This is beginning to feel like the Dawn of the Loser forever…
This is beginning to feel like the Dawn of the Loser forever…
Idolatry – Pt. 3
Bombarded by twin fronts of fertilizer and foliage, I move like the tranquil eye of a storm towards the greenhouse at the rear of the store.
I push a hand truck through aisles of displaced flora until the downy blue clusters of an Adriatic Ageratum beckon a closer look. Satisfied, I place two of the bushes onto the cart and turn to make my way back to the registers.
That’s when I got my first look at him.
Resting on a shelf of gardening implements at eye-level, a leonine chimera, sleek and stoic like the iconic statuary adorning Notre Dame Cathedral, he elicited a silent gasp that I can’t explain as I ran a finger across his stony features. It was as though the proprietors knew that to place him alongside the adorably ugly and squat little trolls out front would debase his aura of mischievous yet debonair calm so they hid him back here among the flowering plants where a more discerning eye would be likely to find him.
My heart quickened as I waited for my receipt. I felt like I was pulling a heist and the cashier’s nonchalant manner was starting to piss me off. When she finally handed me the curled slip of register tape, I immediately scratched out the cost of the statue in a symbolic gesture. If Dolores wants to reimburse me for the plants, that’s cool, but this seductive little fellow is mine all mine.
I loaded up the hatchback for a smooth getaway.
From the curb I can see Dan left a note on the front door. If I don’t read it, I can’t be accused of ignoring whatever entreaties for my attention it may contain, so in one fluid motion I rip it down, crumple it in my fist and chuck it over my shoulder into the hydrangea hedge at the end of the driveway.
I leave the plants in the car and walk inside with the gargoyle, passing through the house to the back door where I perform a cursory scan of the fenced-in landscape. Just there – one eye positioned to gaze peripherally inside through the patio doors, the other trained on the lush green sea of grass beyond the tiny courtyard. I situate its base a half inch into the small dirt patch bordering the concrete, take a step back and smile at the subtly magical transformation my new friend has wrought upon this previously uninspiring chunk of South Jersey real estate. I remember the Ageratum in the car and trudge back out to finish the chore.
My hangover is finally starting to lift so I make myself a guacachito and wolf it down on the sofa, plate balanced precariously across my knees while admiring the exquisite curvature of his arched and winged torso through the door. I try not to overthink the sudden outbreak of goose flesh on my arms, tiny blonde hairs standing at attention as electricity races up my spine and my face goes flush.
The unmistakable physiology of a woman in love.
I wonder if this odd rush of feelings is anticipatory. After all, the only thing that would inspire me to discard of a reliable fuck buddy like Dan with such uncharacteristic insouciance is a waxing desire to fall in love – to jump headlong into all-encompassing crazy brain-scrambling soul-fucking infatuation.
It had been a long time and I’d hardened myself considerably in the interim. I sometimes worry that I’ve become too transparent to bewitch a beautiful unsuspecting boy with my stale array of coarse charms. Before dialing Melinda to confirm that we were still on to meet at the Stone Pony for tonight’s Southside Johnny show, I glanced outside and thought I saw a subtle smile of approval play across his ceramic countenance. It was like he knew – my unspoken desires, my secret vulnerabilities and maybe even my fate.
It all seemed so innocent then. Even so, I blamed it on the residual effects of last night’s pharmacological feast and resolved to kick Molly to the curb along with Dan – cold turkey for two guilty pleasures whose times had long passed.
“It’s not even the actual sex that I miss, it’s the foreplay and cuddling. I need a cuddle buddy.”
“You need to learn how to cuddle yourself first,” my therapist Joan replied to me with a stern, yet loving look.
She gets it, though. It’s been ages since I’ve engaged in anything sexual, unless you count an occasional quick hug, a kiss goodbye or goodnight and a few pathetic attempts at more intricate things.
Asshat was having a difficult time raising the roof. He led me to believe that it was just a combination of him being dead tired after working a whole 6 hours a day, not to mention that I was in pain ALL THE TIME (total turn off to him.)
I’d try to explain that I could handle the extra pain if it meant being intimate with him again. I’d take an extra pain pill or smoke an entire bowl of weed beforehand. I’d do whatever he wanted to make him feel more comfortable touching my fucking fragile body, but he would always find an excuse to get out of it.
It was a major red flag relationship problem that I naively thought was just circumstantial. I held onto the hope that if I kept trying to show him that I was “fine,” things would go back to normal again, maybe back to twice a week if we were lucky.
Little did I know the real reason why he had no interest in touching me anymore. It was because he’d been fucking around behind my back for years, but now he had himself a regular skank-ass hoe to whet his sexual appetite with.
And now he’s gone for good and I’m footloose and fancy free!
My sex drive had gone missing while I was going through a deep depression in 2015 (who wants to get funky when all you can think about is wanting to die?) and ironically, that’s about the time that the fucker started sharing his peen with someone other than myself, exclusively.
While I do agree with my therapist that I need to learn how to cuddle my own damn self, it still doesn’t erase the fact that I’m extremely horny.
I could find someone to have sex with easily enough, but that isn’t how things work for me nowadays. It was easier back in my 20’s to just hook up with a guy, but now that I’m in my 40’s, I require an emotional connection before I could even consider letting a man see me naked.
My lustful and lascivious urges will either have to stay in my head or be written down in a saucy poem, like this one.
Will your touch set me free
From my myriads of insecurity?
The chance of just one night
Whisper my name in the heated hush
Making me shiver, first, then flush
Together, engaged in intense rotation
Making storms of our own formation
Stare into my eyes, as we become one
Our bodies warmed by a tantamount sun
If only for one night
Here’s this week’s dose of Phriday Phun, y’all.
That nondescript gentleman up there is Holly, the onboard computer of the British mining ship Red Dwarf. He has an IQ of 6,000 and an appreciation for the works of Agatha Christie and moons that resemble Felicity Kendal’s bottom.
I’m making him the subject of today’s Funhouse because when the mood strikes, he can choose to appear as an equally deadpan woman without altering his unisex moniker.
Since I just commenced the composition of a saga told from a woman’s point of view, I thought it might behoove me to brush up on Holly’s seamless metamorphosis from male to female (and back again).
Watch as Holly with a pair of X chromosomes and a temporarily enhanced IQ engages in a battle of wits with the ship’s loquaciously monomaniacal toaster:
Idolatry – Pt. 2
I float upward, a rag doll lolling between cross-currents until I break the surface –
— no focus…parched and transparent…traces of MDMA adding a vividness to the hangover, a disembodied demand that I sit up and engage so I rise almost too heavy to levitate to the refrigerator, grab the 2-liter Diet Coke, upturn and drain its contents into a suspended yawn.
A bellicose belch to remind myself I’m alive, my hand squeezes the empty plastic bottle with a satisfying crunch.
I return to my room and see Dan’s already left two texts. He wants to meet at the Sunset Diner for brunch. He actually uses the word brunch. The thought of spending another Saturday morning stuck to the torn vinyl of a wraparound booth listening to Dan’s distracting drone of masculine condescension, a monotonous plane of sound drifting over his Denver omelet — it’s just too much.
Dan is history, he just doesn’t know it yet. We’d never defined our little arrangement but lately I could tell he was trying to fuck my mind just as hard as my snatch. Poor thing. Beneath the dry-rotted planks of the boardwalk last night, I heard him cum and to me it sounded like an exclamation point, the final relished grunt of a months-long animalistic entanglement. I didn’t climax and I knew right there and then that this thing had run its course. Today, he wants to put his brain on display to add an imagined mystique to his overworked cock and I’m expected to gaze at him in rapt attention as if everything coming out of his mouth weren’t so obviously memorized from Wikipedia pages he’d culled earlier in the day. Like most men, he liked his women smart but not too smart. I was kind enough to play just dumb enough for longer than Dan deserved and of course he’s getting ahead of himself now because I’m a fucking star and if you want to be treated to the performance of a lifetime, just slide on up to me and put your hand on my thigh like you own it.
But I can’t deal with Dan right now. Rather than return his messages, I’m just going to let him squirm in uncertainty. If you think I’m a bitch, try this hangover on for size and let me know if you feel like filling in for me at the diner.
He’ll show up here sooner or later, of course, but I’ll be long gone.
On my way out the door last night, Dolores called and asked if I’d be willing to pick up a couple of potted plants for the backyard. I rent her home on a month to month basis and I know that she gives me these little errands to run that always result in me adding another personal touch to the place because she’s hoping I’ll commit to signing a lease. “Oh, Samantha, you just have a better eye for these things,” she always says with a cunning smile.
I hop in the shower and hose off Dan’s intrusive essence along with several thousand grains of sand that circle the drain like the debris-heavy rings of Saturn.
Standing in the foyer, hair damp and brushed straight, cut-off shorts and a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Jersey Shore” in case I get lost and someone needs to return me to the general region of the world from which I’d become separated – an understated vision of detoxifying beauty ready to Feng Shui the fuck out of her backyard. I scoop some change from the foyer table into my pocket and step out into the unforgiving light of the sun.
Since I’ve abdicated the responsibility of perching in close proximity to Dan and his omelet, I opt for the Sunset Farm Market in Wanamassa, a bit out of the way but much better suited to an artfully exploratory eye than the generic vegetative offerings at the Home Depot Garden Center. Whenever Dolores asks me to pick something up for the home, she always knows I’ll end up virtually reinventing the entire aesthetic. And that’s kind of the point. She only lives a few blocks from here and seems perfectly capable of running simple errands despite the fact that her brains are scrambled.
So many scrambled brains and I can’t resist probing every last one I run across. If ‘how did you get this way?’ were the only question that could be asked of anyone, I’d still be perpetually entertained for the rest of my life. As I said, my sanity is lately up for debate, but I know how that happened even if I don’t begin to understand it. It’s almost a blessing, too, because before I started down this rabbit hole, I had a pitiful reserve of horror stories with which to rationalize my erratic behavior. Every woman seems to have some unspeakable moment from her past that’s just too upsetting to describe with anything but a hashtag followed by strength in numbers sloganeering. Not me. Sure, you could say I’ve made myself the target of a good deal of slut-shaming over the years, but can that really be considered traumatic when it’s exactly what I was after? The time-honored battle of the sexes is an endless source of amusement to me. All of this noisy animosity over the insertion of a stick into a hole. I’m not trying to belittle those poor girls who’ve been targets of a full-on invasive blitzkrieg from the lecherous Cock Luftwaffe — that’s some twisted motherfucking shit. It’s just that I have no comparable episodes of rape or victimization to share so I’m rightfully excluded from that particular sisterhood. It’s also why guys find me so unthreatening, as long as I keep the lion’s share of my intellect to myself.
When I pulled into the semi-circular driveway of the farm market, I noticed a new row of slate grey statues arranged in a straight line a few yards from the entrance at the edge of the immaculate close-clipped lawn. I got out of my car and pushed my sunglasses up to the loose bun of hair in the middle of my head so I could get a better look at the figures.
Gargoyles. Grotesquely pedestrian and purposeless at ground level, I turned and walked through the automatic doors in search of potted plants for Dolores.
For Tanya. This is your story. I am merely its vessel.
It all started with a stolen glance.
Jesus, that sounds fucking pathetic. If I’m going to just throw caution to the wind and relate every ridiculous detail of this bizarre turn my life has taken, I better at least back up and make you understand that I was relatively sane not too long ago. I might be a raving lunatic but you would be, too, if you had —
— been taking another Ecstatic wobbly Friday night stroll across the weathered Asbury Park Boardwalk, Dan’s bicep hooked into the crook of my arm for balance, a detailed outline of his hard-on etched into the faded fabric of his slim-fit Levis.
We ducked into the Convention Hall, an imposing eyesore of an edifice that reminds me of the abandoned Ellis Island Great Hall and probably shelters just as many ghosts of the terminally forlorn. Dan tapped two cigarettes out of his pack and handed me one.
“I’m vaping now. Hurry up and smoke that thing so we can get out of here.”
“You’re still scared of this place, Sam?”
“It’s Sammi, for the millionth time, and when I’m at the peak of my roll, I like to be anywhere but a big, musty, depressing fucking building, okay?”
Dan broke into his little weasel chuckle and blew a cloud of smoke into my face. I punched him in the arm and turned to stare at the dark surf breaking on the invisible shoreline. Silhouettes skittered past the clouded glass of the window, vague human forms unconsciously choreographed to the distant calliope music. I shuddered, another micro-orgasm wasted on Dan’s incessant motherfucking smoke breaks. He was leaning against a column staring at the blue smoke curling languidly into the dank atmosphere of our marble mausoleum. Sometimes he irritated the living shit out of me.
“Let’s get the hell out of here.”
“What’s the rush, Sam-mi? Seen a ghost?”
“No, but I see an asshole who’ll never get in my pants again if he doesn’t crush that butt under his shoe in the next 30 seconds.”
Before I knew it, we were under the boardwalk fucking as if our lives depended on it.
Dan and I had spent pretty much every Friday night that summer rolling and drinking and screwing at the boardwalk. It had gotten so routine that I probably wouldn’t have even thought to mention it if this particular night hadn’t preceded the next Saturday morning. That was the morning when I started to question everything I thought I knew.
As I write, I can feel him staring daggers at me — actual soul-piercing daggers. He’s right there outside the sliding glass doors, silent, motionless and inscrutable as you’d expect any ceramic statue to be. Don’t be fooled. He’s pure creeping insidious evil and if I had the will, I’d smash him to jagged shards right there on the patio.
This is a love story. I’m writing it for the benefit of everyone who — like me — hates love stories with a fucking passion. So pour yourself a drink. You’re gonna need it.