The Girlfriend Express mystery has Stewart transfixed. He is so fired up about it he literally can’t wait any longer. I talk him out of meeting me at work but he is actually waiting, loitering around in front of my apartment when I get home from work. I’m surprised one of my neighbors hasn’t called the police.
Forget the telephone company job, Investigative Journalism is where Stewart is heading in his life now. Girlfriend Express? It’s my mystery and I have to admit to an intense curiosity as well. On one hand I’m not sure I want to know who accepted my Best Buy card, then in short order turned my life upside down, and introduced me to two beautiful but drastically different girls. On the other, who the hell is this Randall guy? I have to know, seriously, if only to thank him.
Here comes Stewart down the sidewalk. There are a number of things one has to know about Stewart to truly bask in his true “Stewartness”. First off, he dresses like Beavis from “Beavis and Butthead.” He’s wearing a Megadeth T-shirt with a mushroom cloud logo. Underneath the cloud are the words “Kick Ass…. (something)…” the last word is actually tucked into his shorts underneath a fair amount of paunch. The rest hangs loose.
He has the Beavis shorts, the short white socks, and the black tennis shoes. But unlike Beavis, Stewart’s black tennis shoes? He’s one of those people where the toes curl up like elf shoes. I mean, all that’s missing are the little bells on the toes. I used to call him Beavis but each time I did, increasingly he started punched me harder and harder in the stomach until I finally came to the conclusion that it was funny, but not worth getting the wind knocked out of me or a broken rib.
Stew’s face is very wide. You know those Late Night shows where they take an actor and an actress and morph their faces together to show what their kid would look like if they were so inclined to jump in the sack and umm, conceive? Well, Stewart is a cross between Jack Black and Dora the Explorer. However, unlike the actor, Stew doesn’t smile very often. He’s very dry. The best you’re gonna get is a smirk or a quick upturn of one side of his lip. I’ve heard “very absurd” and “very serious” used in the same sentence describing him.
And the last thing that makes Stewart a phenomenon? His car.
We head out into my parking lot to witness the true unfettered glory of “The Stewart 1978 Cutlass.” It is magnificent. It is indescribable. It is Stewart. Were a car to embody everything that I am, I don’t know what model it would be. Without a doubt, though, Stewart is a 1978 Cutlass.
You can tell that this car was once a darker red with a maroon leather roof backing – what did they call that vinyl section? The package compartment? Most cars don’t have those anymore so the term is getting lost. Anyway, some past owner must have been a fan of Smokey and the Bandit but without the money to buy a black and gold Trans-Am. At some point they made an earnest attempt to make this Cutlass look like “The Bandit’s” ride. It has a gloss black paint job with gold pinstriping and an authentic gold Firebird decal covering the hood. The problem is, as I said, you can tell the car was originally red with maroon trimmings, because the sun over the years has faded enough of the black paint that the earlier red is beginning to show through.
The sound this beast makes as Stewart accelerates out of my apartment complex? ‘Vrooom!’ Truly remarkable. Like NASCAR in a blender with Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. I don’t think ‘Vroooom’ really covers it.
“Remember that 80’s Bowie song, what was it called?” Stewart pauses. “Modern Love! Yeah, yeah, that’s it! Modern Love!” He presently has Hendrix’s “Little Wing” on shuffle, meaning he keeps playing the same song over and over and over, the sick bastard that he is. But either way I see little resemblance between the two songs and I have to point that out to him.
“Stew… Little Wing doesn’t sound anything like Modern Love. Or am I missing something here?”
“Are you missing something? Why yes you are.” He smirks. “Just before I picked you up I let this really energetic almost dancy fart and it sounded just like the beginning of ‘Modern Love’. Seriously dude. It’s probably still in here somewhere…”
I grab for the manual window roller downer thingy and start cranking as fast as I can. It’s not an easy process. It takes me easily five seconds too long.
He mimics the riff at the beginning of the song. “No, no! Don’t. Keep the windows up.” He starts singing the Bowie song. ‘It don’t want to go out. It wants to stay in. Get things done.’ Hey, now that I think ‘bout it, it did sound a little like the start of ‘Little Wing’ too.”
“Man… You just made me sit here and marinate in your fart.”
“It didn’t smell.”
“That’s not the point, you son of a bitch! It was in this car when I climbed in and you didn’t have the common courtesy to air it out.”
He doesn’t argue. I am constantly reminded that Stewart’s sense of humor hasn’t progressed much in the past 10 years. This is exactly the kind of stunt he finds hilarious.
“See Rally’s? It’s the next left here.” We pull into the industrial park. “And right there is a sign that reads “GF Express, LLC.” It’s a simple sign; in fact it almost looks hand-lettered. It’s a simple building too. With a little less paint it would pretty much look like a storage unit. There’s another business crammed into the back section of the building: ABC VOIP Systems.
There’s a single glass door and a slotted mailbox inset next to it. For Girlfriend Express, that’s about the extent of it. Or maybe not… there are two bikes chained up to a rack about ten feet from the front door.
Stewart turns to look at me. “See the bikes.” He rubs his chin and gives me a very studious look.
“Yeah, a couple of bikes.”
“Those aren’t adult bikes. They aren’t even the kind of dirt bikes we had growing up. Those are tricked out. See the bars off of the wheels. Those are freestyle bikes. For doing stunts.” He scratches his head. “Maybe Girlfriend Express is involved in the XGames.”
“Ok. We have several clues already.” I wish I had a notepad I could flip out to scrawl notes, make Stewart feel even more foolish. “Clue number one: two bikes, not just any two bikes but freestyle bikes. Clue number two: Girlfriend Express may be involved in the XGames. So what now?”
Stewart shrugs. “Now we wait. Open the glove compartment. Let’s get busy.” Oh great, I think. He has drugs in the car. Just what I need, a cop is gonna roll up and… But no, in the glove compartment I find two huge bulk bin bags of pistachio nuts. I absolutely roar with laughter and it’s at least a minute before I manage to stop… well, mostly stop.
“A stakeout!” This gets me started again. “A stakeout! We’re going to stake out the place. Case it!!! And while we wait we’re going to eat pistachio nuts!” I have tears streaming down my face by now.
Then he says, “Shut up and hand me the binoculars.” This sends me into hysterics all over again.
In between laughing and gasps for air I say, “Binoculars? Stewart! You brought binoculars? We’re right next to the place. What are you going to see that you can’t see with your own eyes? You looking for four leaf clovers or scoping for chicks? Chicks love industrial parks.”
“Yeah, you’re right. We should back up a little. They might see us if we’re this close. It’s kind of suspicious, two guys sitting in a car in an industrial park.”
“No it isn’t,” I say. “Now if we were making out that would be kind of suspicious – horrific actually. You have nose hair and I’m not into guys that wear Megadeth T-Shirts.”
To this Stewart frowns. I hope to God he isn’t disappointed.
Here’s the thing, though. Our stakeout lasts all of about a minute or two. Two kids come out of GF Express, joking, clowning around and punching each other several times. They’re not just doing the punch to the shoulder thing. These are full-on punches to the jaw, but as much as it must hurt, they’re still laughing.
After a time, a guy in a suit comes out – complete with the red power tie. They talk to him for a few minutes. Stew raises an eyebrow.
Then the kids are on their bikes and apparently departing. The guy walks back into the building and as he does, the blond haired kid does a fancy trick spin and does his best to run the suit over. The suit face plants into the glass door as the two kids jet off, both roaring with laughter.
“How old?” Stewart asks.
“The suit or the kids?”
“Well, I used to be Merlin at Six Flags. Guess your height, weight or age.”
“Right,” Stewart says, not catching any hint of my sarcasm.
“The blond kid, I’d say 160 pounds, five foot… nine? And around sixteen or seventeen years old. The other kid, the brown haired one. I’d say pretty much the same but he’s a little chunky. Maybe 190 pounds. And the suit? The red-haired ‘Opie’? I’d say he’s somewhere between 25 and 29. Around 175 pounds and 6 feet tall.”
“Damn man, you’re good,” Stewart says admiringly.
“I know I am,” I say. And I do know I am. I was damned good at being Merlin way back when. It’s a skill you never lose.
“So what did we observe? What are we supposed to get from what we’ve seen?” Stew asks dramatically.
“Well,” I pause. “We saw two kids punch each other in the face repeatedly and they apparently thought it was all in good fun. We saw a suit. And then we saw one of the kids try to run over the suit. Run him over successfully, actually. “
“Curious. Very curious…” he says. “Let’s go talk to the suit.”
“What?! You kidding me? What are we gonna talk to him about? His hair style?”
“Well…” he gives it some thought. “We could say we were looking for Randall and is he in?”
“Are you kidding me?”
Suddenly the suit comes back outside and lights a cigarette. I look at Stewart, he gives me a very serious look and nods in the suits direction. We get out of the car and cross the grass to where the guy is standing smoking. I can’t believe I’m about to meet Randall.
“Randall, I presume,” I say to the suit.
“No, he’s off tonight. Is there something I could help you gentlemen with? Do you know Randall?”
“Well, I’m a customer. I wanted to come thank him. I think he’s finally set me up with Ms. Right.”
He smiles broadly, “Well that’s great!” He shakes my hand. “How about this guy,” he says, motioning to Stewart. “He a customer too?”
I laugh. “No, but he should be.” We introduce ourselves. The suit’s name is Rick.
“Ok then! Let me get you a packet of information,” our new friend Rick says, “I’ll be right back.” Strangely he doesn’t invite us in.
We roll into Tim’s apartment complex, and after pulling into a space, Stewart’s car backfires in a truly fantastic manner. People often report car backfires as gunshots and honestly? If anyone does this time I can’t say I really blame them. The blast sounded like any number of scenes from recent action movies – loud and with a vengeance. If Tim is home, I’m fairly certain he, like many of his neighbors, will soon be peering out his front windows watching for a crazed looking man that looks like he’s beginning a shotgun rampage.
“He’s here,” Stewart says, pointing to Tim’s car. “Or his car is, at least.” There aren’t any lights on in the front of Tim’s apartment, but it looks like there are a few on in the back of towards the kitchen and his bedroom. As we’re passing Tim’s car, Stewart stops me short as he puts his palm down on the hood of the car. “It’s still warm,” he says dramatically, nodding at me.
I should never have let Stewart take me on a stakeout, not tonight and not ever. He’s clearly been possessed by a 1960’s television detective now, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the very least if he were to get down on his hands and knees to check the tires for a certain color of clay, soil or moss that might later identify where Tim’s car has been tonight.
“Thanks Stewart. That might be a useful clue later but let’s knock on the front door first, shall we?” He nods.
I knock twice and follow it with a yelled, “Hey man, it’s me.” Then we both watch for signs of movement through the gauzy white curtains. Listening closely, I can hear music playing somewhere in the apartment, and then I spot movement.
We hear locks being turned, and then the door cracks open – first an inch and then enough for Tim’s face to appear. Apparently he’s not opening it any further.
“What’s up, man?” I ask. “You’re not answering your phone and shit? I was worried.”
“We both were,” Stewart says, extending his hand. When Tim doesn’t open the door any wider or extend his own hand Stewart starts looking uncomfortable.
“Hey guys. Hey Stew!” he says grinning widely to acknowledge Stewart. “Man, I haven’t seen you in a long time! I just got out of the shower, and I think I’m sick or something. I’d have you guys in, but you don’t want to risk catching it. Stomach Flu, I think. Bad stuff.”
“Alright buddy, we were just worried about you,” I say. “You weren’t answering your calls and umm, we just staked-out Girlfriend-Express. I thought you might want to hear the details and hang with Stew-Man too.”
Somewhere behind Tim, someone coughs. He flinches.
“We interrupting something?” I raise an eyebrow.
He starts letting loose with “No’s” like they’re bullets from a semi-automatic rifle. “No, no, no, no, it’s cool. I’m alone. Hey guys, I gotta get into a bathrobe or pajamas or something. You just caught me out of the shower. It’s a bad time with me sick and all.”
“Who’s in there?” I whisper, pointing through the door. “Oh wait! Oh no man…. you’re not back together with Laura are you?”
“No. Absolutely not,” he emphasizes with every possible muscle and expression he can muster on short notice. “I’d sooner cut off my own torso.”
“Then who is it? Gina from work?” I wink at him. “Stewart, cover your ears! Cover them! I don’t think he wants this public.” Detective Stewart makes no move to cover anything.
‘The someone’ coughs again, and this time–Holy Mother of God– it sounds like a guy.
“Tim man, I don’t care. But do you have another guy in there? A dude?” He stares at me blankly. “Jesus … NO! You know me better than…”
“’All the young dudes…’” I whisper. “’Now I’ve drunk a lot of wine and I’m feeling fine. Got to race some cat to bed?’ I don’t care if you’re after penis now, Tim. Just tell us.”
“NO!! Tim says raising his voice. I’m not dating anyone and I’m not dating a penis either.” This makes me laugh, perhaps because of the way he phrased it. I don’t think people date penis’s but who knows? Maybe some do.
“Who do you have in there?” Stewart asks, playfully kicking at the door. His big mistake, however, is that the toe of his pointy elf shoe lands near the open edge of the door and it lands hard. The door flies out of Tim’s grasp.
There’s Tim totally naked in the doorway. In my head, I saw that coming. However, what I don’t expect is the person standing to his left, just behind the door.
There stands Sarah in all of her glory. Neither of them is wearing a stitch of clothing – the proverbial Adam and Eve. No one says anything for at least five seconds.
Then, without any control of my actions, I start jumping up and down on Tim’s porch, spinning in circles with my hands clenched. “Eww! Ewww! Ewww!!!!! Friend Incest! Friend Incest!!!” But I’m grinning like a maniac as I yell it. “Friend incest” isn’t exactly correct, because Sara is a girl I should have fallen for so many years ago – I should have, Tim should have, so many other friends — but for a number of insignificant reasons I guess it never happened. I really have no reason to be jealous of who she’s attracted to, and even if I did, this is Tim we’re talking about.
Finally I stop my rampage, and grin widely. Still, no one has said a word. Tim exits stage left and returns a moment later with his denim shirt tied around his waist backwards. You gonna put some clothes on, Sarah?” I ask.
“No, because Tim and I have business to attend to. Besides, you don’t seem to mind.” She points at my crotch. “Wood.” Stewart guffaws. “And you, Stewart?” She points down. “Pup tent.” He pulls his T-shirt out of his jeans.
“Seeya guys. Toodle-oo.” She slams the door.
By 1:30, I can’t be any more of a schoolgirl. Well, not really. No skirt. No cute figure. But I want to gossip. I have to get the scoop from Tim on what happened, the who’s, the why’s, the where, the how, for how long, and what was it like? I want all of the lurid details
I’m crafty. I talk him into going shopping at Chesterfield Mall. “C’mon Tim, it’s a real opportunity to buy a few more denim shirts.” He takes the bait.
First stop, it’s a small English style pub that’s tied into the food court, “A Bucket of Schloozers” it’s called. Neither Tim nor I know what “Schloozers” are. No. All we know is that we refer to place as… you guessed it. “A Bucket of Losers.”
Tim dunks a French fry in malt vinegar, plows it through a pile of mayonnaise and tosses it into his mouth. I watch in horror.
“Man, that’s disgusting. I’m with you on the vinegar but mayo?”
“What difference does it make?” he asks. “I’m dipping fat in fat. What do you dip buffalo wings in? More fat.”
“Well, if I were a disgusting bastard like you I’d probably answer with something like strawberry Jello or horseradish.” I smirk, pleased with the way the insult came together.
“No, you dip them in Ranch dressing. You dip fat in fat. It’s an American pastime.”
Neither of us says much of anything for a minute or so as we lunch. Without the usual cloud of cigarette smoke, the place smells like stale beer and whatever they clean the bathrooms with.
I resisted asking Tim about Sarah on the drive over. I resisted asking him while we were waiting for our food. I cannot resist any longer.
“Sarah…” I let her name linger for a while. He looks up and makes eye contact. I’ve known Tim a long time. He’s trying to suss out my opinion before he says anything.
“Sarah,” he says, tossing another mayonnaise slathered fry into his mouth and licking his fingers. I want to get all parental on him, tell him not to lick his fingers, that he doesn’t know where they’ve been. But he knows damned well where they’ve been because they’re his fingers.
“I love her,” he says, analyzing my expression again.
“You love her?? Tim, man, you just broke up with Laura. Besides, can’t you just say you like her a whole bunch instead of that word? Guys aren’t supposed to be so forthright. It’s in the guy rulebook.” I punch him in the shoulder. “So how long have you liked her a whole bunch, Tim?”
“Since we met her.”
I screw up my eyes. “Since we met her? Then why now, man? Why not back then? Why not before you met Laura? Why not on Ash Friday in 1993?”
“Sometimes, it takes a long time to figure things out,” he says, uttering the understatement of the decade.
“If it takes you that long, Tim… Man, I don’t know how you graduated college. There were a lot of things to figure out in those four years.” He gives me a blank stare. “So how’d it happen? She bring her Monopoly board over last night and then you made a grab for her tits about time she landed on ‘Orlando Gardens’?”
“It’s been going on for a long time.”
“A few weeks,” he says.
“Tim… a long time is at least a year.”
“Well it has seemed like a long time.”
Suddenly, a whole movie trailer of scenes starts rolling through my head: Sarah sitting on Tim’s bed in his Junior High gym shirt as he leaves for work, Laura holding up Sarah’s huge bra and examining it, knowing damned well it wasn’t hers, Sarah’s bursting out crying at the IHOP for no apparent reason. I grin to myself and shake my head.
“The clues were all there,” I say. “I just didn’t put them together. But wait, Tim, you sure she’s not a rebound?”
“Of course not.”
“Good. Because, you know Sarah. She throws herself one hundred percent into anything she does and loves. And when she gets hurt… She’ll gets hurt far more than most of us are capable of feeling. Know what I mean, tiger?”
“She feel the same way?” I ask.
“Yeah. She does. And you want to hear something kind of funny, kinda scary? She said her number one goal in life has always been to marry you or me.”
“Marry one of us?” I stammer. “Well, it sounds like she isn’t very far from her goal at this point.” It takes about five seconds for Tim compute what I meant and then he starts shuffling around in his seat and staring at his shoes.
I change the subject. “So what’s she like in the sack? What kind of stuff does she like to do?”
“Go to hell. I’m not telling you that.”
“Why? You’re always so insistent that I give you details. And now you’re being all shy about telling me? Look, Tim, I guarantee that all of Sarah’s friends know exactly how long your dick is. I guarantee they know how you perform, and for how long. And I guarantee they know whether you go South on her and whether you’re skilled at it. As horrible as it is to comprehend, women do that. They all talk. So having said that, why can’t you share some details with your good buddy Craig?”
“Because… because it’s Sarah, man,” he says finally.
“Ok, tell me this much. Is she a hellcat?”
“What do you think?”
I grin. “Ok, I got that out of you. How did it start? Drunk I’m betting.”
“Yeah, kind of. Remember that one night you said you felt like you were going to lose the mozzarella sticks we had earlier, and you went home? Puked, I think? Then you went home and left us talking?”
“Yeah, I did lose those mozzarella sticks. Not far from the front door, in fact.”
“Anyway,” he continues. “We got to talking about how the three of us got to be such good friends and we were musing over why one of us hadn’t ever gotten together.”
“I can answer part of that one, Tim. I’m just not into hairy men or penises. You were out of the question from the very beginning. I hope that doesn’t hurt your feelings.”
“Shut up,” he mutters. “I said that sometimes you come to love someone like a sister and that at that point it’s too late to backpedal. She disagreed.”
“No, then she said something really weird. ‘Remember Jessica?’”
“Oh yeah,” I say. Tim had carried a torch for this Jessica for at least two years. We’re talking Olympic Torch Runner. He lit pyres for her in 25 countries.
“She said, ‘It’s been a long time now. Are you still in love with her? Like a sister?’ And I said I didn’t know.”
” Then she says ‘If you let me come over there and sit on your lap and kiss you once, see if this sister thing is true. Then I’ll tell her why she never would go out with you.’” She dared me to kiss her. It was like grade school.
“And?” I’m incredulous.
“She came over and kissed me and I was wrong about the sister thing. It’s wasn’t weird, man… Sparks flew immediately – fireworks even. It wasn’t a peck, either, my arms went around her, and that’s all I’m going to say.”
“Ok, man. Ok,” I say.
It’s just then that a former coworker makes a beeline for Tim, spotting him, his denim shirt, and nappy hair, before he sees me. Sybert… He has a first name but for the life of me I don’t remember. Jim? Tim? He’s always been “Sybert” to us.
“Nice bag, Sybert,” I remark, nodding towards his Ambercrummy and Filch shopping bag. There’s a huge picture of a shirtless male model on the side, complete with the perfectly coiffed hair and the water dripping off of his chest. “I didn’t think they had a store here for your type, Sybert.”
“Get stuffed, Mitchell. What’re you guys up to?”
I thumb Tim’s direction. “He’s buying more denim shirts.” Sybert nods a few times as if it’s information that needs to be digested, and analyzed.
“So what’s up with Sarah these days?”, Sybert asks.
Tim shoots me a glance. Needless to say, when you’ve known someone for a very long time their expressions and body language become very easy to read. Communicated in an instant: if you say a thing to him I will hand you your ass in ten different ways, video tape the whole thing, and televise it as “Craig’s Most Extreme Ass Kickings.”
“She’s great. Why?” Tim asks him.
“I dunno man, she was always pretty cool. I miss her. I miss her big tits too.”
“Yeah, nice tits,” Tim and I agree. Five minutes of small talk later, Sybert departs, undoubtedly off in search of more shopping bags with shirtless men on them.
For a woman claiming “responsibilities, a child and that kind of thing,” Dawn is in my bed again tonight. Did we do it, you’re wondering? Yes we did.
“How many partners have you had?” Dawn asks.
I go into a coughing fit, soon it becomes wheezing. I grab on the nightstand for a glass of the wine she brought over. I honestly don’t want to answer but even if I did, my throat has seized up. Finally I’m able to speak. “Can I answer that question with a question for you?”
She starts grabs a lock of hair and starts twirling it. “Me? I’d say I’ve been with about….”
“No, no, no!” I stop her. “The question is can we have sex again before I answer your question?” I don’t need to tell you. The ‘number of partners’ question is the end-all-be-all of no win situations. When they teach you sex education there should be a whole section on why it’s not cool to ask that question. “No seriously. Wanna know why I wouldn’t ask you that partners question, and you wanna know why I don’t want to know your answer to the same question?”
“Why?” she asks.
“Because it really doesn’t matter to me,” I say. “What matters is that you’re laying here next to me.” She sighs. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad sign.
“For a guy that claims he can’t say a romantic or original thing to save his life, you sure are talented at doing just that. You’re a ladies man, aren’t you? A player?” she giggles, and I swear, it’s the best giggle I think I’ve ever heard. It’s infectious. I can’t help but laugh with her. She could have said “You know, you’re a real turd, just thought I’d tell you so,” then giggled, and I’d still be laughing with her – even though to the best of my knowledge I am not a turd.
“Seriously,” she says.
“Seriously what?” I ask, incredulously.
“Because you always seem to say the exact right things I want to hear, at the exact right times, and somehow I don’t think you do it… what’s the word? You don’t seem to do it unknowingly.”
“Unknowingly? I ‘unknowingly my ass off.’ If there’s a Kingdom of The Unknowing, you’re laying right next to the King of it. Trust me.”
“Ok, but you say you can’t say a romantic thing to save your life, then you turn around and level me with poetry.”
“Ummm. No, I don’t write poetry.” We don’t talk for a few minutes and I take the opportunity to run my fingers down her back, from top to the small, and back and forth.
“You do that a lot,” she observes.
“Rub my back, caress my hair, that kind of thing, “ she says.
“Does it bother you? I can stop…”
“God no!” She leans up on her elbows. “Don’t.”
“So what’s why did you bring it up?” I ask her.
“Just curious why you do. Do you like to do it?”
“What do you mean do I like to do it? I don’t think there’s a backrub fetish out there. Maybe there is by now.”
“I’ve just never had someone do that for me,” she says. “Well not never, but very infrequently. On special occasions. Why do you do that? We hardly know each other, really.”
“Why?” I stop to think about that one, my fingers resting in the small of her back. “I guess it’s such a small, easy thing to do, to rub someone’s back or tousle their hair but it feels so good. Why not do it?” I ask.
“So that’s why you do it?”
“Not exactly. Life isn’t all selfishness. Sometimes it makes you happy to make someone feel happy. Know what I mean?”
“I know. So no fetish?”
“No fetish, ma’am. Most of my fetishes are boob oriented.”
“I see,” she says. “Here’s another one for you. What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done?” she asks.
I mull this over. There are some answers that are better than others, and some I don’t care to mention. “I bribed a maid at the Executive Suites at Busch Stadium to let my Ex and me into a suite on the 25th floor. The whole stadium saw us kissing passionately during a Cards versus San Francisco game. Some people stood up and clapped.”
“Yup,” I grin.
“That sounds more like exhibitionism. Give me another.”
Again I pause. She didn’t think that one was good enough. Right. Of course that wasn’t good enough.
“I took this beauty out to the middle of nowhere, bought some fireworks, shot a bunch of them off. I kissed her and she smelled like her shampoo, and soap, and lotions, and gunpowder, and girly perfume and if they could bottle that smell, I’d be the first in line to purchase it.”
She rolls over and puts her head on my chest. “Mmmmm. That’s a good answer. Now answer the original question.”
“What question?” She pinches me until it actually hurts. “Oww! Ok….” I don’t say anything for a full ten seconds.
“Ok wait, wait, do you prefer the nice language for sex or the dirty? Make love? Fuck? Have sex?”
She doesn’t answer. I’ve won. I’ve hit her with a difficult to answer question that will derail her original question. Now the nuke she hit me with is the worst possible, but the eternal war of “making love” versus “fucking”?
“Just answer the question, Craig. Ok?” I don’t say anything for nearly a minute.
Then there’s the number.
“Nineteen?” She sounds astounded. Again, the judges haven’t ruled yet on whether her reaction is a good or a bad thing. “Nineteen. Exactly Nineteen? Do you have a score book at home?”
I’m kind of indignant at the remark. “No, I don’t.”
“Then how did you keep track?”
“Look. Hey. I don’t have to. I remember them. Sex isn’t like a tennis match for me where you pit your sexual skills against some random person you happen to be playing. Maybe it is for some people but I’ve only had a single one night stand in my entire life.” If she asks how recently I’ve had a two night stand I’m definitely not going to answer truthfully. “I don’t care how many partners you’ve had or how much sex you’ve had, because I told you already. It doesn’t matter to me.”
Suddenly there’s a knock at the door. It’s an unwelcome knock given the circumstances, lying in bed with a beautiful naked girl, but it does effectively kill off the “partners” conversation. The problem is it isn’t Stewart’s “Shave and a haircut knock.” It isn’t Tim’s way too quiet knock. With his feeble attempts, he has to knock for five minutes before I finally hear the idiot. No. This knock is loud, frantic even – a frenzy of knocking.
“Who is it?” She asks. I shrug. “Hell if I know, but I’m considering not answering it.”
Dawn wraps the sheet around herself, and peaks out the window blinds. “It’s a woman.” Then she proceeds to describe Elizabeth, right down to the “big boobies in a tight white tank top.
One word. Fuck. No that doesn’t cover. It. Five words covers it. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. And Fuck. As the knocking continues, I try to find my boxers somewhere underneath the covers at the foot of the bed. I jump into them and run down the stairs to the door.
I stumble down the stairs, throw open the door and sure enough, “big boobies” and all, there stands Elizabeth. Actually, there wobbles Elizabeth. I immediately have to throw my arms around her to keep her from taking a nose dive. Drunk? I don’t think there’s any question about that. For that matter, I don’t think there’s any way to adequately describe how drunk she is. She smells like a bum with cheap vino on her breath.
“I’m too drunk to dribbbee,” she slurs.
“Yes, you are. But you drove here? Are you ok?”
“Yeah,” she sighs.
She latches onto to me tighter and puts her hands on my… well, you know. I stop her and put her at arms length, holding her like a rag doll. But she wiggles out of my grip and tries to push past me into the apartment.
“Hey, c’mon…” I stop her.
“You know how many things I want to do to you right now?” She barely gets the whole sentence out and then she’s starting to nod off. Whatever she has in mind, I sincerely doubt she’d get through one of those things before passing out.
“Elizabeth, no. I’m taking you home.”
“Two women, Craig?” Dawn says from the top of the stairs. “Seriously? You haven’t meant a single word you’ve said to me, have you?”
Elizabeth may have been nodding off but she’s wide awake now. There’s a naked woman clad only in a white sheet at the top of the stairs.
“WHO the fuck are you?!” Elizabeth nearly shrieks. Then there’s an uncomfortable silence of ten seconds or so. Should I introduce them?
“How long did you think you could pull this off, Craig?” Dawn asks. “I took you at your word and I honestly didn’t expect this.”
“Look…” I try to say.
“Kick her out. Kick her out now. We only been togeth.. once but youre’d mine,” Elizabeth says, taking drunken liberties with her grammar.
“Look I can explain!” I say, knowing I sound like every single guy that’s ever been caught in a similar situation. I know I sound like a dastardly, villainous bastard trying to dig himself out of the hole he’s put himself in..
“No, I don’t think you can, rather, I don’t think you really need to either.” Dawn says, pulling the sheet up around her.
“You better bet your bippy I can explain,” I say, stopping at the end of each word, in a tone of voice very uncharacteristic of me. I’m angry now that I think about it I have every right to be.
I level a pointed finger at Dawn. “You. You. Girlfriend Express, that Randall guy! He sends me out on a date with you. Then later you drop the bomb on me that you’re celibate. Great! A dating service that sends you out on dates with celibate girls.”
“I complain and they apologize, then send me out with you,” I point at Elizabeth. “In one night, you turn my life upside down, sideways, backwards and forwards and then get arrested – as if all of this were the plan to begin with.”
I point at Dawn again. “I didn’t ask for two. If you hadn’t pulled the ‘celibate’ thing, there wouldn’t have been… there wouldn’t have been this situation. There wouldn’t have been a second date with a second person. I am NOT a player. In fact, you’re the best thing…”
“Randall is my brother,” Elizabeth says.
“What?!” I exclaim.
A second later Dawn follows up with “I’m sorry, what did you say? “
“My brother fix me up with you. With datesss. It’s dreamy.”
Elizabeth falls to her knees before I can catch her and then she throws up all over my bare feet.
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