hong-Kong. All except for Meg who was a childhood friend of Marissa. And the Jackal, of course, who was a college friend of Marissa. Marissa believed in worlds colliding. Jackal kept quiet, unless he was spoken to.
"Jackal likes to show his butt," Marissa said to Connie and Sandy.
Jen agreed, "Yeah, I got pictures."
She went into the room she was staying in as the other girls giggled. Jackal felt momentarily embarrassed, but he had drunk enough alcohol to quickly regain a sense of peace and calm.
Jen came back with two photos. She passed them around. One showed the brown ass of a guy who was bent forward. The other one showed Marissa and Jen, smiling at each other while sitting on a sofa like the one Jackal, Meg and Sandy where currently occupying, as a pert butt hovered behind them.
"Nice ass Jackal," Sandy thought it flattering that Jackal had once told Marissa her friend looked like a porn star. Sandy had been sweet to Jackal since then.
"Not bad," said Connie.
Jen just laughed when she saw the pictures. She didn't quite remember that night.
"Jackal, you should show us your butt again.”
"Nope. Been there, done that."
"Come on Jackal, Sandy and Connie haven't seen your ass," Jen insisted.
"Nope. If I show anything tonight, it will be crotch."
"Alright, Jackal. Let’s get some nudie action," Marissa encouraged.
Jackal went to the bathroom. He unzipped his pants, took out his cock and stared in the full-length mirror. The only other place he recalled seeing full-length mirrors in bathrooms was at parties in the fancier dorms of his college. Jackal measured his reflected penis with his eyes as he whizzed. It was looking good. Sometimes it was all shriveled due to shrinkage from briefs and/or too much masturbation. He was wearing boxers tonight and he hadn't jerked-off in four days.
So it can be done, he thought.
He came back out without watching his hands. He had forgotten to flush.
Jackal asked the girls if they wanted any drinks as he walked to the kitchen. They were too busy listening to Jen's story of her previous night at the Lemon.
The Lemon, The Star, The Olive. Those where the places Marissa hung out whenever she didn't want her worlds to collide. Tim and Jackal would always ask after one of those nights how much she had enjoyed The Watermelon or The Canned Tomato.
Jackal came back with a Mike's Hard.
"So I had no idea he was going to be there," Meg finished.
"Yeah, that's awful," said Sandy with indifferent empathy. She smiled at the Jackal as he sat.
"But you guys used to hang out there a lot," Marissa said with a look of concern.
"His new girl is so jappy, she hates me," Meg said languidly, replying to nothing in particular, before taking a puff of her cigarette.
"What about you Jackal, any action on the girl front?," Marissa asked after a while.
"I'm still with that girl," Jackal sighed, thinking of his annoying black girlfriend. Janet wasn't annoying in a black way, she wasn't exactly street, though she celebrated his forced use of slang. Janet wasn't annoying in a white way, though she criticized his neighborhood every time she visited him. Janet was annoying in the way a black girl is annoying when she has a law degree and decides not to practice law so she can become a writer. She was strictly Bohemian and you had better recognize.
Jackal recognized he didn't love Janet, but he needed the sex. When he stayed too long without a girlfriend rumors would fly among his Latino friends.
If his Latino friends could only see him now, drunk and surrounded by five, drunk, rich girls. Hell, if Janet could see him now, he thought. But he decided worlds shouldn't collide.
When Jackal came to, he was down to his last sip of the Hard Lemonade. Jen was talking about a friend from Canada who wanted to be more than friends, but because she had to get things out of her system she fucked him once in a while, though she only wanted to be friends with him.
Jackal put the Mike’s Hard on the coffee table and went to the bathroom.
"He's cute, but he's too nice," Jen was saying "and I just can't. You know. I'm just too..."
"Mmm-hum," agreed Meg as she fixed her miniskirt, then took a puff of her cigarette.
The bathroom door banged open. Jackal ran naked across the living room, his penis flapping in front of the shocked female faces, towards the porch of the 42-stories high apartment.
"Oh my God!" Marissa screamed.
"Aaahh!" Screamed Sandy before cracking up.
Jen and Meg just laughed as Connie stared in disbelief.
Jackal started doing jumping jacks as the cool, summer night air ran through his butt crack.
Marissa got up and slid the glass door close.
Jackal laughed, then tried to get back in. The door wouldn't budge, it was locked from the inside.
"You are staying there, asshole." Marissa pulled the blinds shut.
Jackal kept trying to open the door. He knocked. He could hear the girls talking. He knocked again. He could hear the girls talking louder. He knocked louder. They put music on. He banged the door.
Someone paused the music. "Look Jackal, if you break my door, it's coming out of your ass. OK?"
"Come on Marissa, let me in," Jackal pleaded.
He heard laughter.
Jackal turned away from the apartment. He leaned against the railing of the porch. In front of him the view was magnificent. Marissa's porch was not high up in a Penthouse, looking down upon the scenery; rather, it immersed you within a sea of buildings. The Empire State Building dressed in red, white and blue lights stood before him. He turned left, he could see all the way down to Jersey. He turned right, he could see Brooklyn and its bridge. The night sky was majestic; clear and starry. Everything below looked petty and small. The few people and cars on the cross street looked like ants and bugs. He took a whiz on them.
Jackal crouched into a corner of the porch, knees raised to his chest, arms wrapped around his knees. He sunk his head into his own musty smell and closed his eyes.
He must have passed out, because he was startled when the door slid open and Marissa poke her head out.
"Oh, poor Jackal, sorry we were mean."
"Very funny," Jackal smirked as he quickly went into the apartment.
Sandy greeted Jackal through the door. She rubbed his chest, hugged him and then rubbed his back. She cooed, "Poor baby. Are you cold?"
Jackal shook his head, affirmatively, nuzzling his face deeper into the nape of Sandy's neck.
Sandy's hand slid further down Jackal's back and grabbed his ass.
Marissa agreed with Sandy's statement as she closed the door and patted the Jackal on the behind when she walked by.
"Come sit here," Jen patted the space next to her on the large sofa.
Jackal walked over as Sandy kept hold of his hand and sat next to him.
There was the Jackal, naked between two of the hottest Asian girls he had ever seen. Jen, Connie, and Marissa stared at his growing member. If his Latino friends could only see him now. But worlds shouldn't collide.
"I'm getting warmer. Maybe I should put on my clothes," Jackal said half-heartedly.
"No," Jen commanded, as she grabbed his stiffened member.
Connie, who had been sitting on the floor all the while, got to her knees and, careless of rug burns, knee-walked over to the Jackal. She started kissing his dick as Jen slid it through Connie’s thin Irish lips and into her mouth.
Jackal leaned back.
"Save some for me," said Meg.
"What about me," laughed Marissa. "He's MY friend," she emphasized.
Sandy pushed Connie away in mock anger. While still sitting next to him, she leaned over and put Jackal into her mouth.
"What about me," laughed Jen, "you bitch."
"OK, you guys, let's organize this, before things get seriously out of hand here," said Marissa with a concerned look on her face.
Sandy stopped, her faced hovering over the Jackal’s penis. She looked with interest at Marissa.
"We can play fair. We each suck the Jackal for 60 seconds until he cums. I'll keep time until it's my turn." Marissa said as if explaining a lesson plan to a class. "Whoever makes him cum, wins… or loses," she laughed.
"Or loses," Meg repeated, laughing.
"OK," said Jen. She wrestled the Jackal from Sandy's hand a little too forcefully as she knelt before him. Her full Asian lips and warm saliva quickly soothed things for him.
He spread his arms on the backrest of the sofa, leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
He would only open his eyes and look down when the sixty-second period was up, to see who the new girl was and how she looked like with his big brown dick in her mouth.
Things went on for one full round. Everyone thought Meg would get the dubious award. She was considered the hottest and therefore the most experienced. But four minutes after the game had officially begun, Jackal found himself pulling on Connie’s short hair and pushing her head closer as he made all kinds of weird noises and faces in pleasure. The girls around him also made all kinds of weird noises and faces as Connie made gargling sounds, gagging on the Jackal's semen. For some unknown reason, he kept Connie against him, and for some unknown reason, she made no effort to move. Jackal kept tapping on her head as Connie breathed deeply against his crotch.
Tim kept tapping on the Jackal's head. "Wake up Jackal. Come on, you fucking mutt!"
Jackal was crouched into the same corner of the porch, knees raised to his chest, arms wrapped around his knees. He was startled by the sunlight as he lifted his head. He saw Tim and some other tall, Irish guy smiling, holding bottles of beer in their hands, and looking down at him. As he went to get up, Jackal stepped in his own semen.
He was wearing a camel-colored blazer, not to far different than the color of the fine hairs at the nape of his neck. I was watching idly. Interested, but not too, taking in the details like a camera might, effectively indifferent. But he was there, and I was watching. He was handsome enough when unanimated, and downright sexy when the will behind his eyes asserted itself. It had nothing to do with me – he wasn’t mine, nor was he likely to become mine – so my assessment wasn’t informed by experience. We worked together tangentially, in that I was a secretary in another division and, if the rumors were to be believed, he was on his way to a Vice Presidency of Operations. Like I said, the details of his haircut, the color of his coat, his eyes as grey as a tornado, well, I was a long way outside the bounds of his consideration. This left me free to catalogue all of the above with no investment or attachment to the observed facts and no fear of reciprocal scrutiny.
We were attending the last day of an off-site. I was in my corner, taking notes, when the speaker on the subject of Accessing Your Organization’s Inherent Creativity announced a change of venue. Elsewhere in the conference center, there was an exhibition of modern art. According to the speaker, we were going to go see the world from a new angle.
He – it seems silly not to name him, but identification wouldn’t do either of our careers any good – sighed audibly and brought one hand to rub his neck as if in need of a massage or a drink. His fingers were tipped with broad, squarish nails that dug into the tendons holding his head upright. Nice hands.
I put my pen down as the room mumbled its collective annoyance. He was one of the first to stand, to pull a mask of compliance over his frustration, and take to the exit. I saw him a little later, mixing carefully with a crowd of trim-suited up and coming firm diehards. There was no competing and I had no interest in winning what they were after. Instead, I ducked away from the crowd and into a maze-like hallway. The wall in front of me warned that a deep darkness was ahead and to hold onto the handrail.
The air got progressively cooler with each turn until the rail ended at a soft bench. I seated myself and slid to the opposite wall. In front of me, a slit of light the same color you see staring through your eyelids at the sun. I wasn’t sure of the artists intention or point, but it was cool and there was no one to shutter my face for, so I stayed put and let the light waiver in front of me while my thoughts drifted to nothing at all.
I have no idea how long I sat before I heard another shuffling set of footsteps coming through the maze. Just as I did, the feet stopped at the end of the rail, stumbled at the bench, then the body sat down heavily and slid across the bench. I stiffened but didn’t speak, waiting for the impact. He hit with less force than I expected, but my hand was up to meet his cashmere-clad shoulder.
It could have been anyone, right up until he said “excuse me,” but there was no mistaking his voice. “It’s ok,” I responded and he shifted away from me.
“Do you get it?” He asked. I could feel the air eddy around his invisible gesture at the far wall.
“Not really.” I replied.
“Good. I’d hate to feel left out.” His voice was warmer in the safety of the dark. I was already predisposed to like him, but I liked him a little better for the honesty.
“Are you here for the art show?” He asked.
“Mmmh.” I responded as ambiguously as I could, rationalizing that he deserved a moment free of the firm’s expectations of its leadership.
“You?” I returned.
“Too much business, no pleasure,” he said.
“That’s too bad,” I answered, just a hint of flirtation in my voice. It couldn’t hurt, not there in the darkness. In the light, never, but then and there… “You should do something about that.” I continued.
He held the silence for a long minute. The longer he paused, the more certain I was I had overstepped. I was gathering myself to get up and leave before I embarrassed myself any further. Then he spoke again.
“What do you suggest as a remedy?”
The words themselves were easy enough to back away from. Plausible deniability is second nature at the firm. But the tone said everything. In the remaining silence, our breathing modulated until we were inhaling and exhaling together.
He flinched first. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…” but I interrupted him with a finger pressed to his lips. I held it there as the words stilled on his tongue. Then he pursed his lips together as if to kiss the single finger, reached up and grabbed my wrist, and nudged my closed fingers open to kiss my palm. He didn’t let my wrist go. I stood and stepped in front of him. He dropped my wrist then, and put both hands at my waist and rested his forehead against my stomach. I ran my fingers through his hair.
He groaned softly and pulled me closer to him. His hands shifted from my hips down, and then pushed my skirt upwards, drawing the hem closer to my waist. I slid down, my knees at his hips. The satin of my panties caught on the zipper of his fly
His mouth found my collarbone first, and he kissed his way from one side to the other, then up the tendons in my neck. He nipped the thin skin at my jaw and finally found my mouth. I was ready for him. His hands once again planted on my hips, he pressed me to his body. Like a blind woman, my hands traveled from his shoulders, over his ears, through his hair and back down.
He broke the kiss too soon, lowered his head and sat unmoving. Thinking I’d presumed too much, I shifted my weight to climb off of him, but his hands stopped me with no more than a refusal to allow any distance between us. I closed my eyes against the darkness and listened. I mean really listened. He was forcing his breath into a steady rhythm as if ordering the oxygen in his lungs would also order his thoughts. I shifted my weight forward, adding pressure to the point where my body connected to his caged cock.
Whatever internal debate he’d been having was thus resolved. One hand traveled from my hip upwards, catching my shirt. His rough knuckles drug against my skin and he captured one breast with no room to misinterpret what was coming. His right hand fished in his pocket, found what it was looking for, and extracted it. First, a quick snap, thin and sharp in the air. I held my breath until the cold dull edge of a blade pressed up my thigh and caught the thin elastic of my panties and severed it.
I had thought of myself as being wet already, but the breaking of the elastic broke the floodgates of desire as well. His left hand abandoned its comforting of my breast, accepting the gift of the pocket knife instead. I still hadn’t released my pent-up breath when the other thigh felt the encroaching knife. It gave when the last of the elastic split under the blade. He snapped the pocket knife closed and put it back into his pocket.
With both hands now free, he did not go for the obvious removal of the now-ruined panties. Instead, he reached up and undid the buttons of my blouse. With my shirt split and spread, he began again at my collarbone, this time working his way down. He went left first, his mouth dampening the lace that restrained my nipple, using the rough texture of the fabric and the hot pressure of his tongue to make me squirm and gasp. I couldn’t see him or anything else, but I could envision a photograph of us, his head bent to my breast, my head thrown back to increase the surface area of skin available to his mouth. But then he dove for the other nipple and I forgot about everything, including his potential further embarrassment at a damp spot on his trousers. He lifted my unoccupied breast out of the cup of the bra and began suckling the now-bare flesh in earnest, nuzzling and nipping until my fingers were dug into his shoulders hard enough to wrinkle the fabric of his previously-impeccable blazer. He pulled on my hip to get me to rise, which I did. He then pulled my panties free and pocketed them with one hand while the other unfastened his belt. He unbuttoned his trousers, unzipped his fly and freed his dick from whatever he was wearing under his pants.
“Is this ok?” he asked to the darkness. “I don’t have a condom.”
“Shush.” I replied and leaned for my purse. I fumbled with the interior pocket, a process made more clumsy by his hands, which were wandering in my flooded pussy. They slipped deftly through the folds of my labia, slid into my pussy, then out again to find and tease my clit, then back into my pussy, stretching me and awaking my body’s irrepressible urge to grind.
I tore the condom packet open with my teeth, fumbled again in the dark for his cock, and barely got the condom rolled down his shaft before I dropped onto him, impaling myself with relief.
“Oh shit,” he groaned into my ear.
I laughed the low laugh I’m only capable of when full of cock.
“Wench,” he whispered and thrust upwards. That cured the laugh, but nearly elicited a moan of my own, and one certain to be loud enough to attract the attention of an exhibit guard. Indeed, we both heard footsteps in the maize entrance to the exhibit and stilled. The hushed giggles let us both know it was more likely a young couple than a paunchy guard entering the exhibit. They stumbled in, sat down, and began to talk.
“This is bullshit,” the intruder said. His companion snorted.
“Yeah, but it is a good place to make out,” she said.
The guy answered with a noisy kiss. I leaned down with a kiss of my own. The man inside me kissed back. Deliberately. Quietly.
And just as deliberately, he began to move in me. For every loud, clumsy movement of our unwitting companions, we mirrored with a silent, shadow thrust of our own. The need for silence now imperative, we pushed each other further, teasing as if in slow motion. Breathing, not with tantric intent, but “fuck-we-can’t-make-noise” control.
Now is as good of a time as any to mention that he was both harder and thicker than expected. Not like I’d fantasized about a small, soft fucking. And I had fantasized in typical old Mr. Smith (not his name) and his girl Friday bent over a desk scenarios; but this was better. His hands were everywhere. His mouth too.
Beside us, the make out session progressed while we kept right on fucking in slow motion. I don’t know about him, but I was loving the forced limitations of the situation. It couldn’t have hurt his feelings either, judging by the thrust and throb that was going on between us.
“Damn it, baby,” the guy finally broke a sloppy kiss and spoke. “You are going to give me blue balls if you don’t do something.”
“Not here!” She sounded outraged, perhaps rightly so.
“Just head, baby. That’s all.” He pleaded.
“Not likely. Nothing in head for me,” she answered, clearly annoyed.
“I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
As they talked, my executive was letting his hands wander as I rode him with excruciatingly slow strokes. One hand wandered back to my breasts and rolled a nipple between his thumb and forefinger while his mouth navigated the other. Instead of my restrained slide back down his shaft, I dropped with the pleasure. His other hand cupped my ass and gripped hard enough to bruise as the head of his dick hit the bottom of my pussy. He clenched his teeth around my nipple and I dug my nails into his arms in return. He laughed silently into my flesh.
“I’m not some whore that will just suck you off anywhere,” she said from their corner.
“This is no different than at the movies,” he said, a begging tone to his voice.
“This is art, and that was a special occasion.” I could hear her italics.
“But it is bad art,” he countered.
I was grinding now, more figure eight than up-and-down. My pussy muscles gripped at the shaft of his dick as I grew closer and closer to orgasm.
“I’m going home,” the girl said, and made noises like she was gathering herself. I kept grinding, at least until the man’s fingers slid around to the rim of my ass.
Their exiting footsteps started in earnest, the guy’s pleading “baby” echoing around the corners.
“I’ll cum” I whispered into his ear.
His finger teased again and I pushed him even deeper into my pussy.
“I’m serious,” I protested, even as my ability to moderate my own hips dissipated.
“So am I,” he whispered back.
The darkness was all but absolute, but I swear to God, I saw little white popcorns of light bursting in the darkness.
Incoherent and indifferent to my surroundings, I struggled to get him closer. Closer and deeper.
“I’m…” I stammered. “Oh, God, I’m…”
“Cum for me.” He spoke against my throat. “Cum hard, sweetheart.”
“Please,” I answered. “Please.”
“Just ask.” He said.
The one word was all it took. His hands flew from where they were and landed at my waist. He held me fast, his heels dug into the ground for leverage, his cock thrusting upwards. The orgasm that had been receding in me found new life and rose again like a tidal wave. He ducked his head between my breasts, their bounce caressing his cheeks.
“Yes,” he said, the one word reverberating against my sternum. Another wave of orgasmic contractions hit my pussy walls and I felt the surge of pleasure as his cum erupted against the latex, once, twice, and again.
Eventually, his hands loosened their grip on my hips. I picked up my hair and gathered it into a hand-held pony tail to let some air dry the sweat at the nape of my neck.
“What next?” he asked, his lips still against my breastbone.
“I start by crawling off of you.” I answered.
He laughed. “And?”
“Back to reality.” I said, shrugging.
“That would be best,” he replied. I answered by taking my weight off of him and back onto my own two feet. His hands were slow to release me. I stepped backwards. In the pitch black, I might as well have disappeared.
“Thank you,” he said into the darkness.
I buttoned my blouse as I walked to the exit, the faintest glimmer of light leading the way. I smoothed my skirt as I turned through the maze and refrained from running to the lady’s room as soon as I emerged back into the reasonably lit gallery.
A week later, and the normal working routine had almost erased the reality of the encounter. Even the clot of blood at my neck where he had nuzzled and bit had faded. I was leaving the cafeteria, my mind on other things – things I was getting paid to think about – when I rounded a corner and physically ran into him.
“Excuse me,” he said, his hands on my shoulders to set me to rights.
“Sorry,” I mumbled. It would do neither of us any good for him to recognize me by my voice.
“Are you ok?” He pressed, releasing my shoulders as I stared at his polished shoes.
“Yes Sir,” I said mumbling. I kept my eyes on the ground, certain he would see the recognition in them if he got a chance to look. I stepped aside and started to hurry down the hallway, back to my safe cubicle with its relentless sense of normalcy.
As I turned the corner, I looked back down the hall I’d just walked. He was standing there in the exact spot where I’d left him, watching me walk away, his hand up and mouth half-open, as if poised to call me back.
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Art is the lie that tells the truth.