Drop 169: You Know?

glass bottomAmanda is surprised Joe’s still talking to her. He’s blonde and good-looking, with bright eyes and a tanned fit body. He has been laughing at her jokes and has given her more than one complement already. As an overweight, nerdy girl, she’s not used to the attention, but it’s going great – so great in fact, that she decides to go for it. Why not? You never can tell who a person might be into. It’s personal and sometimes quite surprising. Maybe this guy’s into big girls with glasses!

‘Say, Joe: you think you might wanna get some dinner with me some time?’

‘Yeah, sure, would be fun.’

‘Just the two of us, you know, and maybe catch a movie too.’

‘Oh, you mean like a date?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Sorry, darling. I think I gave you the wrong impression. You’re awesome and I think you’re really cute too with your funky glasses and pretty eyes, but I’m into dudes. Actually, if you want to know, I’m into older bald black guys with tattoos.’

‘Oh.’

‘Something about them just gets me, you know? We can still catch that movie though!’

‘Sure.’

Later that night Joe hits his usual spot for a quick drink, just to check out the scene.

Bingo!

After talking to Chuck – a large black man in his late forties with an amazing wide smile, fully tattooed arms done really nicely, and a perfectly round shiny head – for half an hour, and buying him a drink, Joe suggests they get out of there.

‘Oh, sorry buddy,’ Chuck says. ‘I must have given you the wrong idea. I’m not gay. Just here with some friends. You’re a handsome dude, for sure, but I’m into chicks – hefty pale white girls with glasses, to be precise. Something about them just gets me, you know?’

 By EM 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 #77: Arrangement

“What type of arrangement are you looking for?”

“Oh, just a short, casual one.”

“I might be able to accommodate you then.”

“Good.”

“Do you mind if I have a quick gander at your penis, though?”

“Of course.” He zips down and pulls it out. “Where are my manners?”

“That will do. You want to see my tits or anything?”

“No. I’m sure everything will be more than satisfactory.”

“Wednesday mornings for a month?”

“Fine with me.”

“Brief intervals of small talk with superficial interest in day-to-day affairs?”

“OK.”

“Good.”

“What about anal?”

“Anal? Let’s see. How about we do it once before I tell you I don’t like it.”

“Fair enough. Anything else?”

“Yes. Whenever we meet, I would like to call you Guido.”

“Guido?”

“Yes, Guido.”

“I have no problem with that.”

“And I’d like you to part your hair on the other side.”

“Can do. Anything else?”

“No, I think that about wraps it up.”

“Shall we meet here or at yours?”

“Perhaps a hotel.”

“Hotel it is. I’ll make arrangements and text you the details.”

“Till Wednesday then.”

“Yes. Looking forward to it.”

“You know what? So am I.”

“Coca Cola for the road?”

“Sure, as long as it’s cold.”

“Ice cold.”

“Then absolutely. I love an ice cold cola.”

 By E.M. Vireo

Drop #72: The Lot

You turn left on 19th, following the Puerto Rican chick in low-cut jeans till she peels off on 8th Ave. There’s a mixed group of twenty-something punks on the corner: three guys and two girls in faded skinny jeans, with mohawks and tattoos, but soft faces. You continue east collecting glances: one from a middle-aged Jewish lady with frazzled hair and red cheeks; another from a bony black dude in a white wife beater with an impressive afro.

You walk downtown on 6th Ave, stretching your legs through Chelsea where two plump Indian daddy’s girls waddle by in colorful swathes, and wiry Ethiopians move heavy cactuses, past the delis and coffee shops. You stop for a minute on 13th to watch a bus unload three German tourists in high heels and short skirts, giggling at something with wide mouths; an accountant type in his late forties, a gray striped suit and glasses; a tall MTR employee with dirty hands, and a Latina with short legs and greased back hair who smiles at you with the whitest teeth.

There are plenty of interesting characters between 14th and 4th, including a thirty-something broad in spandex and purple sneakers with a bare midriff and long red braids, and a guy, shirt draped over shoulder, with one of the three best six packs you have ever seen – actually, it’s more of an eight pack, with abs jamming into each other like they’re at war. You stop on 8th to watch the eclectic crowd at Gray’s Papaya dig into their dogs. You take a second to observe every face in the joint, lingering on the pale white girl with fake eyebrows and the mustached hipster.

You take a break at Washington Square Park, making a slow round, looking at the peeps and freaks and street performers. The juggler is great, doing his bit on a unicycle while cracking jokes – he seems Hungarian or Bulgarian, but you might be wrong. A girl is playing guitar on the grass at the south end. She has the sweetest round face and loveliest vibe. A scruffy guy straight out of Seattle is playing Alice in Chains covers a hundred yards over, and doing a great job too. A man with a huge belly and mean face stands watching, unimpressed. There are a couple of guys that look like drug dealers walking around all businesslike, one in an oversized football jersey and baggy jeans, the other in a white T and baseball cap. Who knows, though? Maybe they’re undercovers instead. A couple circles around on rollerblades holding iced coffees, both with just impossible bodies; a bearded hippie type does tai chi on a rug, and two intellectual types talk Woody Allen nearby. A tall skinny blonde sits chatting to a tall skinny brunette. Maybe they are models, one from Finland, one from Latvia, or maybe they’re just students taking in the sun.

You sit on the small wall near the pretzel cart, kick off your sandals and recall all the people you saw on route, and those you have just encountered in the park, confirming that you’d fuck every single one of them – that if you could, you’d give the lot of them the business; well, except maybe that guy with the belly watching the musician. Then you consider getting a knish.

By E.M. Vireo

Drop #59: Mosquito

Eleven-year-old Andy can’t sleep. And here’s the mosquito again, looking for blood: the obvious culprit. It disappears into the room’s broad expanse, then returns, buzzing intimately around his ear. If only he could kill it, things might be OK. But you can’t kill what you can’t get a hold of.

Andy is unnerved. He calls his parents: two lovely, caring adults, and they rush in with orange, open hearts. ‘Don’t worry, Andy. It will be alright. Don’t let a mosquito get you so down.’

They turn on the light and hunt the tiny vampire, the stealer of sleep. Dad finds it on the curtain and smacks at it with gusto. And when it escapes, mom gets in on the act, pinning it against the window to ensure a mangled death. Happy to have fixed the problem, they leave their boy’s room, sleepy but proud, secure in the fact that all is now fine.

But it is not fine. I know this because I am an omniscient narrator. You can picture me however you want: a thin bearded man with a limp, a midget with a lisp, a gray-haired gypsy woman with a glass eye and an orange cat, but that has no bearing on the story. All you need to know is that I am far more familiar with Andy’s situation than he is, or his parents are (bless their hearts), and I’m willing to share my knowledge with you. You see: though I’ve titled and set it up that way, this story isn’t really about a mosquito at all. It was merely a convenient scapegoat (insects so often are) to Andy, and a narrative mechanism to me. This story is about the exact night on which a boy is forced to make the jump from innocuous childhood to messy adulthood.

His parents have no idea that all night long, Andy’s been seeing images, and entertaining thoughts he is not yet capable of processing cleanly. Images of naked boys and their private parts. Thoughts of touching and playing and doing. And now they rush back in to fill the room’s dark silence. He hates them, yet welcomes them back; resents, yet molds them, and they make him feel uncomfortably warm and horribly intrigued, and of course, guilty too. No brand of lust is easy to fathom and harness at age eleven, and this one’s got him beat, at least for now. Here is a new hunger he has no place to put. And that is the root of his anxiety.

There. That’s all I wanted to say. I’m not sure I have a specific point to make. I just think the events of this particular night describe a loaded, meaningful moment in this character’s life and thought you’d be interested in the truth behind them. I thought it would be cool for you have a quick glance at the surface, before becoming omniscient too, and gaining deeper insight than the both kid and his parents do.

Who knows what will become of them all tomorrow, or later on in life. My knowledge is limited to the length of this story, and the night in question. And now, literally, I have nothing more to say.

By E.M. Vireo

Drop #46: Hope

I’m waiting in the bar for Max. He’s late, as usual. I’ll end up buying the drinks too since he’s always broke. I’ve been seeing plenty of the guy, though I can’t say why. He’s not particularly smart and never has anything interesting or unique to share, as if he has a doctorate in Cliché. He’s uncouth and offensive, dealing out inappropriate, insulting nicknames, and specializing in crass, teenage jokes. He’s annoying, drawing deep connections from events that didn’t really happen and expanding on them exponentially, and endlessly repeating exaggerated stories that should never have been told, even once.

Not that I care about how guys look, but there’s plenty amiss there too. He’s kind of flabby and loose and he dresses terribly – think red plaid shirts, oversized green jeans and laceless boots. His curly, shoulder-length mop is ever-greasy and he wears three earrings that really don’t fit. He sports a rather pubic beard on his neck and face, which I guess makes some sense since his mouth distinctly resembles an anus.

Anyway, the whole package is somehow dreary and obnoxious all at once – so why do I keep seeing him? Good question. A flaw of mine, and not his, I’m sure. I have several more that baffle me just as much.

Waiting for such a man upsets me, as does thinking about him, so I look around for something else to focus on. It doesn’t take long to find: a girl sitting at a table nearby, drinking a cocktail: curly amber hair, bright, soft skin stretched subtly over high cheek bones, and eyes that appear imbedded with a lovely, long ago memory. She is dressed in layers of gray, in an upscale way that calmly provokes through contour and fit. Her beauty, effortlessly detailed, seems too good for this place.

I keep observing. She is mesmerizing. Her mannerisms make her so: the way she sits and sways, one leg balancing on the other; the way she scratches her back over her shoulder (I’d love to help her out); the way her mouth plays with that thin red straw. She’s so charming, joking around with the waitress, her ready smile yielding tiny dimples, and it’s official: I’m half way in love.

I consider approaching but I’m nervous. She must have a boyfriend or need something more than I can offer. Few guys would be in her league. But come on, I think, what have you got to lose? She’s here alone and you’ll regret it if you don’t.

So I walk over and introduce myself.

‘Hi,’ she quickly says, sticking out a hand. ‘I’m Olivia. Nice to meet you.’ I love that name, and there’s that smile. It cuts me in the gut.

Wow, I think, this is going well, so I ask if I can join her.

‘Sure.’

‘Great,’ I say. I’m ecstatic. I never put much faith in destiny but this is starting to feel like it.

I make a joke or two and she laughs. I’m smitten. I’m just waiting for her to finish her drink so I can buy her another when I see Max coming through the door in his ugly plaid shirt. I’d forgotten all about him. He sees me and heads towards us and I feel disdain in a whole new way.

He’s walking over like a big, greasy goon and I’m slamming my brain for ways to get rid of him. I could pretend not to know him, call him crazy. I could say he insulted me, and how dare he act friendly. I could tell the truth: that I actually dislike and want nothing more to do with him. Murder even pleads a case, though only in panicked, paranoid flashes.

He’s almost here when a waitress drops a full tray of pints. Everything shatters with an instant stink and a layered, jarring racket. Patrons are startled, as am I, but when I look back at Olivia, she is only amused. ‘How many trays must have been dropped in the history of the world,’ she says. ‘I like the idea that each will have made a unique sound hitting the ground.’

That second, while we are still alone, I love a woman and hate a man more than I have ever done before; then Max reaches us.

‘How’d you like that for a dramatic entry!’ he says, smiling stupidly. ‘Great!’ he adds. ‘I see you’ve met,’

‘Yeah, just barely,’ says Olivia, then turns back to face me. ‘I’ve heard so much about you, Jack. I would have said hi sooner if I’d known it was you sitting there.’ She scoots over to let the appalling man slide in beside her.

‘I hope you don’t mind that I asked her to come,’ he tells me. ‘I know it’s kind of guy time!’ He froths out his rancid laugh.

He can’t be with her. Surely!

‘I can’t believe you two never met!’ Max says, hugging the inimitable beauty.

I feel a terrible sadness.

‘My favorite cousin!’ he adds.

I feel an incredible joy.

‘Pretty hot for a dyke, right?’

‘I’m not a dyke, Max!’

Hope, that plump, needy pigeon, soars again.

‘I’m a lesbian.’

Shot down for Sunday lunch.

‘A woman wantin’, lady huntin’, girl lovin’ lesbian.’

‘Plucked, gutted and braised with raisins.’

 

By E.M. Vireo