Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fifty Shades of Satire (Chapter 6c)

I'm at Clayton's, bored out of my mind. There's a ton of stuff to do, but I just don't feel like doing any of it. Kate calls that Snagged-Me-A-Rich-Man-itis.
     I had told her of our plans to go out later.
     "Don't forget the way to a man's heart," she reminded me.
     "His stomach?" I offered, hopefully.
     "Further south," she corrected.
 
     My boss, Mr. Clayton--the owner of the store and my friend Paul's uncle--asks me if I know where he is.
     "You're standing right in front of me," I answer.
     "Not me, you idiot. Paul! Have you heard from him?"
     "Well, I thought I heard him yelling for 'hep' from the trunk of Christian Grey's car, but why would he be in Christian Grey's trunk and why would he be yelling 'hep'? What does 'hep' even mean?"
     We both get a hearty chuckle out of my ignorance.
 
     Crockett is waiting for me when I finally clock out and leave the hardware store. He's supposed to drive me to Christian's office "or die trying."
     Thanks to Kate, I'm ready for whatever's about to happen. Besides being groomed and deloused to within an inch of my life, she also made me do a short line of a white powdery substance "for energy."
     "What is it?" I asked her.
     "Nose candy," she answered.
     Oh, goody... I like candy.
     And then she had me take a few puffs from a hand-rolled cigarette "to take the edge off."
     "What is it?"
     "Herb."
     Besides their various medicinal properties, herbs are also a nice way to season your food without using salt. Salt is poison! If you don't believe me, just ask Lot's wife.
     "Here, take this," she said, handing me a pill. "It'll keep you from getting the munchies and give you additional energy."
     "What is it?"
     "Speed," she said.
     Speed?
     Only my favorite movie of all time. What's good enough for Sandra Bullock...
     "And for that additional energy, take this," she said, handing me another little pill. "It's a 'lude."
     "Allude to what?"
     "Exactly."
     She waited a few minutes, then...
     "How do you feel?"
     "Totally sober."
     "Good," she said, and handed me a little blue pill.
     "And what's this?" I asked her.
     "Insurance."
    
     Once I'm at Christian's office at the top of the building, we immediately catch the elevator down to the first floor.
     "Where are we going?" I ask him.
     "Someplace special," he says.
     We step off the elevator--What is it about elevators?--walk out of the building, and step into the limousine I arrived in. Crockett holds the rear door open for both of us and accidentally slams it shut on my hand.
     "Sorry, ma'am," he apologizes, and then does it again.
     I don't care. I'm in love.
     "Where are we going?" I ask Christian again.
     "You'll see."
     Crockett drives us to the back of the building, where the prickly Mr. Grey's personal helicopter sits on his private helipad. I look up at Christian perplexed.
     "Where are we going?" I ask a final time.
     "Shut your pie hole."
     We climb into the helicopter, and, as Christian straps me in, his hand "accidentally" brushes against my breast.
     "I wish they were bigger," I admit to him.
     "What?" he says. He seems honestly confused about my confession.
     "My breasts. I wish they were bigger."
     "Try rubbing toilet paper on them."
     "Toilet paper? Does that really work?"
     "Why not? Look what it did to your bottom."
     As it turns out, the hand belongs to Crockett. I accidentally sat on him. Silly me, that's how I lost my cat.
     Mr. Grey straps himself in next as a voice comes over the helicopter's radio.
     "Ground control to Major Tom," the voice says.
     I look at Christian in surprise, and mouth the words, Major Tom? He shrugs sheepishly. Who knew he was into Bowie? What a freak!
     After a gentle reminder to take our protein pills and put our helmets on, ground control okays us for take-off. As I feel the ground move away from us, it reminds me of Chuck Norris. Did you know that when Chuck Norris does a push-up, he doesn't lift himself away from the Earth, he pushes the Earth away from himself!
     That's a fact!
     The helicopter goes up, up, and lands on a helipad at the top of the building.
     Helicrap!
     "Weren't we just here?"I ask him.
     "The rich are a curious bunch," he explains. "We all have our quips and quirks, our odds and ends, our abbotts and costellos." But apparently no common sense. "Why sit when you can stand? Why stand when you can walk? Why walk when you can drive? Why drive when you can fly?"
     I look at my inner goddess. She fell asleep during his monologue. I wake her up.
     "Hey! Where's my subconscious?" I ask her.
     "She gave me five bucks to take her place once your boyfriend started talking."
     Lucky her.
    
     "And this, Ana, is my Batcave," he says leading me back inside the building, and dang if we don't walk into a room that looks exactly like Batman's Batcave.
     There's the cap and cowl. There's the giant penny. There's the mechanical dinosaur. There's the giant joker card. It's exactly like the comic book. Aw... and there's a cute little kitten dressed in a Batcat costume.
     "That's Fluffy," Christian tells me. "The only thing I've ever loved."
     "Well, riddle me this, Christian," I say. "Am I gonna get lucky here or what?"
     I'm surprised by my boldness, but, let's face it, I'm a 21-year-old virginian whose lower extremities haven't been filled since I accidentally sat on my cat.
     Mr. Grey is surprised, too. He hands me several pages of paper--a contract--and asks me to sign my name at the bottom. I don't bother reading what it says, and sign My Name where it indicates.
     "Now, come to mama!" I say, opening my arms and shimmying my shoulders as I waddle toward him seductively.
     "Not so fast," he says, giving me a loving shove back.
     I bump into the giant penny. It falls over, tears the huge joker playing card in two, and lands on the cat.
     OMG! Fluffy!
     I look frantically at my inner goddess. Her eyes are wide and her jaw just hit the floor. She wakes my subconscious up, gives her her five dollars back, makes like an amoeba, and splits!
     Fluffy can't be dead, can she?
     "Meow!" comes a plaintive cry from under the giant penny. Oh, thank Goobers... Fluffy's ALIVE!
     Relieved, I put a hand on the mechanical dinosaur to steady myself, and that causes it to take one giant step forward.
     On the penny!
     "YEOW!"
     Splat!
     "Fluffy? Fluffy?"
     Thankfully, Christian has his back to me. He's moved on to talking about onions and doesn't notice. I have to distract him. So...
     "What do you mean 'not so fast'?" I say, feigning anger.
     "I mean, why hurry? We have all night and so many pages to fill. Besides, we have to go over the Do's and Don'ts."
     "The Do's and Don'ts?"
     "Yes, the Do's and Don'ts. The birds and bees. The simons and garfunkles. The things you'll do because I want you to, and the things you don't... unless I tell you to."
     "That sounds fair."
 
 
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Fifty Shades of Satire (Chapter 6b)

When I finally make my way into my duplex I fully expect to see not-Willie-Nelson, but the surprising Kate Kavanaugh manages to surprisingly surprise me one again.
     "Well, look who the cat dragged in," I say, and then stop in my tracks. There are two strange Asian men sitting at the table eating the breakfast of champions. From the bathroom, I can hear some strange noises. I guess Kate ate a bad clam.
     "Who are you?" I asked the one who was obviously in charge.
     "That is correct," he answered.
     "What is correct?"
     "I am Hu."
     "That's what I'm asking."
     "Asking what?"
     "Who you are."
     "That is correct."
     "What is correct?"
     "Hu I am."
     "I don't understand."
     "Hu is my name."
     " 'What is my name?' "
     "What?"
     "You mean, 'what' is your name. Not 'who.' "
     "My name is Hu, not What."
     "That doesn't even make sense. You should learn how to speak English."
     "Yu speak English," he says, pointing to his friend.
     "Yes," his friend says.
     "That's not you," I correct him. "That's him. He speaks English."
     "Him not he, him Yu."
     "No, he's not."
     "He not Yu?"
     "No, I'm 'you.' "
     "You're Yu?"
     "Yes," I say, pointing to myself. "Me. Me!"
     He points to his friend.
     "Yu 'he'?" he says, and looks at me for confirmation.
     "That's right," I say, nodding my head.
     He points at me.
     "You 'Yu'?"
     "Now you've got it," I say, encouraging him.
     He then points to himself.
     "And me Hu."
     I slap my hand down hard on the kitchen table.
     "And that's what I'm trying to find out!"
     Fortunately, that's when Kate finally comes out of the bathroom and straightens the whole thing out. She tells me that once she found out she wasn't diddling with the real Willie Nelson, she dumped that homeless guy like he was, well, homeless. And that's when she picked up China's President Hu, who was in the country to ignore President Obama.
     She took him home, and had wild Asian sex with him.
     "He was insatiable," she tells me.
     "Who?"
     "That's right."
     After they were done, he--Hu--went into the bathroom, and came out a minute later, ready for some more action. This happened five more times. They'd have sex. He'd go into the bathroom. And then he'd come out, raring to go another time. And another time. And another time. And another time. And another.
     Finally, she had to go to the bathroom, and that's where she discovered the six Chinese nationals who had snuck in the bathroom window the original Hu had opened when he first went in there.
     I look at Hu. He's nodding in agreement, proud of himself.
     "Mr. Chinese President," Kate tells him, pointing at me, "this is my friend Anastasia."
     "Anastasia?" he asks, his eyes widening, which isn't an easy thing for him to do.
     "Yes," I confirm. "Anastasia."
     "Oooh," he says. "What a funny name."
 
 
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Fifty Shades of Satire (Chapter 6a)

Christian closes the passenger-side door to "the best damn Yugo money can buy."
     And what a magnificent beast it is! It has four tires, all black. The front windshield is transparent so you can see through it. It also has a rear-view mirror and two doors, with front seats that can be moved forward to allow access to the rear seat where he has me laying face-down with my wrists lovingly tied to my ankles behind my back, shaping me into a human triangle. My mouth is duct-taped "for safety."
     Is that Paul's muffled voice I hear coming from the trunk. No, that would be silly.
     The duct-tape eventually comes loose, another benefit of having an oily complexion, and I'm able to speak through it, half on and half off.
     "Nice song," I sputter through the tape as it playfully flutters in and out of my mouth like a lover. I'm rocking gently forward and backward with every press of the gas pedal or brake.
     "You like it?" Christian smiles, liking that I like it. "It's the band Southern Culture On The Skids." He thoughtfully checks on me in that conveniently located rear-view mirror I mentioned before. "Don't try to get up," he says. "We're still playing Don't-Let-The-Public-See-You-In-My-Car."
     I listen to the words of the song. They're like poetry. Poetry written just for me.
 
Well, she ain't good-looking
but I ain't that smart,
but that ol' woman
done stole my heart.
   
     Is he trying to send me a message?
 

Yes, we ain't got much,
but we got one another,
and when she pulls out them choppers,
she reminds me of mother.
 
     Uh... maybe not.
 
So put your teeth up on that window sill.
Tell the neighbors to let us be.
Oh, can't they see, that we're in love.
That we're in love.
 
     Dang that Christian Grey, I think to myself, only I don't think "dang." He drives me crazy constantly sending me these mixed signals.
     "Do you enjoy the classics?" he asks, interrupting my revery. Reverie. Um... thoughtful contemplation.
     "The classics?" The classics?
     "Yes, the classics."
     "I don't know," I admit, embarrassed by my lack of class and worldliness.
     "If you're good, I'll introduce you to a great singer I'll never forget. Johnny, no, make that Jimmy Soul. You should listen to 'Happy for The Rest Of Your Life'."
     "Really? Why?"
     "You just should."
     We're interrupted by the sound of his cell phone ringing through the car's speakers. He presses a button on the steering wheel, and a voice speaks. I guess when you're a billionaire your life is a constant stream of interrupting phone calls.
     "No, thank you," he tells the caller, "I'm quite happy with my cell phone service," and hangs up.
     He looks back at me apologetically.
     "I'm sorry," he says. "when you're a billionaire, your life is a constant stream of interrupting phone calls."
     He drives, and I'm just enjoying our opportunity for small talk.
     "Yes," he tells me, "it's a dog-eat-dog world, and I love the taste of dog. It's like the old saying: 'The enema of my enemy is my friend.' "
     "Enemy," I tell him.
     "What?"
     "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."
     He chuckles to himself, and lifts one sarcastic eyebrow in a John Belushi impersonation.
     "If you say so," he says. "If you say so."
     He grows quiet, thinking. What might be going through that beautiful head of his I'll never know.
     "So, you're telling me and everybody else who can read that you've never been kissed?" he says.
     "That's right," I tell him. "Never."
     "And no one's ever held your hand?"
     "Once, when I was a little girl, I tried to hold my mother's hand, but she wanted to wait until we got to know each other better."
     He's shaking his head. I look at my subconscious. She's shaking her head, too. No, wait. That's just an epileptic attack. My subconscious will do anything for a little bit of attention.
     What the heck... so will I.
     "Like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie... I'm a virginian."
     "WHAT THE ...!" Mr. Grey says, only he doesn't say "...!"
     He slams on the brake--hard! The car lurches to a stop. I jerk forward, bounce off the front seats, and land back in my original position.
     "You're a virginian?"
     "Yes," I admit, sheepishly. I've just learned, honesty is overrated.
     "You haven't done the oingo-boingo?"
     "No."
     "Made the beast-with-two-backs?"
     "No."
     "Been given the ol' slippity-slip?"
     "No."
     "Served anybody the poor-man's-caviar?"
     "No, no, No, NO, NO!"
     I'm on the verge of tears.
     Mr. Grey tries to stifle his laughter, but it comes out in a spray of spit and goobers.
     "Ana, sweet Ana," he comforts me. "I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you. Okay, I am laughing at you, but I'm also laughing because it reminds me of something that happened when I was on Spring Break in Pensacola."
     "Florida?"
     "No, the soft drink. Anyway, as I was walking along the beach I came across a beautiful young girl, all alone, without even any arms or legs to keep her company."
     "She didn't have any arms or legs?"
     "That's correct. And the poor dear was crying. All by herself.
     " 'What's the matter, miss?' I asked her. 'Why are you crying?'
     "She sobbed even harder.
     " 'I'm crying because, since I have no arms or legs, I've never been hugged,' she told me.
     "So I kneeled close to her and hugged her tightly.
     " 'Now you've been hugged,' I told her.
     "But she was still crying.
     " 'Why are you still crying?' I asked her.
     " 'Because,' she said, 'since I don't have any arms or legs, I've never been kissed.'
     "So I scooped her up in my arms and gave her a long, lingering kiss.
     " 'Now you've been kissed," I told her.
     "But this only made her cry harder.
     " 'Jeez!' I said. 'Didn't I just hug you and kiss you? What is it now?'
     "Between sobs, she admitted her deepest, darkest secret.
     " 'Because I have no arms or legs, I've never been screwed.'
     "I'll always remember her blue, no, make that brown eyes. I was still holding her in my arms, so, in an act of compassion...  I threw her into the ocean!
     " 'Now you're screwed!' I called after her.
     "I like to think that, as she went under, she was grateful."
     His eyes grew distant, lost somewhere in his memories of the past, and again he grew quiet and thoughtful.
 
     He pulls up outside my duplex. And walks me to the front door. We make plans to go out later. And he leaves.
     I'm sure it's just by accident that he forgets to untie me.
 
 
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Fifty Shades of Satire (Chapter 5)

I'm having a wonderful dream.
     In it, I'm sleeping and dreaming that I'm asleep. I can't wait to wake up, because, when I do, I'll be triply refreshed. (And, yes, I did just make up the word "triply.")
     In my dream, I see my subconscious. She's snoring like a pig.
     Christian Grey walks into the room, and I rouse from my slumber. I can't believe how comfortably I slept, but then I'm used to falling asleep in strange places.
     Mr. Grey--hair wet, skin glistening with beads of water--has just gotten out of the shower. He's still wearing the red rubber ball. Only not on his nose.
     I yawn and stretch. Oh my gosh! I'm completely naked underneath the silk sheets!
     "Did I...?" I ask, seductively.
     "No," he answers.
     "Did you...?" I ask, accusingly.
     "No."
     "Did we...?" I ask, disappointedly.
     "No."
     "Are you sure?"
     "Of course I'm sure," he laughs, classily adjusting the ball. "I was there."
     "I mean, I'm completely naked. Did you do that?"
     "Did I do what?" he asks.
     "Take off my clothes and put me to bed."
     "No. That was Doobie, my manservant. He put you to bed."
     "And where did you sleep?" I ask, hopefully.
     "In the same bed, with you," he tells me, matter-of-factly.
     In the same bed?
     Jeez, you would think a nice place like Motel 6 would have a suite with a second bedroom. I can't believe we spent the whole night in the same bed and didn't have sex. What are we? Married?.
     "Can I ask you a question?" he says, asking me a question.
     I nod.
     "How can these chapters be so long when nothing ever happens in them?"
     I have no answer.
 
     We sit for breakfast. I'm famished, but I eat lightly, not wanting to seem like a glutton.
     A full ham later, we're ready to leave. I dab daintily at the corners of my mouth with one corner of tablecloth.
     "Even though it was the middle of the night," he was explaining to me, "and the stores were all closed, I sent Doobie out to buy you a choice of something non-vomity to wear. It's on the bed. Take your pick"
     I look. As if by magic, the bed is already made and two beautiful outfits are delicately laying on top. One is a catholic schoolgirl's uniform, and the other is a thong.
     I choose the schoolgirl's outfit. I peek at the label. Oooh, it's from the Rosanne Barr collection. It fits perfectly.
     He opens the front door. My parents are on the other side.
     "Mom! Dad!" I say, surprised. "I thought you were dead!"
     "We only wish we were," they say, eyeing my outfit.
     Once inside the elevator, Mr. Grey gives me a hungry look.
     "There's something about you, Miss Steele," he says, "but I can't quite put my finger on it."
     "Well... maybe if you stood closer," I suggest, and with that he ravages me like the ravaging ravenger that he is.
     His strong hands grab my head like a vise, and lifts my lips up to meet his. His talented hips press the going down button, but I don't take the hint. His flatulent foot holds the elevator door open, and a stern-looking nun walks into the cramped space at the last second.
     I open one eye, and peek at my parents. What could they possibly be thinking about our lustful indiscretion?
     They're busy making out with each other!
     Is that what we look like?
     Ewww!
 
     "What is it about elevators?" Christian asks the nun, as the elevator comes to a stop. She shrugs her shoulders.
     The doors open, and his parents are standing on the other side.
     "Mumsie! Dadsie! I thought you were dead!" he says, surprised. He disentangles himself from me, and gives them a big-boy hug.
     "I only wish I was," his mumsie says, checking me out.
     "Nice thong," his father says.
 
     I can't believe it. Kate and Jose are here, too. They are both dressed in beautiful satin bridesmaid dresses.
     "How was Willie Nelson?" I ask her with a sarcastic grin.
     "It wasn't Willie Nelson," she tells me, sticking out her tongue and not in the fun way. She nods toward Jose.
     "Dreamy," he says.
     The biggest surprise of all is Father Pelado, my old neighborhood priest. I haven't seen him in years. Ever since he excommunicated me for boring him with my confession. I fondly remember the enthusiasm he use to show when it was time to feed the altar boys their communion wafers back in the rectory with the lights off to make it more spiritual.
     I turn to Christian.
     "How?" I ask him, stunned. "How did...?"
     He puts a finger to my lips, silencing me. It smells like teen spirit.
     "Will you marry me?" he says, getting down on one knee.
     "Christian," my voice breaks, "I am near tears. I don't know what to say."
     "Please," he says, "call me Mr. Grey. Now, will you? Will you?"
 
     "Will you ever wake up?" Mr. Grey is saying as I wake with a start. I'm laying in his bed, naked underneath the silk sheets.
     Christian Grey is standing there, still wearing the red rubber ball.
     Only not on his nose.
 
 
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Monday, March 3, 2014

Fifty Shades of Satire (Chapter 4)

"I never want to see you again in my life," he tells me, his eyes soft but hard, his voice kind but cruel, his arms strong, but also letting me drop to the concrete sidewalk.
     I bounce back up and wiggle my way back into his arms like an intestinal parasite. He tries to soften the blow.
     "It's not you, it's me," he says. "Okay, it's you, but it's also me. But just a little bit me. In fact, my part in it is so small that, statistically speaking, it's not me at all, but you. Since I'm a gentleman, however, I'll include myself. (But it's not me.)"
 
     I make it back to the apartment I share with Kate, and she immediately sees that I'm crying.
     "Ana! What's wrong? What did he do? Did he take you to bed and call you by my name?"
     "Worse," I tell her.
     "He called you by Jose's name?"
     "Worse than that. I was ready to give him my most precious gift, my celebrity nose-hair collection, but he told me... he told me..."
     "That you're fat?"
     "No."
     "That you're ugly?"
     "No."
     "That you're fat and ugly?"
     "No, he told me he didn't want to see me again. Waaah!"
     "That jerk!" Do you know what you need? You need to go out and get drunk."
     "But we have finals."
     "Don't worry about your finals. My dad has already bought my grades for this semester, and I'm sure he'll do the same for you. Of course," she says seductively, giving me a conspiratorial wink, "he may want something in return."
     "Like what?"
     "Oh, I don't know," she says, looking around the room, feigning innocence. "Something like... your celebrity nose-hair collection!"
 
     We're at the Old Plantation again. We come here all the time to dance. There's nothing but guys here, so you would think a girl could get lucky once in awhile, but I'm the kind of girl who couldn't get lucky in a men's prison with a fist full of pardons.
     You know who's here, too? Sure, you do. Come on, take a guess. That's right... Jose. He comes by our table with a pitcher of margaritas.
     "By the time we're done with you tonight, honey," he says, "you'll be over that Christian Grey character."
     I only wish I could be over Christian Grey. I wish I could be all over him.
     "I don't know how you can tell me that with a straight face," I say.
     "Oh, honey, I'm gay," he says back. "I never say anything with a straight face."
     We drink, we laugh, we drink some more. All that booze goes to my head, and somehow makes it's way further south. I feel a heaviness in the lower part of my digestive tract and excuse myself to go to the little girl's room.
     I go into a stall and make myself at home. My cell phone rings just as I'm getting in the mood. I look to see who it is... OMG! It's him! How did he get my number? I guess when you're a billionaire you can get anything you want. Besides that, I gave it to him.
     "Hello," I say, my voice a whisper.
     "Ana?" he says in that magnificent voice of his. "Is this you? You sound like you're talking in an echo chamber."
     "Um..." I say, "it must be the connection."
     I shift uncomfortably on the seat.
     "What was that?" he asks. Great, he's rich, he's handsome, AND he's got super hearing.
     "What was what?"
     "That noise I just heard."
     "What noise? I didn't hear any noise."
     "Is there a thunderstorm where you're at?"
     "No, no. I'm inside, as a matter of fact. It's the connection, I tell you."
     Just then, the toilet flushes in the stall next to mine.
     "Uh... gotta go," I say, and hang up. My subconscious looks at me in disbelief.
     She's wearing a gas mask.
 
     No sooner do I exit the bathroom, than Jose accosts me aggressively in the hallway. To get away from him, I step outside the building where there are no witnesses.
     "Ana!" he calls after me. "Ana! Don't go. Cuando para mucho mi amore de felice corazon."
     I stop. It's serious when he starts speaking that no-hablo-engles crap.
     "Okay, okay, Jose... what do you want?"
     He gets up close to me, our bodies barely not touching each other. I can feel the warmth of the dance floor on his skin. I smell the margarita on his breath. His face is nearly touching mine.
     "Ana," he tells me, 'I don't know how to tell you this, but I've been wanting to tell you for the longest time."
     "Tell me what?"
     "It's just that, ah, well..."
     "Come on, Jose, just spit it out," I say, spitting on the sidewalk to encourage him.
     "We've been friends a long time, and, I, well, ah... I've started writing a humor blog, and I want you to read it!" he finally says, it all comes gushing out at once like something that gushes out really quick and all at once.
     So, that's what it is. Man, I can't even go to Walmart without running a gauntlet of people wanting me to read their blogs. Even my subconscious has hidden away, not wanting his subconscious to show her his latest story.
     "No," I tell him. "I can't."
     "Come on, Ana," he pleads.
     "No, really."
     "Please, Ana, carino."
     "You won't respect me if I do."
     "I'll respect you even more if you do."
     "Please, Jose. Don't force me."
     "Your lips are saying no, but your eyes are saying yes."
     "No."
     "You know you want to."
     "Jose... no.. please."
     "You'll like it, I promise."
     "THE LADY SAID NO!"
     "Holy moly!" I say, only I don't say "moly."
     It's Christian Grey, and he's here!
     Jose puts his blog back in his pants, and disappears so fast you would have thought that Immigration just showed up.
 
     Christian watches Jose furiously as he leaves. He chants, "Attica! Attica!" at him, his fist pumping dramatically in the air like Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon. I guess Mr. Grey must have been out conducting important business with Willie Nelson when he called me, because the wrinkly old unbathed-looking country outlaw is standing just behind him. He has Grey's back. Maybe, when he's done, he'll even give it back.  Hmm, if I didn't know it was Willie Nelson, I could swear it was just some random homeless guy off the street.
     Christian looks magnificent. He's wearing a three-piece white suit made from the finest Italian polyester money can buy. The buttons to his black faux-silk shirt are undone, showing off an impressive gold chain with a large religious medallion dangling in the front framed by an expanse of hairy chest. His black platform shoes glisten like a sparkly vampire in the evening light. His hair is combed back like greased lightning, ready to fight... or to make love.
     Mr. Grey has something else in mind.
     He grabs my hand hard, almost hurting me, and drags me back into the club. As if on cue, the DJ starts playing "You Should Be Dancing" by the Bee Gees. The crowded dance floor parts like Moses and the Red Sea. Christian spins me around furiously, and then suddenly stops, one hand pointing in the air, and the other on his hip. I can only stand back in my red dress and look at him in awe.
     Oh, if I could only describe to you how beautifully he danced that night, but that would take some real talent, so I won't. After he finishes his solo routine down the dance floor and back up, he takes me by the hand and starts to spin me. Spinning and spinning. Faster and faster. I'm having such a good time I start to throw up. I look like a lawn sprinkler, shooting out vomit on the crowd. Not all of the crowd, mind you. Just the lucky few who happen to be standing closest to us.
     "We're leaving," he tells me. Jeez, doesn't anybody ever ask anybody any more?
     I look for Kate. I see her macking on Willie Nelson on the dance floor. If I know Kate, she's going to make his blue eyes cry in the rain, if you get my drift.
     "Look," I tell Mr. Grey, nodding my head toward the lusty couple. "Kate and your friend Willie Nelson won't even know we've left."
     "Who?" Christian asks, looking in the direction I'm indicating.
     "Your friend. The guy Kate's practically having sex with on the dance floor. Willie Nelson."
     Christian turns back, and we start heading toward the door.
     "That's not Willie Nelson," he tells me.
     The information makes my head swim, and I can feel the floor rising up to meet my face.
     "Fudge!" I hear Mr. Grey say.
     Only he doesn't say "fudge."
 
 
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