02 Mar

I walked home. It’d be more atmospheric to say that it was raining, because then I could talk about how the rain trickled down my face and through my beard. I could mention individual drops smacking painfully into my scalp through my thinning hair. While that is in fact what happens to me when it rains, that isn’t what happened then. Ohio summers are hot and damp, and sweat instead of rain trickled down through my whiskers. The sun hadn’t set yet. I walked on the west side of High Street to block the sun, but mostly that was futile. Late afternoon ninety degree humidity does not care whether you are in the shade.

Andrea’s car stopped next to me at a red light, where we made brief and awkward eye contact. Her car took off before the light turned fully green, and I made my sweaty and shuffling way after her. By the time I got to the house, my t-shirt had soaked through to my sport coat. No one was home.

Another rule of internet dating is this: do not wear clothes that cannot be fucked up.

Blackula wanted to be fucked.

She was Cory’s cat, I think. She was ex-pet store, unfixed, and consequently bat-shit insane. House policy on feline contraception followed the same general principle as herd immunity for vaccination. The three other cats were two fixed females and a cranky white eunuch named Chardunk. We’d thought Char was a girl until he mounted Blackula but then couldn’t figure out what to do next. Blackula, in heat and indifferent to his difficulties, screamed her kitty lungs out. This happened every month.

I sympathized with and hated her.

In our house it was impossible not to know whether anyone was getting any and, if so, exactly who it was. Our hall had narrow floors and awesome acoustics. My bedroom was bracketed on one end by Jason’s bedroom and by the shower on the other. Sex noises transferred themselves with remarkable fidelity through both walls. Cory and Molly’s room could echo from the end of the hall to the bottom of the stairs. I hadn’t had a woman visit since I’d moved in.

However, I did have an external hard drive containing, among other things, a modest collection of the most tasteful and artistic nudes the medium of film had to offer. These gave me some solace. I had been living there for months before anyone let me know that the alley between our house and the next resounded such that anyone on the front porch was privy to the most subtle nuances of the performers’ vocalizations, many of which were quite boisterous.

I didn’t know that then, though, and my immediate plans were to take the edge off, shower, and drink until I ran out of bottles. First, though, I checked my email.

There was a new message from Beth. She was gorgeous. I didn’t really pay much attention to the rest of the message.


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