Not a real duck. A photograph of one. Did you think I meant a real duck, silly? That's because you're stupid.
I fish the papers out, my heart pounding in my freshly-shaved chest. There's a hand-written note attached. It reads, "Don't worry about wearing any jewelry. I'm planning on giving you a pearl necklace."
I sit back on my bed and take a closer look.
Hmmm, it's a menu.
Here, I'll describe what I can, but some of you may have just eaten. Look it up in the Urban Dictionary later, if you're still curious and aren't a Hollywood celebrity.
Christian Grey's Homestyle Sex Buffet
Alabama Hot Pockets
(You put your top lip on top, you put your bottom lip on the bottom, and you work the middle.)
The Hot Lunch
Texas Hot Plate
(You hook your thumb and forefinger like you're carrying a six-pack. Only it's not a six-pack, if you get my drift.)
(You pretend to do something, but you don't, and, when your partner looks back, you do it.)
(Something so depraved, it can't be explained on TV.)
The El Paso Theory
(There's a sex act named after every major metropolitan city or state... except El Paso.)
(No, I'm not talking about that annoying kid on The Walking Dead.)
(No, I'm not talking about that annoying kid on The Walking Dead.)
(This one requires someone eventually yelling out, "I'm a blast in a glass!")
The Kanye West
(Stopping in the middle of what you're doing, telling your partner how a previous partner did it better, then continuing.)
The Tony Danza
(Somewhere along the line you yell out, "Who's the boss?" Then you give your partner a donkey punch, and answer, "Tony Danza!")
The Cosby Sweater
(This one sounds fun. You eat your fill of a colorful cereal, then vomit on your partner's chest during--well, you know--giving them a colorful "sweater," like the kind Bill Cosby used to wear on his TV show.)
The Paris Hilton
(I don't want to be too specific, but, like Kansas, it's flat, white, and easy to enter.)
For The Kids
Panamanian Petting Zoo
(It's better that I don't even try to describe this one.)
(It's when you... and then you... and then... and then... excuse me, I need to throw up.)
(It's when you... and then you... and then... and then... excuse me, I need to throw up.)
(You smack your partner in the back of the head so that something in their mouth shoots out of their nose, making them look like an angry dragon.)
(Like a sniper, you shoot out your partner's eye with, well, you know, and then, when they get up to yell at you, you kick them in the shin so that they hobble around like a one-eyed, one-legged angry pirate.)
(You don't know. You don't wanna know.)
Teabag (no charge)
(And everything comes with a nice "glaze.")
That was the single most disgusting thing I've ever read, and I've read all three of the Twilight books. Twice. You think Christian would have included something a bit more classy in his menu, like butt plugs.
I read it again. Yeah, still disgusting. What would my parents think? Oh, that's right, they don't care.
My subconscious warns me to tread carefully. My inner goddess says to go for it. The third voice in my head keeps telling me to kill. Silly voice.
Whenever I think about Christian Grey, my inner goddess' eyes pop out like Jim Carey's in The Mask. Her mouth opens and her jaw hits the table. Her tongue rolls out of her mouth and flops to the floor with a wet thud. "Whatta man!" she'll say.
I think she's smitten with him.
Holy frijole, am I hungry. If the menu selections were food they would sound delicious, but they're not. They're just a list of different acts of hibbity-jibbity. I wanted to explore my sexuality, not be the main course in some psycho's decadent one-man dinner party. I look over the menu again. Should I start with a nice salad, or go straight to dessert? I wonder why there's not a Philadelphia Pizza on this thing.
My phone rings. It's my editor, Sid Rosen.
"An, Ana, ANA!" he greets me. "How ya doin', babe?"
"I'm fine, Ed," I tell him. "How are you?"
"Not good, babe," he answers. "Not good at all. You're killing me, Ana. Killing me."
"Why, Sid? What's wrong?"
"It's those pages you've been sending me."
"What about them?"
"They're so thin on content they'd have to run around the shower to get wet."
"Well, I'm doing my best, Sid. I don't..."
"Hey, I've got an idea. Why don't you write about you and Christian exchanging a bunch of emails with each other? That would really fatten things up."
"I don't know, Sid. Do you think that's realistic?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, a man--a billionaire--don't you think he'd be too smart to put something in writing that could be hacked or exploited by some exploiter? You ever hear of Monica Lewinski?"
"You ever hear of Anthony Weiner? I rest my case."
"I SAID I REST MY CASE! Trust me, babe, this idea's a winner."
"I don't know, Sid."
"Hey, I've gotta go, babe. What a surprise, Michael Jackson just walked through the door."
"Isn't Michael Jackson dead?"
"That's why it's such a surprise."
"Okay, Sid. Goo..."
Too late, he was done before I could finish. Just like Christian Grey.
Now, what am I to think of all this? The man--Christian Grey--drives me nuts. On the one hand, he has the dreamiest eyes a girl could get lost in. On the other hand, there's that limp. He told me he got it in Viet Nam.
"But you're too young to have served in Viet Nam," I told him.
"I was there for spring break," he answered, "and the hookers. I love their hairless little bodies."
"Vietnamese people are hairless?"
"They are when I get done with them."
Personally, I don't care for Vietnamese food. It makes me too gassy. There was a time when I was on a strict water-only detoxification diet. That's when I found out water made me gassy, too.
"Maybe you're lactose intolerant," my gay Mexican friend José once offered.
"How dare you call me intolerant," I chastised him. Why couldn't he have offered me a hot dog instead? "I'm as tolerant as the next guy, as long as the next guy is Mel Gibson."
As it turns out, lactose is some kind of thing in dairy products that some people's digestive systems can't break down and process. If you eat diary it can give you gas and explosive diarrhea. Explosive diarrhea is just like regular diarrhea, except more explosive.
I can live with that. And pizza.
But if there's one thing I love most of all, it's ice cream. I love ice cream, and if explosive diarrhea is the price I have to pay for eating a gallon or two in one sitting, then that's a price I'll gladly pay. I think this love affair with diary goes back to my childhood, when my father used to beat me with a cow.
Wasn't it the late, great humorist, Will Rogers, who said, "I've never met a mayonnaise I didn't like."? Well, when he said that he must have been thinking about me. That's been my problem my whole life, dead men thinking about me.
As opposed to Christian Grey, who's very much alive, except for his soul. And his cold, lifeless eyes. Eyes I could get lost in. But I've already said that. Thank goobers I get paid by the word.
I haven't been this confused since I had to figure out which bathroom to use at a LGBT convention, and I hate it, I Hate It, I HATE IT! I hate me, I hate my life, I hate Christian Grey, and I hate what he's doing to me. Why couldn't he have given me roses, preferably the edible kind, instead of some menu filled with some of the most vile, vulgar, and delicious-sounding selections this side of Madam Suki's Sushi Emporium & Nail Salon.
I close my eyes and drift off into a heavy sleep.
I don't know what my editor could even have been thinking about, I don't even own a computer, so I don't know how he expects me to exchange emails with Christian.
"Wake up, Ana," my roommate Kate interrupts my revery, "you have a delivery."
"Is it a pizza?" I ask, hopefully.
"No, it's a computer."
Aw, you can't eat a computer. Believe me, I've tried.
"That's right, ma'am," a male voice says, malefully. "A laptop, to be precise. It's the HAL 9001, a Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer, and it's courtesy of Christian Grey, Ltd."
What a jerk that Christian Grey is, I thought to myself. How dare he GIVE ME SOMETHING!
That's right! my inner goddess agrees with me.
You go, girl! my subconscious says.
The third voice in my head offers no opinion. It just sits there, cleaning its gun.
I look up and see a walking side of beef. If this were a movie, Rocky would be punching on him to get ready for a fight. Kate's noticed him, too, and she likes what she sees. I can tell by the puddle of drool at her feet.
"How thoughtful," Kate says. "Christian sent you a computer, and he sent me... him!"
"Sorry, ma'am," the delivery guy says to her, taking a step back. "But I'm supposed to set the computer up for Miss Steele here and show her how it works."
"Pish, posh," Kate says, taking his arm and leading him into her bedroom. "Pish, posh, I say. Have you ever heard of an Dominican Head Dunk?"
"No, ma'am," he answered. "I haven't."
"Well, you're in for a treat," she tells him and then turns to me and says, "You don't mind if I steal him from you, do you, Ana?"
"Well, can't he set up the computer and show me how to use it first?" I ask.
"I didn't think you would," she answers, and disappears with him into her room. She closes the door behind her. I hear her turn the lock. And then the other lock. And then the other.
She wasn't letting this one get away.
Oh, well... how hard can setting up a computer be?
By the next day, I've just about got it figured how to take my new laptop out of its box. Kate and the delivery guy are still in her room. I hear her charging up her defibrillator. She must have really shown him a good time.
With the computer out of the box it's a simple matter for me to plug the three-pronged electrical thingie into the three-opening electrical thingie in the wall and I watch--amazed--as the computer comes alive in my hands. There's probably a sexual metaphor there. Crap if I know what it is.
A large red light, round and located in the center of the computer, comes on. It reminds me of an eye--my father's, after a night of entertaining one of my "aunts"--and looks as if it's looking at me. I lean to the left, it seems to look to the left. I look to the right, the same thing. If I didn't know any better, I'd think...
Ding! the computer says, interrupting my train of thought. How cute. the computer dings! when it wants to get my attention. I wonder if I can get it to tell me where Kate hides the kielbasa.
I look. Oh, my. I already have a message. It's an email. And it's from Christian Grey!
I open it. It reads:
From: Christian Grey
To: Anastasia Steele
What? A knock, knock joke? I... uh... don't understand.
Another message from His Majesty. I open this one as well.
I said: KNOCK, KNOCK!
Oh, my. He sounds rather testy. I quickly answer back. I don't want him mad at me.
From: Anastasia Steele
To: Christian Grey
It sure was fun to Buster cherry.
How... how... romantic! If there's one thing Christian Grey is full of, it's romance. Yeah, he's full of it, all right.
I look back at the emails. My editor was right, they sure do take up a lot of space.
I don't make the same mistake, and I answer back quickly.
For future reference, Dewey have to use a condom?
Man, is this getting tiresome.
Oh my gosh, don't tell me Christian is one of those Star Trekkie freaks? Crap, do I find that hot.
Khan-dom! Do we have to use a Khan-dom?
Oh... a Khan-dom. Now it's all beginning to make sense.
Not use a Khan-dom? How stupid does he think I am? In this day and age where sexually transmitted diseases are as common as a White House denial, he's asking me if he can get out of using protection? I've never been more insulted in my life, so I write back:
Not if you don't want to.
Little Boy Blue.
Wow, I wonder what incredibly romantic thing he's going to tell me this time?
Little Boy Blue who?
Little Boy Blue Michael Jackson.
Hmm... lemme see that menu again.
I shut the computer off. The big red eye stays on. Does it ever turn off? I look into the black screen. My god! It's full of stars!
But I can't worry about that now, I've got to get to work. I'm not scheduled, and they're not expecting me, but it is my last week. Mr. and Mrs. Clayton will be glad to see me. They're like the parents I never wanted. I just wish Mr. Clayton didn't have such a hard fist. Mrs. Clayton, too.
Do I need a shower? I take a quick whiff. Hmm... nothing a little deodorant can't take care of. Or do I mean antiperspirant? My armpits are so confusing.
All thoughts of personal hygiene go out the door when I think about Christian Grey emailing me. Emailing me. Emailing ME! I hate to admit it, but Knock-Knock jokes make me hot ("Knock-knock!" Who's there? "Dwayne." Dwayne who? "Dwayne the bathtub! I'm dwowning!" [Mmm...I wonder where I left my vibrating toothbrush.]). How does Christian Grey know?
Still, I can't worry about that. Following the good example of my thoughts about personal hygiene, I head out the door as well.
"Bye, Kate!" I yell on my way out.
"Hep!" she yells back, sounding an awful lot like the delivery guy.
I wonder what "hep" means and why I'm hearing it all over the place these days. It must be a new way to say hello and goodbye, like "aloha" or "I'll call you."
I'm hard at work when José gives me a call around 11. That's 11 on the clock, not the volume knob on Spinal Tap's speakers.
"Hey, have you read my humor blog yet?" he asks me, sounding like the old José, lispingly pathetic. José is one of my oldest and dearest friends, but I have to admit that he's a bit of a--what word did Christian use?--spic-n-span?
I hate the thought of having to read his blog. It's such a pain when friends and relatives use their relationship to get you to do something for them that you don't want to do. Like drugs.
I really don't want to read his blog, it's probably written in Spanish, but how do I break it to him?
"I'm reading it right now," I tell him.
"I thought you were at work?" he asks me. Dang, how did he know? Besides my telling him, I mean.
"I am..." I say, choosing my words carefully. "I'm on a break."
"I thought you couldn't use the computer at work?"
"Did I say 'break'? I meant lunch. I went home for lunch. That's where I'm reading your blog."
"But I'm calling you on your work phone."
"You didn't let me finish, I went home for lunch, and now I'm back, and that's why I was able to read your blog."
"You said you were reading it right now."
"I am, only not right now right now, but right now earlier. When I was home. At lunch."
"I see," José says. He sounds as confused as a one-humped camel who likes to hump twice. "Well, which story do you like the best?"
"I like the one that was about that guy who did that thing at that place where all that stuff was going on."
"I thought that one would be your favorite. It's mine, too."
I can see Mr. Clayton, he's giving me the eye. I stock it with all the others.
"I've got to go," I tell José. "Come by in half an hour and we'll do lunch."
"I thought you already went to lunch?" he says. Man, that José sure does think too much.
"I'm talking about my second lunch. The one after my first."
José shows up exactly a half hour later. It's not that he's punctual, it's that he's unemployed, illegal, and has nothing better to do than live off the tax-payer's dime. He can do that, because the Democrats say so.
He bounds into the store like an idiot, which he is.
"Ana," he tells me, honestly happy to see me. He's also happy to see a free meal, which he knows he'll be getting from me. It's dark in the stock room where I am, and all I see are his eyes and his teeth. How can I stay mad at this Latin loser?
"Let's go," he says. "I'm starving. I also forgot my wallet."
"Don't worry," I tell him. "I've got it covered. Let me just tell Mr. Clayton I'm leaving."
I find Mr. Clayton. He's with Kate. She's buying a new battery for her defibrillator.
"I'll be with you in a second, Miss," he tells me. "Let me finish with this customer first." He turns back to Kate and tries to whisper. " And does that hundred get me a happy ending?"
"Don't be silly, Mr. Clayton," I say, trying to get his attention, "I'm not a customer. It's me. Ana."
"Ana. Ana Steele. I work here."
"Miss, I know every person who works for me, and I've never seen you before in my life."
"Kate," I beseech, "tell Mr. Clayton who I am."
"Do I know you?" Kate asks.
I give up.
"Well, I'm leaving for lunch," I tell the two of them.
"Be back in an hour," Mr. Clayton orders. "Whoever you are."
"Yes, sir," I say.
I respond well to orders.
I can't wait to get home. I have to empty my bowels, and I'm not allowed to use the one at work. I usually have to go behind the dumpster with the rest of the homeless.
Crap! Kate's home, and she's on my new computer. I really wanted to get on it and see if you-know-who has sent me another you-know-what.
"Kate," I tell her. "I can't believe you didn't back me up with Mr. Clayton."
She looks up from the screen. So does the red eye.
"Do I know you?" she says, her eyes never leaving the screen.
Oh, how can I stay mad at Kate, dear Kate? If I stayed mad at all my friends, then I wouldn't have any. Much like I don't now.
I look at the top of the screen. Ooh, ooh! I have something in my inbox! I'll go to the bathroom and take care of it later, meanwhile I can't wait to read the new email I see I've gotten from Christian.
I look at the screen. Kate's researching pictures of Bigfoot. Hmm... I see it's not just his foot that's big. Wait a minute! That's not Bigfoot! That's... that's...
After throwing up, I'm practically bouncing out of my chair with glee as I read the message that Christian has emailed me.
I'm sending you this via email because, as everybody knows, email is the most secure form of correspondence. There's not been a more secure form of communication since the mega-phone. I'd hate for any of this to be made public, like that unfortunate video I made with Kim Kardashian. Or was that Paris Hilton? I get the two of them mixed up, since they look so much alike.
Eh? Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton look nothing alike.
Christian: From my angle, they did.
How does Christian do that? It's like he can read my mind, or something.
Christian: Far from it, my dear. I know so much about you, Ana, and yet I know so little.
Me: What would you like to know, Christian?
Christian: I'd like to know what makes you who you are. What were your parents like?
My parents. Hmm...
Me: My parents, they always fought about the silliest things. The last time I saw them argue, they were fighting over the toilet plunger. My father didn't like being hit with it.
Christian: Well, that explains a lot.
Me: It explains what?
Christian: Like why you've never been on a date.
Me: I, too, so have been on a date, I type angrily. I remember my first date very fondly. I was so excited. My date wasn't as excited as I was, though. He never showed up. But what about you? Tell me something about yourself.
Christian: Well, I love fat chicks, baby. No matter where you grab them, it's like you're grabbing a breast. It's your turn, now. What was your first job?
Me: Well, believe it or not, my first job was at Hooters. I worked in the kitchen.
Christian: Your favorite food?
Me: I love a good burrito. They're like sleeping bags for beans. I used to like to drink carrot juice with them, but then I realized that carrots don't have any juice. What the heck had I been drinking all those years?
Christian: I've noticed, Ana, that there's not much you won't put in your mouth.
Me: Is that a bad thing?
Christian: Not from a man's point of view.
I'm starting to get tired of Christian's arrogance and the feeling of superiority he wields over me like some kind of wieldy-thingie. It's time to bring him down a peg or two.
Me: How would you know what a man's point of view is? I mean, other than the fact that you're a man, of course.
Christian: Ana, dear, I didn't mean to upset you, but everybody knows that sex is God's cruel joke on humankind. As a man gets older, he loses his natural horniness. As a women gets older, she gets hornier, but, unfortunately, by the time that happens, her virginia is already past its expiration date.
Me: Are you saying my virginia is past its expiration date?
Christian: I'm not saying anything of the sort. I'm just saying that women don't age like wine. They age more like milk. You might drink a glass of milk that's past its expiration date, but, trust me, you won't enjoy it as much.
Crap, the guy makes sense.
Urine secure, aren't you?
Well, I never. I'll show him that two can play at that game, so I type:
"Idaho," I write.
"You certainly are," he writes back.
Well, how rude.
I take the opportunity to type in "submissive" into Wikipedia. If you can't trust Wikipedia for good information, then who can you trust?
Oops! I accidentally type in "submarine" by mistake, and I spend the next few hours reading about these underwater miracles that were inspired by a longer-than-it-is-wide sandwich. Mmm... longer-than-it-is-wide. That makes me hungry. Now, where can I get a nice submarine sandwich?
I got it.
He's in the Navy, after all.
Only Popeye's doesn't serve sandwiches, they serve chicken. I'm so disappointed I can only eat two buckets of their extra-crispy. On my way there, I accidentally ran over an old homeless woman, but it wasn't serious. There weren't any witnesses.
Back home, I try my luck at the computer again. Submachine gun? No. Submerge? That just leads me back to "submarine." Submissive? Jackpot! Now I can see what all the fuss is about.
Hmm... so that's what a Pink Sock looks like. Why do all those Japanese people like to play with chocolate pudding? Is that a Baby Ruth?
Sorry, Christian, I think to myself, but there's no way I can go through any of this.
"What do you mean there's no way you can go through any of this?" he yells at me through an email. "Give me a second, I'll be right over."
A second later, there's a knock at the door.
"Holy smoke," I say, only I don't say smoke. Do I really need this? Right now? I need space. I need to think.
Why is thinking so hard?
Fifty Shades of Satire