She keeps telling me she has a boyfriend, as if by that saying that it nullifies everything she has been doing to my friends and me all night. If I was a good person I would’ve scolded her, told her she shouldn’t be doing this, and take her home so she can get some rest. If I was a good person, I would’ve done that, but I‘m not, and as I spent myself inside her eager mouth her boyfriend was the last thing on my mind. I feel her swallow and I slowly sit back, watching Evan finish fucking her, slightly jealous. I play with her nipples, stiff on her bouncing tits, but she doesn’t seem to notice. This makes me suddenly angry. I pinch, to the threshold of pain, heightened by the twenty-five-year-old distraction pumping in and out of her. My hand moves up to her throat and wraps tightly around it. For a moment her eyes turn to me, her face in a kind of grimace. I smile, wanting to tell her, “I don’t want you to cum. I don’t want you to derive any pleasure from this.” I release her neck, caress her sweaty cheek and forehead, and allow my hand one more pass over her body before I get up and start to put my clothes on. I do it quickly; I don’t want to see my friend cum, either.
Outside, Joey’s already smoking, staring out into the night. I go out and join him, asking what he was looking at as I carefully pry the cigarette from his hand. He says he isn’t looking at anything, that he’s just got a lot on his mind. He always gets like this after one of our group jobs. Come to think of it…
“Do you ever have sex outside of us?”
“I mean, this. These.” I somehow can’t say it, and can only allude to what just happened.
“No, I know what you mean, but why do you ask?”
He brings his hand up, silently asking for his cigarette back, but I ignore him and take another drag.
“I’m just wondering if you ever have sex where it’s just you and one other…person,” I say, using my words carefully. I have a feeling he’s homosexual; I always see him checking out Evan or myself. I wouldn’t mind trying it out some time, but not Joey, or Evan, for that matter. Maybe somebody who looked just like Joey, without those ears. They stick out too much.
“Of course, why?” He gives me a fake smirk, obviously irritated, and reaches again for his cigarette, which I again put in my mouth. I can’t tell if his humor is deadened by his lack of nicotine or his shame.
“You shouldn’t feel ashamed if-” you’re gay “-you don’t.”
He gives up trying to get his cigarette back and lights up a new one. “What makes you think I can’t? I can get girls to do us easily enough when we go out.”
I want to tell him that it’s not him they want to fuck, but Even, and that once every two or three months is not “every time we go out,” but I just toss his, my, cigarette on the ground and stamp it out. There’s a sound coming from inside the house, but I’m already headed to my car so I can get out of there, so I never figure out what actually made it.
Driving, I think about that girl. Did she say she had a boyfriend as a pitiful defense against us? Her nature? Whatever, it doesn’t matter.
Home again. This place makes me feel like what just happened was a dream. I’m actually happy. Half a bottle of whiskey later, I begin to feel normal again.
I wake up with a start the next morning to the sound of the phone ringing by my head. It takes me a moment to realize I’d slept on the couch again. Reaching above my head to grab the house phone I see that I had neglected to take my watch off and that it had rotated during the night. The face is now on my wrist, slightly off-center. It’s a little after eleven o’clock. Shit.
“Hello,” I answer, knowing my angry girlfriend, Josie, is on the other end, angry because I was supposed to meet her for lunch at eleven. As soon as her familiar pitch kicks in, I let my mind go blank. I try to remember if there was any weed left. Once I remember I don’t, I feel like telling her about last night, but she doesn’t give me a chance to speak. She tells me she’s sick of me, and never wants to see me again. Before I can hang up the phone, she does the same, and I hear the dial tone for a moment before the phone hits the receiver. It doesn’t quite stay hooked, and clatters to the glass end table it’s sitting on. The sound pushes me over the edge, but by the time I sit up to throw the whole thing against the wall my anger is gone, and all that’s left is a desire to eat some shitty Chinese food.
I’m sitting in my car looking over the weed a guy I know at Lou’s Chinese packed in my carry-out bag along with a container of General Tso’s chicken. I immediately see that it wasn’t worth what I paid for it, but there’s enough to last me the next few days until my regular guy can get back to me. He said he was out this week, which may be a lie, but I don’t know him well enough to try and push the issue. Maybe if I did, though, he wouldn’t have held out on me in the first place, but every time I meet with him his body odor cuts through the smell of even the best grass. Plus, he listens to really shitty music.
The full repercussions of Josie breaking up with me hit as I sit at home alone with an empty container of Chinese food and my second bowl of weed sitting in front of me. I don’t know if I can be truly happy outside the context of a relationship. Half of the fun I got out of my nights with Joey and Evan came from my having a girlfriend to run around on. Could they be fun in and of themselves? Maybe. Probably. I don’t know. That’s what scares me. Can I continue, if it’s strictly hollow pleasure-seeking? Do I need to change my habits, try and make a “better” life for myself? These are questions I know the answers to, but don’t want to face right now. I load up another bowl to smoke by myself. I don’t know what else to do right now. I don’t know how to change. I keep falling back on my old routines, what I’m used to, what I’m familiar with, but she was a part of that routine. Without her, I feel lost, empty. The desire to go back out to the bars is increasing, almost manic, and it’s only two in the afternoon. Only regulars and drunks are out at this time of day, and I know I don’t want that. What do I want? What do I really want? Honestly–
–want to be close to somebody right now. Not emotionally close, or any of that shit, just physically close. I want to feel their warmth. I want to be able to reach out and feel their skin and not have them shy away in revulsion. I want to hear them breath, put my head on their chest and listen to their heart beat. I should give Joey a call.
“Hey. I, uh, was just wondering what you were up to…this afternoon. Tonight. Get back to me once you get a chance. This is Chris. Um, bye.”
That was disappointing. I text him on my cell just so he doesn’t feel like he has to call me on my house phone, but after an hour of smoking and drinking and waiting to hear back I give up and take a drive down to the mall. I feel lost. Why did I come here? I wander back to the movie theater, but the only good movie that’s playing is one that I’ve already seen. Before I realize what I’m doing I’ve already bought a ticket, and I’m walking towards the concession stand to buy a soda because my mouth is dry from smoking too much.
I find a place to sit where I can be by myself, which isn’t hard considering this movie’s been out for a few weeks now. I end up watching my phone more than I’m watching the movie. I light up a cigarette, not caring. Before I’m halfway done with it, I see somebody get up and head for the exit. The paranoia from all the shitty weed I’ve smoked kicks in, and I feel like they’re going to the management to complain, rather than going to the bathroom or the concessions, which they might very well be doing, but I quickly stub my cig out on the floor and head out. I duck into another theater where a different movie is playing. I stay. It ended up not being as bad as I had expected, for as much as I saw of it.
I leave the theater and start to drive out of the mall parking lot. After some time I get on the road, and my phone starts buzzing. I get it out of my pants pocket only to drop it on the floorboard in front of the passenger’s seat. Reaching down to pick it up, my car stops. My head hits hard against the dials of my car’s radio. My sight goes blank for a second. I look through my windshield to see a blue SUV sitting far too close to me, and a red light suspended right above it. I put my car into park and get out, not really thinking about what I’m doing. The adrenaline pumping through me makes my arms and legs feel partially numb, and I have to force myself to keep steady. Maybe that weed was better than I thought.
I really can’t think straight right now. A woman in her 40’s comes out of the SUV. All I can really tell about her is that she keeps herself in shape, but is far too tan for my taste. She’s speaking, yelling, actually, but none of it’s getting through. I tell my hand to reach back and get my wallet. The best it can do is land on my hip and slowly crawl to my back pocket. I finally have me wallet open in front of me after what seems like an eternity. Staring down at it, I can’t seem to find my insurance card. Turning my head back up to the angry woman, thinking I’ll just hand over my entire wallet and let her find it, I see that she’s now pointing at a spot which I think is behind me and to my left. I turn to look at what she’s pointing at but there’s nobody, nothing. She keeps pointing, this time adding a motion, her hand sliding down her face. I still can’t hear what she’s saying. I look again, still nothing.
Maybe she wasn’t pointing past me, but at me, at the side of my face. I force my hand to mimic the motion she made. It feels wet. I bring my hand back in front of me and see more blood than I’m used to seeing. My shoulder suddenly feels very wet and I panic for a moment before my head goes light. I’m dizzy. My legs tingle, then go numb entirely. I can’t tell if it’s the loss of blood, the knock I took to my head, or all the weed I smoked, but I’m falling. I hear the light slap of my wallet hitting the asphalt right before I fall to my knees. Feeling returns to my legs, and that feeling is pain. Somehow that triggered my brain into remembering what pain was, because now the entire side of my face explodes. All I can do is lie down as my eyes well up. I want to just die. I want to…
My mother is telling me that her and my father are moving to Arizona. She’s telling me they’re taking my younger sister and leaving me the house. I’m watching something on TV. I’m angry with her, I can’t remember why, and I turn up the volume. I don’t even look at her once while she’s speaking, but I can tell from the sound of her voice that she’s upset. Her disappointment pierces right through the sales pitch of somebody I don’t know trying to sell me and the rest of America something we don’t need. I ignore her until she leaves.
I’m waking up to a grid of tiles and lights and a throbbing pain in my head. I start to look around, and I see both Josie and Joey sitting next to the bed I’m lying in. It takes me a moment to realize I’m in a hospital and not a hotel room; the curtain rail tracing its way around my bed and rails on the bed itself gives it away. They don’t seem too thrilled to see me wake up, but they’re familiar faces, so that doesn’t bother me too much. What does bother me is that his hand is on her shoulder, with the other one on his lap. I see that both of her arms are angled toward him, and I can only assume she is holding his hand, but the bed’s blocking me from seeing it and knowing for sure. I put my head back on the pillow and close my eyes, clenching my teeth, rage blending with pain. I don’t want them together. I don’t want that at all.
“They called me and told me what happened,” she’s saying.
“Yeah,” Joey confirms.
“Were you doing anything important?” I ask, trying to bait them.
“Not really,” she says, a vague response if I’ve ever heard one.
“They said you weren’t hurt too badly. I don’t know if they’ll let you leave tonight, still.” She gets up. “I’ll go tell somebody you’ve woken up. Come on, Joey.”
He follows her out without saying another word, like an obedient dog. Why did they have to call her? A nurse comes in and does a basic checkup. The light she points in my eyes hurts like hell from my headache. I’m not really paying attention to what she’s saying. All I can think about is Josie and Joey fucking. Josie and Joey. The similarity in their names makes me laugh. The nurse gives me a strange look, a nervous smile, then leaves. I want them to stay together. I want them to get married. I want them to get monogrammed towels. The doctor comes in with my x-rays and I can’t stop laughing about monogrammed towels.