"Ana, you look like you've just seen a ghost," my mother says, coming over, and, in her concern, passes out on the floor at my feet.
"Christian, this is my mother," I say, introducing the two of them. "She's not drunk, she's just resting her eyes."
"Should we move her someplace more comfortable?" Christian offers, helpfully.
I nudge her with my foot. Christian too.
"I think she'll be okay," I tell him and pick up my book from where I left it.
He looks at the cover.
"Ah," he says. "Leopold Stotch. His childhood nickname was Butters, you know."
I knew, but pretended I didn't, like a good girlfriend does.
"I read his second novel, The Poop That Took A Pee, just after I flunked out of Pencey Prep, a preparatory school. It was the only thing I took with me. I read it while I was hanging around the Dakota in New York."
"What did you think of it?"
His eyes grow dark.
"It inspired me to kill the phonies."
Hunh? Ah? Wha?
And then I remember his "dinner" with his "friend." That just brings my dander up all over again. I dust off my shoulder and say, "I thought you and your 'friend' would be out trick-or-treating or something."
"Please, Ana," he says, his voice becoming hard, "it's not like you caught me at London's Cirque Le Soir. My 'friend' and I are just that: friends. What we had, we had years ago. She was having problems in her marriage, and I was having problems getting laid. Her husband was cheating on her with an intern at work, and we, ah, 'consoled' each other, but it never went any further than the physical. Now we're friends, and I'm grateful to her. She helped me start my first business, in fact. Clips & Nips, a topless barber shop. She saved me from myself and introduced me to myself."
"That's ridiculous," I tell him. "Only a crazy person has different 'selves.'"
My subconscious and inner goddess both nod their head in agreement.
"Aren't you at least going to tell me her real name?" I continue. "I'm tired of referring to her as Mrs. Robinson."
"All I can tell you, Ana, is to never see a physician by the name of Dr. Acula. All he ever wants to do is draw blood."
"I'm serious, Christian."
"So am I," he says, rubbing his neck.
"Please," I whine. "Please, please, please, please, pleeeze!"
"I'm afraid I can't."
"How about her first name? Surely, you can tell me that much."
"Well, I could, but not if you keep calling me 'Shirley.'"
I unleash my secret weapon: my pouty face. He finally gives in when I tilt my head pathetically to the side.
"If you must know, her first name is Hillary and the reason I can't tell you her last name is because she's running for president."
My jaw drops to the floor, tripping a careless passerby. Surely, he can't mean...
"The last time we had sexual relations," he tells me, "we were in North Carolina for a weekend drive, just seeing the sights and stopping every now and then to 'scare the raccoons,' if you get my drift. Our fuel was low, so we stopped at a gas station. The attendant's name was Goober, at least according to the nametag stitched over the breast pocket of his uniform, and he asked us if we wanted the tank filled.
"'Yes," Hillary told him, 'and please check the fluid levels under the hood, as well as the air pressure on the tires. All four of them.'
"I laughed at her.
"'What are you laughing about?' she said, laughing too.
"'Well, I know you're married to the President of the United States of America, but what do you think would have happened if you had married Goober instead?' I asked, pointing to the attendant who was trying to figure out how to open the hood.
"Her look turned serious, and then she told me even more seriously, 'If I was married to Goober, then he'd be the President of the United States of America.'
"'Point taken,' I said, duly chastised.
"So you see, dear Ana, it wouldn't have worked out between us in a romantic way even if I wanted it to, which I didn't, as I've no interest in ever becoming the president. I couldn't afford the pay cut."
"Oh, that's a scary thought."
"You, as president."
"Is it really?" he says with a smirk.
"Yes, that thought's scarier than a haunted house."
Christian's smirk turns into a full-blown smile at that.
"What are you smiling at?" I ask him.
"That reminds me of my college years living in the dorm, when my friends and I would huddle around the Victrola crying to Judy Garland records. You see, the scariest haunted house I ever went to was on Halloween in Florida at the Chi Omega sorority house at FSU. I remember walking down the long hallway and each girl would open her bedroom door and tell me, 'Christian... I'm pregnant.' 'Christian... I'm pregnant.' 'Christian... I'm pregnant.' It was terrifying. I still have nightmares."
"What happened to those girls?"
"Sadly, my best friend Ted Bundy broke into the sorority house the following January and solved the problem for me."
He curls his forefinger up and down.
"Redrum," he says.
Christian's nostrils suddenly flare. His voice becomes husky with hunger. I'm hungry, too, but in a different way. I wonder what Ronald McDonald is doing?
"I want you, Ana," he tells me, stepping over my mother. "I want you bad. And I have to have you. I have to have you now."
With that declaration, Christian snaps his fingers. Crockett appears from the ether and quickly empties the room of all the excess first class air passengers. Some of them have to be encouraged with a swift kick from his Gucci loafers. Funny, I never noticed before that he didn't wear socks.
When it's only me, Christian, and my unconscious mother, Crockett walks over to the wall behind the mini-fridge and pushes. Osh kosh b'gosh! It's a false wall, and on the other side is a bedroom.
"How did you know?" I ask Christian.
"How did I know what?" Christian replies, coyly.
"How did you know there would be a bedroom behind that wall?"
"I had it built, knowing that you would be here," he explains. "Just in case you feel the need to do the cha-cha lying down."
It's my turn to be coy.
"Do the what?"
"Cha-cha. You know, bump uglies."
"Bump uglies. You know, riding the baloney pony."
"Riding the baloney pony?" I rinse, lather, and repeat. I didn't know Christian could be so romantic.
Gosh, I don't know what to think. On the one hand, I want Christian so bad I wish I could come up with a clever metaphor that's both original and funny. On the other hand, it goes against everything I was raised to believe in. I can remember the Reverend Pryor, even now, reading in church from the Book of Wonder.
"'If you believe in things,'" he thundered from his altar, "'that you don't understand, then you'll suffer. Superstition ain't the way!'"
Oh, it was superstition he was talking about, not sex. I guess that makes it okay. I follow Christian into the room. It's a huge round room with a huge round bed in the middle of the huge round floor. There's a fish tank in the corner. Um, I mean if a round room can have a corner. I bet in quantum physics it can.
"Why a fish tank?" I ask, curious.
"I like to have an audience," he explains. "It adds a little spice to the proceedings. I'm old-school, Ana. In my day, we didn't even have Viagra. You actually had to be attracted to a girl to have sex with her."
"Are we going to do it doggy-style?"
"With you, Ana, every style is doggy-style."
"That is so rude."
"What do you mean? I love dogs."
With that he flops me backward onto the bed.
Finally, what I've been waiting for, the big sex scene of the book. Maybe this time I'll even get some foreplay. My Inner Goddess rubs her hands briskly together in antici... PAYshun. I remember asking Kate what foreplay was once.
"You know how when you're hungry for something but you don't know what?" she said, answering my question with a question of her own. "You eat this and you eat that, but somehow it's never what you want?"
"Only all the time," I admitted.
"Well, it's kind of like that, just not as exciting. What foreplay is, is laying on your back and pretending to enjoy your lover's bumbling fumbles or fumbling bumbles, I forget which, but that doesn't matter. What matters is I usually like to take this time to paint my toenails."
So that exactly what I do, lay back.
I see his head disappear between my legs. When it reappears a few minutes later, he looks like the Joker from The Dark Knight Returns. There was something very important I should have warned him about, but he doesn't seem to mind the surprise. He emerges holding a vampire's tea-bag. He twirls it over his head and makes helicopter noises. Then, when he lets go of the string, we watch it fly across the room, hitting the wall with a wet smack. It sticks for several seconds, then starts its slow slide to the floor.
Well, first we carve a slice, then we cut the mustard, then we dip the schnitzel. After that we do the humpty-hump, the bumpity-bump, and the ziggity-zag. Then we grind the coffee, haul our ashes, and lay some pipe. He parks the pink Cadillac, hides the salami, and gets it up to the nuts in guts. He spears the bearded clam, the hairy donut, and the fuzzy wuzzy. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?
Amazingly, we finish at the same time. Him, having his way with me, and me, painting my nails. We lay there looking into each other's eyes.
"What?" I ask, smiling shyly.
"What?" he asks back, his eyes dancing.
"Tell me about yourself," I say.
Strangely enough, he does. I'm not saying he puts me to sleep with his long ramblings. He does, but I'm not saying that. When I wake up, he's getting ready to leave.
"Your mother is quite lovely," he tells me on his way out. "Especially her breasts. When I saw them for that brief instant with her falling to the floor, they looked like two meteors racing toward the earth."
Um... that was awkward.
No sooner is he out the door, than my mother finally rouses out of her coma. I'm not saying she drinks a lot, but you can go to the bathroom with her and be able to tell what yesterday's drink specials were.
She gets up, looking in the distance, probably wondering what other career paths she could have chosen. My mother. Just because she's hairy, that doesn't make her Bigfoot.
"I'm so sorry, Ana," she tells me. "I didn't mean to fall asleep."
"That's okay, mom," I say, excusing her the way I have my entire life. "I thought you were meditating."
"I don't meditate, I medicate," she corrects me. "Did I miss anything important while I was going toward the light?"
"Oh, mom," I tell her, "you just missed him."
"Yes, my boyfriend."
"Yes, he was just here."
"He was just here?"
"Yes, and you missed him."
"And I missed him?"
"Like the way I've missed all your other 'boyfriends'?"
"Almost, but this one is real."
"Sure he is, honey. Sure he is."