Drop 165: Good Boy

bag of poopTom runs into Sarah in the park.

‘Long time,’ he says. ‘How you doing?’

‘Great,’ she says.

‘And who’s this handsome feller?’

‘Oh, this is Duke.’

‘Hey there, buddy.’ He pats Duke on the head. ‘Aren’t you a good boy?’

‘He sure is.’

Duke jerks his head away and watches Tom with distrust.

‘Well, most of the time, at least!’ she adds, smiling timidly.

‘Bet he loves the park.’

‘He sure does. Hates being cooped up in the apartment. Runs around like crazy once we get here. He’s obsessed with the squirrels and the birds. I really should bring him more often—but anyway, what’s new with you?’

‘Not much. Work is slow. Went to Montauk for the long weekend.’

‘Great. Love Montauk.’

‘Yeah. Terrific weather. Fresh seafood and–oh my, will you look at that!’

‘Duke, no!’ Sarah shouts. ‘Not here. God, I’m so sorry,’ she adds, slinging her backpack off her shoulder and struggling to produce a plastic baggy.

‘I guess you just gotta go when you gotta go, hey.’

‘It’s a new thing, to do it around people like that. Right at their feet. I don’t know why.’ She is clearly embarrassed as she crouches down with the small blue bag and picks up the sizeable turd, knotting it tidily afterwards. ‘You know, we should really be on our way. Sorry. Come on, Duke.’ She starts leading him away but he resists. ‘I said let’s go, Duke. That means now!’

‘But I don’t want to go, Mommy,’ Duke says, straightening the shorts he just pulled up. ‘I want to play on the jungle gym.’

By EM Vireo

Drop #164: Snub

wedding cakeI see Johnny Malloy’s brother, Charlie, at the fish and chips shop and go up to him.

‘Hey there, Charlie, how you going?’

‘Fine. Fine.’

‘And how’s married life treating Johnny then?’

‘Good, I guess.’

‘Say, I think it was quite rude of him not to invite me to his wedding.’

‘Oh?’

‘Yeah, given we’ve known each other almost ten years.’

‘He must have had a good reason.’

‘I mean, seriously. I think that was quite a low blow not inviting the captain of his inter-pub football team, as if we weren’t really mates after all. Not inviting the man who introduced him to the girl whose friend got him that part-time job at the ice cream stall.’

‘Oh.’

‘To not even extend me an invitation. To leave a good buddy and fellow old Daltonian hanging that way. To be honest, I’m a bit hurt.’

‘Oh. Sorry to hear it.’

‘Well, how was it then anyway?’

‘What’s that?’

‘The wedding–his wedding. How was it?’

‘Oh, nice from what I heard. He didn’t invite me either.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop 163: Dick

Big BananaDinner at a Thai place. Marco’s birthday. This was the group’s makeup:

Three single guys: Marco, Peter, and Ray.

Two single girls: Katelyn and Jade.

Two couples: Luther and Sven; Nick and Sofia.

As it turned out, Nick was the only straight guy there and at some point Ray said, ‘hey Nick, there’s nine of us here and you’re the only one who doesn’t like sucking dick! Ha-ha.’

Most everyone laughed but Nick just smiled and when they’d stopped he said, ‘How do you know I don’t like sucking dick? Hey? Maybe I like it even more than you do. Maybe I love it.’

‘Oh my God, do you?’ Sven asked, staring.

‘How do you know Sofia and I don’t prowl gay bars on weekends for huge cocks to take home and share?’

‘Jesus Christ,’ Peter said. ‘Do you?’

‘It doesn’t matter what I do or what I don’t. What matters is the assumption. What matters is labeling and pigeonholing. God, you gays are just as bad as the Puritans, Jesus freaks, and conservative bigots. Black and white. In or out. No middle ground. No creativity. No life left to live, only a label, an either/or situation, an all or nothing proposition. Be exactly who you are as long as we can shove you in a box. Always be yourself, but hurry up and choose sides so we can mobilize our troops!’

‘Oh my God, Nick. Do you really love giving head?’ Marco asked, while every other guy kept staring.

‘I’ve said enough,’ Nick said firmly, but a smile had formed on the corner of his mouth. ‘Just get over it.’

Jade looked around the table. Sofia sat head down but was stifling a laugh and it was obvious she had enjoyed her boyfriend’s rant the way she always did. These articulate, opportunistic outbursts were part of Nick’s repertoire; Jade had witnessed several herself, on various topics.

Jade then caught Katelyn’s eye. They both smiled while Katelyn bit her lip. Just yesterday they had confessed to each other how neither much enjoyed the act of sucking dick.

By E.M. Vireo

Drop #162: Night Out

IMG_3586I was supposed to go out last night with Pete and Jack but fell asleep on the couch. I called Pete around noon:

‘How was your night?’ I asked.

‘Amazing. So much fun. You really missed out. We went to this insane place, the Deadshot Saloon. What a bar! Non-stop action and mad energy all night long. Awesome country music with hot waitresses in cowboy boots and tiny shorts dancing on the table, pouring free shots in your mouth from the bottle. Cheap drinks and fifty cent buffalo wings, great crowd, everyone tipsy and having fun, no pretension, so happening, bras hanging from the roof. God it was a blast. There were—shit, sorry, I have another line. Call you back.’

Jack happened to call two minutes later.

‘So, you have a good night last night?’ I asked him.

‘Awful,’ he answered. ‘You’re so lucky you didn’t make it out. We ended up at this absolute shit hole of a honky-tonk joint with the most obnoxious crowd you can think of. So cheesy. So cheap. Bad liquor. Crap loud music through busted speakers and the most cliché thing ever: crass ugly barmaids doing a ridiculous fake cow girl dance on the bar in boots with fat asses hanging out of their too small shorts, pouring drinks all over your face without you asking, screaming non stop. The place was tiny and crowded and annoying, stinking of sweat and old booze, full of drunk sweaty douchebags shouting, always pushing to get by, bumping you, spilling pitchers of beer on you. Only nasty greasy chicken wings to eat and—oh, sorry, I have another line. I’ll have to call you back’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop 161: Haircut

scissorsJim was at the bar, talking to some guy.

“Hey, Jim,’ I said, interrupting them. ‘Nice new haircut you got there.’

‘Thanks.’

‘Thanks!’ I mocked, stepping left and right to view his whole head. ‘You can’t think I’m being serious? Looks like the rats have been nibbling at that skull of yours.’

‘Oh.’

‘What, you going to one of those blind hairdressers now?’

‘No.’

‘Oh yeah, I remember, you have some fancy new guy conveniently coming to your place.’

‘Actually–’

‘Honestly, buddy, he should pay you for the chance to butcher your head like that! Just a terrible cut. I’d go as far as calling it an abomination. Anyway, buy you a drink, drown your sorrows. Buy one for your pal here too.’ I stick out my hand to introduce myself.

‘Oh sorry, where are my manners?’ Jim says. ‘This is Serge. My barber.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop #160: Love

burrata and heirloom tomatoJen had a dinner meeting so Hal decided to treat himself to his favorite meal at Tony’s. He was the first customer and the staff greeted him warmly. ‘No missus today? It’s OK. We feed you good.’

Though eating alone, he ordered a full meal, starting with the burrata over heirloom tomatoes, and following with the wild boar ragu pappardelle. It was what they always ordered. He drank two glasses of Chianti as he finished every last morsel with gusto, sopping up all the sauce with bread, and even had space for panna cotta. Most satisfied, he asked for the check just as his phone rang.

‘Hi, honey,’ Jen said. ‘Good news: my meeting was cancelled so I’m all yours tonight.’

‘Great!’

‘Listen, I’m starving and I can’t think of anything better in this life than meeting you at Tony’s for wild boar pappardelle right now.’

‘Oh yeah? Right now?’

‘Yeah. I’m so in the mood. Let’s get a bottle of that delicious Chianti and have a really nice big meal together. I already left. Think you can be there in twenty?’

‘Pretty sure I can.’

‘You didn’t eat yet, did you?’

‘What? No. No.’

‘Great, I’m excited. Can’t wait to see you. You make me so happy.’

‘Well, that makes me happy too.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop 159: Fruity Crawl

mermaid‘How was fast bite? You bet sucky?’

‘Sure bid. Took the sigh home and we lucked all might.’

‘Aw yeah. Rid the blasty, hey? Dumped bubblies. Rot it lawn.’

‘Yup. Pot mad foodie.’

‘Good mung faction?’

‘Lure. He lent towns on me for more than a flower. Gingered my loosey. Slicked my Brit. Rate out my blunt.’

‘You red urn the flavor?’

‘Course. Mucked his sob. Pickled the pit. Bee tagged his yak. Went beetfloat till I almost grabbed.’

‘You guys boo banal?’

‘Yeah, with a skittle tube. He venerated me from le mind before humming on my mits.’

‘Loo mum poo?’

‘Free crimes. Dull ripple sarcasms. Flirted all over his race.’

‘Sounds like a glue dime.’

‘Yeah, but off horse, it was just a fruity crawl.’

By EM Vireo

Drop #158: Pleasure

privacy‘So, tell me, man,’ he said excitedly, nudging my shoulder, ‘how was last night?’

‘Amazing. Just incredible. Maybe the best ever.’

‘Seriously? Awesome!’

‘Yeah. She was relentless. Went on for hours.’

‘Wow. And what a hottie too.’

‘So hot, and so good at what she does. God, she blew me away. Waves and waves of pleasure.’

‘Nice.’

‘And when I thought it was done, she started all over again, working every inch of my body. Talk about stamina.’

‘I told you, dude. She’s a real pro. Top of the line. She came over last week when Susan was out of town, perfectly punctual, and very low-key. I love how she makes you feel so comfortable about it all.’

‘Totally,’ I said.

‘Did she pull out all those insane lubricating oils?’

‘Sure did. That took it over the edge. I already scheduled another session. I think I’ll try the deep tissue this time.’

‘Good call.’

By E.M. Vireo

Drop 157: Camping

IMG_0755They arrive late and hurry to put the tent up before dark. He steps on her foot in the rush. Large man in boots. Slight woman in sandals. Full weight.

She sucks it up. There is work to do.

Fly nets, poles, guy lines and pegs. Pull it over. Push it through.

Anxious to finish, he shoves a pole through to far, poking her curtly in the ribs, and again in the left breast. It hurts and the scratch is clear under her top. He doesn’t apologize. Maybe he didn’t notice. It’s getting dark.

Tighten it up. Hammer it in. Headlights needed now to get it done.

Then inside to set up the sleeping quarters. He yanks a sleeping bag from the backpack with force, elbowing her in the ribs. ‘Here unroll that,’ is all he says.

She does, and the other, and blows up the first thin air mattress. The head is where the feet should be, so she turns it around in the tight space, grazing his shoulder ever so slightly with the corner as she does.

He jumps back as if electrocuted, and squeals. ‘Ow, Jesus! Watch out! Damn, that hurts,’ he says, rubbing his muscular deltoid, pulling his sweatshirt out to look for blood. ‘Be careful, for Christ’s sake. You could have blinded me!’

By EM Vireo

Drop #156: Robot

kitchen robot‘No need to weigh it separately,’ the woman in the apron says, pouring sugar rocks. ‘The bowl already acts as a scale—see.’

I’m standing next to the only man in the room. He’s handsome.

‘Once you reach the needed weight just press the home button again and read the next step on the panel here.’

One man, ten women, excluding the presenter.

‘One blade does it all. Whipping, mixing, and in this case grinding. This might be a little noisy.’ She pushes a button and though she warned us, the grating noise startles me. But it only lasts five seconds.

Dee-doo-dee: the machine let’s us know it is done. It sounds like the chimes before an airport announcement.

Almost half the women ooh as we are shown how the rocks have been ground effortlessly into fine powder. Almost half the others aah.

‘Your wife couldn’t make it?’ I ask the man softly, taking advantage of the pause in the presentation.

‘Excuse me? Oh, no, she’s busy.’

‘Nice of you to come in her place, use your Saturday and all.’

‘Now all we have to do is add the washed and halved lemons,’ the presenter carries on. ‘No need to peel them.’

‘You do any cooking too?’ I ask.

‘Sure,’ the man tells me.

‘Lucky wife you have. I’m the only cook in the family.’

At the touch of a button the machine jumps abruptly into action again, but with a softer sound, and for about ten seconds this time. The chimes again tells us it is done. Though identical, they now sound more like that off-key, somewhat disturbing arrangement from times past, when people still had land lines: Doo-da–dee: We’re sorry, there appears to be a receiver off the hook.

‘Lucky woman,’ I push on. ‘Are you going to buy her one?’

‘A kitchen robot? I don’t think so.’

The presenter pours lemonade into paper cups for us women and my male friend to try. ‘Of course this machine also cooks entire meals. It practically replaces your kitchen!’ She laughs, and I wonder if she always laughs that same way at this exact point in the script. ‘I’ll soon show you how to cook a main course, sauce and all, but let’s move straight to the best part: ice cream!’ Two-thirds of the women mumble in acknowledgement.

‘Bet she’d love it!’ I tell the man, after finishing my lemonade. ‘Make her life a whole lot easier.’

‘Wouldn’t in the slightest.’

‘Really? Machine like this? Haven’t you been watching? It prepares and cooks anything you can think of. Bakes bread and even makes cocktails. It’s incredible.’

‘Maybe, but I don’t like it. I was curious but it’s too impersonal. It removes the connection with food, it—’

The machine starts up again, zapping frozen fruit into a pulp. Dee-doo-daa.

‘It takes the fun out of cooking,’ he finishes. ‘I’d never put a soulless thing like that in the kitchen.’

‘But maybe she’d want one. Buy it for her.’

‘I couldn’t.’

‘Of course you could.’

‘No, I literally couldn’t. I have no income. I mean, since I’m entirely in charge of the cooking, I could ask her to buy it for me, but as I said, I prefer my knives, pots and pans. In fact, I think I’ve seen enough. I should get going if I’m to prepare a proper dinner before she gets back from her business trip. Soufflés don’t make themselves, you know, and a proper Bourguignon takes several hours on a low heat.’

By EM Vireo

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