"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.
"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 being 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.