‘Is she or isn’t she?’ Ben wondered. Ben looked over at the 33-year-old, elegantly dressed woman who sat nervously across the table. ‘She’s such a delight,’ Ben thought. ‘In 10 years, when all of the other wives are secretly blaming their husbands for the last 10 pounds that they can’t get rid of, Sherry will still be sitting across from me in her pearls. Assuming the manufacturer doesn’t run out, she will still have her shiny blonde hair. She will still be wearing it in a tightly wound bun, and she will still have a stomach tight enough to bounce a quarter off.’
Ben, 37, was just a little older than Sherry, but in lifestyles they were worlds apart. Ben could be content to spend every night at home on the couch. He was the type that didn’t immediately take off his suit when he got home from the law firm. In fact, if Sherry was stuck at the gym, Ben sometimes took off his tie, and then put it back on when he knew she was coming home. The tie wasn’t necessary to complete the ensemble, but he always felt that it had the magical ability to make his butt look more taut, and who didn’t want that?
With her pearls and yoga body, Sherry was the perfect bookend. She wasn’t the professional that Ben was, but she was driven, and where she drove herself most was at the gym.
Sometimes she would come home so sore that she could barely walk straight. Her tightly quaffed bun would be slightly askew, and she would have a look in her eyes that if it wasn’t for the pearls, would make Ben think she had a libido. But he knew Sherry; she didn’t. Women didn’t have libidos in the 1950s and that is clearly where Sherry was from. And if she wasn’t technically from there, her stylist certainly was.
Ben sipped slowly on the last of the red wine. He looked over at his girlfriend who had just prepared a three course meal fit for a king, and like the queen that she was, she had prepared all of his favorite things.
“Well, that was a nice surprise,” Ben said, wondering if the next course included sex.
“Did you like everything?” Sherry asked with the tense look on her face that usually accompanied Sherry’s unique brand of uptight, 1950s housewife sex.
‘Sexy,’ Ben thought. “No, everything was perfect. You cooked all of my favorite things. You’re perfect. I don’t deserve you.”
Sherry clenched her jaw in that nervous way that she did whenever Ben would make his moves on her. When Ben saw that, crossing his legs was the only thing that he could do to not take her right then and there.
She looked down at her watch.
‘She can’t wait,’ Ben thought. “What’s the matter, Sherry? You keep looking at your watch,” he said seductively.
This was only a formality. He knew what was up. He knew the tie he had worn was always her favorite. He remembered all of the times she would slither up to him and say, “Oh baby, that’s one sexy tie. You know what you can do with that tie?”
Yeah, Ben knew alright. He would then hang it up on the tie slat he removed it from and make love to her like an animal. That’s right, he would do it missionary style. And do you know why he would do it missionary style? Because that was really the only style that he knew.
But Ben knew that knowing more wasn’t necessary because she liked it. All 105 pounds of her liked it, every part of her, from her perfectly manicured feet to her Stepford Wife hairdo. And Ben knew that what they made every other Tuesday (except when she had spin class), was wasp love at its finest.
Ben stared at Sherry and decided that he was ready to go, and he wasn’t necessarily talking about round one of Wimbledon as they would call it (mostly because of the pair’s evenly paced grunting). No, Ben was thinking about taking home the trophy. He was thinking about asking Sherry to be his doubles partner, always and forever more.
Sherry looked around the room almost distracted. ‘Is there another course?’ Ben wondered. If so, he couldn’t eat another bite.
“Ben, do you know that feeling when you meet someone and you just know you want to spend the rest of your life with them?”
‘This is amazing,’ Ben thought. ‘Our thoughts are one.’ “Yeah,” Ben said, looking back with a satisfied smile.
“You do?” Sherry replied with relief. “And when that happens, you know that you want the rest of your life to start immediately?”
Ben felt a warm feeling come over him as Sherry spoke. “Ah huh.”
“Oh good. Because that’s why I want you to move out.”
Ben looked at her knowing that her pale, sexy body couldn’t have resisted him much longer.
“Wait, what?” he asked, just realizing that she hadn’t asked him to take her bra off with his teeth.
Ben was thrown back in his chair. The light around him seemed to lower and somewhere in the back of his mind appeared a memory. In that memory a 25-year-old Ben stood in the front row of a rock concert. He wore a leather jacket with fringe hanging from the sleeves and tight leather pants. In other words, he was stylin’.
He bopped along looking at the band, and then turned to Bonnie, the sultry 25-year-old brunette with him. Ben leaned over to Bonnie and yelled at the top of his lungs into her ear. “Aren’t these seats great?”
Bonnie, who couldn’t hear Ben, turned to him excitedly. “Oh my god. OH MY GOD! The lead singer just signaled me to go back stage. OH MY GOD!”
Without another word, Bonnie dashed away. Ben then looked up at the lead singer who was looking down at him. Ben gave him a look that said, ‘Dude, I was about to hit that.’
The 37-year-old Ben then left that memory and settled on another. This time the 15-year-old Ben was sitting in the basement in a circle with a group of 15-year-old boys and girls. They were playing ‘Spin the Bottle.’
Jennifer, with the 18-year-old body and the can-do attitude, took hold of the bottle. “Ok, I’m gonna spend seven minutes in heaven with…”
All of the boys held their breath because they knew that anything that happened in that closet would allow their 15-year-old bodies credit. And that extra credit caused by Jennifer’s 15-to-18-year-old-body-to-physical-age-ratio would pay off in college when they would be able to skip all of the awkward fumbling and move right to the advanced classes.
Ben watched as the bottle slowed down and pointed towards him. His Clearasil caked face cracked a smile. The railway full of braces he showed said, ‘the train is in baby, and it’s time for you to get on board.’ At least that was what they were saying as he hit the ground.
From the floor Ben looked up at Michael. Michael was the boy that had bumped him out of the way so hard that Ben had to subtly untangle the love train out of the shag carpet. Apparently, Michael took his advanced classes very seriously.
“Michael,” Jennifer said with a smile and an eager exit toward the closet.
Free from his long time nemesis, 80’s shag, Ben shot the excited Michael a look which said, “Dude! I was about to hit that.”
The 37-year-old Ben was then transported in thought to his preschool classroom. Ben handed the 4-year-old girl next to him a picture. The picture was a Picasso inspired rendition that he had drawn of the two of them.
The little girl looked at the picture and laughed. She was the vixen of Ben’s preschool class, and in full vixen mode she flipped her hair back and uttered the words that every 4-year-old boy yearned to hear.
“You’re a poopy head,” she said.
But before Ben got out what everyone around the sandbox said was the traditional mating response, he was thwarted.
“You’re a poopy head,” the boy on the other side of the girl announced, confirming her assessment.
The girl then turned to the boy and gave him the look that Ben had yearned to see. It was the look that either said, “You, big boy, are the one that I want to share my cookies with.” Or it said, “I need to be changed.” Whichever one it was, it rightfully belonged to Ben, and that preschool pamper-rider was a cuckold for stealing it.
But now, on the outside of this once glorious love triangle, Ben shot the boy a look. Then with the boy’s eyes locked with his, Ben pointed the boy’s gaze at the Barbie that Ben held in his other hand. And with his hand still tightly latched on Barbie’s hair, he then turned back to the boy and shot him a look. The look said, “Dude, I was about to hit that.”
“I can’t believe this. You cheated on me?” the 37-year-old Ben asked in a daze.
“No Ben. I would never do that,” Sherry replied defensively. “I like you too much for that. That’s why you have to go.”
“What? Right now?” Ben asked, stunned.
Sherry looked at her watch anxiously. “Yes Ben, right now.”
“Then, what was all this? The romantic lighting? All my favorite things?”
Sherry shrugged her shoulders and gave Ben a look that said, “What do you think it was?”
The realization hit Ben like a wet wick hitting water. “This was my last meal.”
“So dramatic you are. Ben, I could have done this in a restaurant, but then we would have to come home and it would be awkward. I respect you too much for that.
“So instead you break up with me in our home.”
Sherry sucked her teeth, reacting to Ben’s mistake. “Actually, it’s my home. I packed up your things and placed them in the closet.” Sherry put both of her hands over her mouth with the fortitude that would follow if he had suggested serving red wine with fish. In other words, she knew what she was doing was scandalous.
Ben slowly pulled himself away from the table. He couldn’t believe his ears. Moments earlier he was considering the possibility of one day setting time aside to think about marrying this woman, and now he was walking toward a closet door that might hold all of his worldly possessions. He found the entire situation unfathomable. Yes, the situation was not to be fathomed.
He crossed the elegantly decorated apartment and opened the closet door. Sherry wasn’t kidding. She had placed everything that he owned into it.
In the front was Ben’s neon sign that read, “We have fresh Pi,” and in the back was the bean bag chair that he didn’t want to get rid of because it was the first thing he had bought as an adult. The chair was sacred to him because it represented his ability to let go of things. In this case, it represented his ability to let go of the things that he clung to in his youth.
“It helped that none of your stuff ever went with my apartment,” Sherry said in a dry tone.
“I don’t believe this,” Ben said, staring at everything he owned. But believe it or not, he wasn’t referring to the book of unbelievable things he got as a kid and wasn’t able to get rid of. No, it was the fact that his lady was trying to throw him out.
And before Ben could formulate his protest there was a knock on the door. Surprised, Ben looked back at Sherry who was anxiously looking down at her watch.
“Wait, is that him? You invited him here tonight?”
“Oh Ben, don’t make a scene,” Sherry begged, getting up from her place at the table.
“No, I’ve always just sat back and watched other guys take my girl,” Ben said, working himself into a fury. “That’s it. We are gonna talk this out and I’m telling this guy to go to hell.”
“No Ben, don’t,” Sherry protested in a half hearted sort of way.
Ben noticed Sherry’s strange tone and shifted his head to judge her true feelings. Sherry simply stared back. Ben took a step toward the door and Sherry wrung her hands. Ben put his hand on the door knob and Sherry reached out her hand without saying another word.
‘She wants me to send him away,’ Ben thought. ‘She loves me and she wants me to fight for her.’
Ben swung open the door and was face to chest with the biggest, blackest man he ever did see. ‘Holy crap,’ Ben thought. ‘This man pooped bigger things than me.’
Ben stepped back and examined the man in the doorway. Daquan was clearly a bodybuilder. In fact, he was still wearing his skull cap, weight belt and gloves.
‘Oh wait, this isn’t him. This is a strategically chosen moving man that would intimidate me out.’ “Was this your boyfriend’s idea? Did he hire a thug to scare me off? Well I don’t scare that easily!” Ben proclaimed while standing his ground.
“Ben!” Sherry screeched, mortified.
“Did you do it?” the monster in the nipple revealing spandex tank top said.
“I did, Sugar Baby,” Sherry giggled back.
Ben decided to relinquish his ground when Daquan pushed past Ben moving him about four feet. And it was with Ben’s less than wholehearted approval when Sherry jumped on the King Kong-like fellow that had entered his, actually Sherry’s, place and climbed him like Sears Tower. It was also with Ben’s less than wholehearted approval when Daquan and Sherry made out.
Ben stared at the two’s consummation, confused. ‘Certainly Sherry hadn’t meant to stick her tongue down the black fellow’s mouth and swab it like she lost a filling,’ Ben thought. ‘This is just clearly a case of mistaken identity.’ And it made sense, because if Ben had a dime for every time he was mistaken for an oversized black man in a skullcap, Ben would have… Well, the math wasn’t important. What was important was that once Sherry picked up on their slight height difference, she didn’t stop.
What stopped them instead was when Daquan pulled away and said, “Baby, I got you something. See?” Daquan opened his mouth and revealed a gold tooth. And written in what had to be little diamondique stones, was the name ‘Sherry.’
Sherry looked at her honey bear, genuinely touched. “Awww, baby you’re so sweet.”
This confused Ben even further because he knew Sherry knew he would never get a gold tooth implanted. This lack of misidentification was starting to break Ben’s heart. So this time when Sherry licked Daquan’s teeth and face like an exotic licorice stick, Ben was sad. Part of it was because Ben didn’t like the black licorice and the other part was because he was losing his love.
“Come on man,” Ben spoke with deflating courage.
Ben’s plea registered with Daquan, who pulled himself away from Sherry’s roving tongue and turned toward the sad doorman that had let him in. “Who’s the little white man?” Daquan asked Sherry.
“Daquan, this is Ben. My ex.”
“Fa’ sure? I thought it was your doorman. I’m sorry about that man.”
“You thought it was my doorman?”
“Yeah, I know you white people like to hire people to do some crazy shit. But I’m not judging you baby.”
Daquan looked at the doorman again. The little man’s suit and tie screamed out that he needed a hug. Daquan decided he could accommodate that. But before he wrapped his large chocolate guns of love around Ben, Daquan knew there was one thing that he would first need to know if the positions were reversed. So, with Sherry still latched onto Daquan like a monkey holding onto a coconut tree, Daquan turned to face Ben nobly.
“Yo, don’t worry. Nothing happened between us. I wanted to make sure that everything was squared away between you two before I got me some of this.”
Sherry, unable to resist, started to hump Daquan’s chest and lick on the side of his face again.
“No, sure, I appreciate that,” Ben replied in a dejected tone.
“And it was hard too, because she been all up on my jock. But you know how she is, right?” Daquan said with a sly chuckle that told Ben he, himself, had no idea how Sherry was.
“No, I know what she’s like,” Ben said, replacing whatever Daquan was referring to with the thought of his porcelain princess doing unspeakable things to Daquan. Unimaginable things like her having sex with Daquan with her on top.
“I saw Daquan at the gym and he was blasting his calves…”
“It was my quads. Shiii baby, get the story right.”
Without missing a beat, Sherry continued on. “He was blasting his quads. And I saw him and knew that I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life.”
“And I was like, look at this white bitch walking up to me. I was like damn; I got to get me all up in that.”
“It was love at first sight.”
“You damn right, baby.”
Ben watched as the two stared into each other’s eyes. As the luring lingered, he had time to think. It was true; how could anyone top a story like the one Sherry and Daquan had? It had all of the elements of true romance. There were quad blastings and approaching white bitches. They had no choice but to fall in love.
Ben watched as Sherry’s little chest started to jiggle under the movement of Daquan’s pecs. She giggled.
“You see what you do to me baby. You’re making my pecs twitch.”
And as Ben watched Sherry vibrate on Daquan’s chest like it was a rocket ship in front of a grocery store, he knew that what he had was no match for the magic that was the two of them. And on that realization, he watched Sherry and Daquan make out.
“You know what? I’m just gonna go. I’ll show myself out.”
Ben opened the front door and slowly moved his lifetime of memories into the hall. And when the last thing was out and the door slammed closed, the sound of wild sex ensued.
* * * * *
Ben rested on the door, saddened. But he knew, as did Sherry, that he wouldn’t completely be without a place to stay. He had met Sherry after his best friend Carey and her fiancée Chip had moved onto her floor. Ben and Sherry had spent a lot of time at Carey’s place anyway, so Ben knew that Sherry knew that he would have somewhere to go after she threw him out. Her libidinous, throbbing, porcelain doll parts had nothing to do with the suddenness of her eviction.
Ben stepped away from the door when what started out as sex must have turned into spring cleaning, and a dish hit the other side of the door with an explosion. Ben was never fond of Sherry’s dishes so at least Daquan had a good influence on her in that respect.
At the other end of the hall Ben stood in front of Carey’s door. He was waiting until he felt it was exactly the right moment. Because although he knew he was always welcome, he also knew there were times when he was less welcome than others. The times when he felt ushered out was in those few moments whenever he was alone with Chip. It wasn’t that Chip was a dick or a tool, or the last douche in a bag of douches. No, Chip was awesome. He was a surfing, computer engineer who was completely awesome. He was very awesome.
Feeling the time was just right, Ben knocked on the door. Through the peep hole he could see a blue fish eye looking back. The door opened and standing in front of Ben was Chip. He, like usual, was very tanned and was sporting windswept blonde hair. And of course, like normal he was holding a beer.
“Dude,” Chip uttered.
“Hey Chip, is Carey home?”
Without another word, Chip walked away. As Ben stood in the doorway watching his stuff, he heard, “Babe, your little friend’s here.”
Chip walked back into the foyer and stared at Ben blankly. There came a time in every awkward silence when someone felt the need to speak. This was that time for Ben.
“So how’s the software business?” Ben asked, in fact already knowing how the software business would be.
“Awesome,” Chip replied, following it with a swig of beer.
The whole scene mercifully ended when Carey appeared from the room behind Chip. Carey was exactly Ben’s age. She was a cute, dark haired woman that was more down to earth and loose than Ben was. For example she wasn’t still wearing a suit at nine o’clock at night.
“Ben, hey, what are you doing here? Is something wrong?” Carey asked in a way that a genuine friend would.
“Sherry just broke up with me.”
Carey liked Sherry, kind of, so Carey found this news truly heartbreaking. “Oh no,” she uttered.
“Yeah, she just threw me out. All my stuff is in the hallway so…”
“Do you need somewhere to stay?” Carey asked, as Ben hoped she would.
Ben shook his head yes.
“Well, you can stay with us as long as it takes, can’t he dear?”
Carey looked back at Chip who was leaning in the door way leading to the kitchen. His face was stone still.
“Honey, say something,” Carey prompted.
Without a word, Chip walked up to Ben and hit him on the shoulder and shook his head with an ‘I understand’ look on his face. And with a way that was at once noncommittal and passive aggressive, he gave his full-throated endorsement of the idea. “Awesome.” And then he retired to the kitchen.
“Are you sure it’s alright? He didn’t seem thrilled to have me.”
Carey smiled at her lifelong friend and thought of what would, at once, remove his reservation and reestablish the harmony between her two favorite men. “He’s fine. That’s just him.” And as soon as she said it, she knew she had struck the landing.
“Because I don’t want to be a bother,” Ben stated, holding onto his reservation.
But then Carey did what she was sure would wipe away any residual reservation that Ben had. She shook her head ‘no’ and pushed passed him to get his stuff. And she did it in a way that made her confidence undeniable. Because in her heart, she really did know that it wouldn’t bother Chip.
Her confidence would have been admirable if it really didn’t bother Chip. Yeah, it bothered him. She just wasn’t very good and picking up social cues. But God love her for her heart.
Ben, Carey and Chip sat on the balcony drinking beer. Their condo was on the 10th floor in the Santa Monica area, so it, like all of the condos in the building, except the ones that didn’t, had a perfectly unobstructed view of the beach. The condos that had a view of the city actually had a better deal because they had a view at night as well. But sitting on the balcony at night knowing the beach was there was certainly worth the extra cost.
“Yeah, I don’t know what happened,” Ben continued. “One moment I’m eating this great dinner prepared by the woman I love. Then she sounds like she’s gonna propose to me and then the next thing she’s telling me is that she’s in love with someone else.”
“Oh that’s horrible,” Sherry retorted. “Isn’t that horrible, Chip?”
“Bummer,” Chip said before taking another swig of beer.
“Then there’s a knock on the door and it’s him. And he’s not like me at all. You know, I figured that he would be like me in some way but…”
“How was he?” Carey asked, interrupting Ben’s flow.
Ben scrambled for words. Like millions before him, he struggled to find words to describe a black man without seeming racist. ‘Pigmently challenged’ was the first thought that popped into Ben’s mind. It had a form that sounded politically correct. After all, it did have the word ‘challenged’ in it. Everyone knew that if you added the word challenged to any description, it made the fact that you were pointing out someone’s weaknesses ok. So, if instead of calling someone a midget you called them midgetedly challenged, it became ok. And whereas dingle berry licker was bad, dingle berry licker challenged was perfectly fine.
But despite this obvious solution to the problem of describing Daquan, Ben decided to stick with the tried and true method for a white man to describe the only black man in the room, he described every other possible characteristic about him and completely ignored the obvious.
“Well, he was tall… and he was huge, really muscular.”
“Uh huh…” Carey said, prompting Ben to continue because Ben’s face told everyone that there was more to the description.
“And he was… you know…”
Carey changed her look, hoping that somehow by craning her neck she would force Ben to speak. And in this case, the joke would be on the doubters because it did.
“He was African American,” Ben almost whispered.
“Ooooh!” Carey said, putting it all together.
“Bummer,” Chip replied with a seeming understanding of the endowment of the situation. Or maybe endowment is the wrong word; he replied with a seeming understanding of the true schlong of the situation. Afterwards, all Chip could do was take a swig of his beer and thank God that it was Ben going through this and not him.
Ben watched as a smile crept across Carey’s face. “Sherry has a type.”
“What do you mean?” Ben asked, confused.
“You know,” Carey replied, using her eyes to indicate Ben’s crotch.
“What’s that?” Ben asked, still confused.
“You know,” Carey said before employing her famous neck craning technique.
But yet, Ben shook off her gesture like a stubborn pitcher on the mound.
“Sherry likes big wangs,” Carey said, deciding to wave the runner on third home.
“Oh really? You think that’s it?” Ben said, disappointed that she didn’t mean either the tall or the muscular part of his description.
“Well, what else could you two have in common?” Carey asked.
‘The tall and the muscular part’ was Ben’s first thought.
All of the beers were taking their toll on Chip but even he couldn’t miss Carey’s odd familiarity with Ben’s junk.
“Babe, how do you know what Ben’s wang looks like?” Chip said, cockeyed and grasping firmly onto his beer.
“Ben and I were engaged. You know that,” Carey brushed away with confidence.
“I know that you were engaged to a guy named Ben. This is the Ben?”
With a laugh that hardly seemed appropriate for the serious ramifications that this would have on Chip’s ego, she asked, “How many Ben’s do you think I know?” Ben joined in on the laughter, but the gerbils on the treadmill of Chip’s brain were too busy powering the train of thought to hit the laughter button.
“So the Ben that you dressed up as Wonder Woman for Halloween is the same Ben that you were engaged to,” the gerbils finally churned out.
Smiling uncomfortably by the fact that Carey would share that information, Ben said, “Umm, I was actually Wonder Man. There had to be a guy on the island right? How else are they going to make all those women?”
“Yes, we made a childhood pact that if neither of us were married by 35, we would marry each other. But then luckily, I met you,” Carey said before she leaned over and kissed Chip.
“Yeah, luckily,” Ben said unable to hide how much his opinion differed on her luck.
“So, the Ben that tried on one of your lady pads is the same Ben that you were banging before you met me?” Chip continued.
“You told him that?” Ben said, feeling a stiffness in his spine.
Looking at Chip, Carey reached for what would calm his awesome nerves. “Yes but you are the Prince Charming in this story. He just worked in the dungeon that you rescued me from.” And then with a passing thought Carey added, “No offense, Ben.”
“No, how could I take offense to that?” Ben said with the view of his pride deep in his rearview mirror.
Chip stared at his two balcony mates. He began to imagine Ben dressed as Wonder Woman, mounting his fiancée with a lady pad popping out the side of his star spangled bikini. “I need a beer.” Chip lifted his beer, offering to get one for either of the two. Carey indicated yes, while Ben, the Wonder Man, indicated no. Chip left for the kitchen.
“So what are you gonna do?” Carey finally said, hoping that their alone time would change the tone of the conversation.
“I don’t know. It all just happened. I don’t understand why I can’t find someone that wants to be with me. I’m a good guy, right?”
“Of course you are,” Carey reassured Ben.
“I mean I have things about me that a woman could like, right? But I look around and everyone I know has found someone. And yet here I am alone, again. Is there something wrong with me?”
“Not at all, Ben.”
“All I want is something like you have with Awesome, you know.”
“Sure, and he hates it when you call him that.”
“I just want to find the person that I’m gonna spend the rest of my life with. Why isn’t that happening?” Ben asked with genuine concern.
“I don’t know,” Carey replied with sympathy.
Carey was about to reach out her hand and put it on Ben’s leg when Chip re-entered the balcony. And for a blonde guy with such a dark tan, he looked like he was having a very deep thought. In fact, he was so deep in thought that the full bottle of beer he held poured onto the balcony and between the slits in the wood. The dogs on the floor below had a term for when Chip did this. They called it ‘the beginning of a good night.’
“So, the Ben whose hair you braided with ribbons is the same Ben that was so big that you blacked out during sex? That made you lose your fear of having twins? That made you develop an irrational fear of snakes?”
Ben became horrified that Carey would tell Chip that. “Wait, is that true?” Ben asked Carey.
“I still can’t go to the zoo,” Carey calmly confirmed.
“Why didn’t you tell me any of this?” Ben asked, disappointed that every one of his love making sessions put the ‘Snakes are People Too’ movement back a generation.
“What were you going to do, shrink?” Carey asked an upset Ben.
“I don’t know. I could have done something.”
“Well, we got through it didn’t we?”
“Yeah, but I just wish that we were both conscious when we did.”
To get relief from the embarrassment of the conversation, Ben looked up at Awesome. Awesome’s mouth hung open and his eyes were blatantly locked on Ben’s crotch. Ben was aware that in some cultures, staring in awe at another man’s crotch was considered a great compliment. In fact in a tribe in New Guinea, if a visiting dignitary didn’t spend at least 20 seconds admiring the crotch of the tribal leader, it was considered an insult. But on the balcony in a Santa Monica condo it was just considered kind of gay, awesomely gay.
Ben squirmed in his seat hoping that the movement would shake Chip’s stare off. But what he didn’t count on was that sometimes the movement of the snake charmed the charmer.
“Honey, you’re making Ben feel uncomfortable.”
Carey’s comment broke the effect that Ben’s mysterious crotch had on Chip. And once free from its hold, he left to replace the ‘beginning of a good night’ that he had spilled.
“I’m sorry about that. I know I told him.”
Chip returned with a full glass of beer for Carey and sat next to her with his own. And this time, Chip looked as far away from Ben’s crotch as he could, swearing to himself that he would not be seduced by it again.
“What you need to do is get right back on the horse. Just get back on. Go out and find the next girl. It’s a numbers game,” Carey said, returning the conversation to the problem at hand.
“I don’t know,” Ben said as he closed his eyes to get a clearer perspective on the situation.
And to a degree it worked. Ben knew that he did have to get back on the horse. He had to play the numbers. He had to once again shake Chip’s gaze from his crotch.
“I failed,” Chip uttered under his breath while still caught in the wake of its majesty. Because in the stretch of those jeans, in the previously unnoticeable bulge which was now too big to ignore, in the back of his gerbil infested mind, he was formulating a thought. It was something about Ben and Carey and snakes.
Carey could see that the thought was close. He had worked through moments like this before with Chip. She knew that she just had to pry it out of him.
Chip shifted in his chair once the prying began.
“Honey, you have to use your words.”
Chip shifted again because he could feel it coming.
“Push honey, push.”
Chip was now sitting straight in the chair with his eyes firmly locked on Ben’s unsheathed sword.
“Come on honey, use your words. You can do it.”
Chip mumbled something out. First it was unintelligible. But as he tried again, he could make out the words in his own mind.
“Speak baby, speak.”
And with that the words came tumbling out. “This is NOT awesome.”
Ben and Carey looked at each other with surprise.
* * * * *
The next morning the elevator door opened on ‘Butters, Brown & Torres Law Firm.’ Out of the elevator walked Ben wearing his favorite blue suit, red tie and over the shoulder satchel. He took pride in carrying a satchel instead of a briefcase because from the day he started using it, he could tell the other lawyers in the firm became intimidated by his lone-wolf ways. That satchel set him apart as a rebel at the firm. And what others suspected was true- Ben had no cause.
Ben swaggered his way into the office as he always did, but today he was greeted by Champagne Johnson, a 35-year-old, once divorced, black woman who sat behind his assistant’s desk. And what was most distinctive about Champagne was her harsh, almost ‘Oh no you di int’ demeanor. Ben’s swagger changed to a saunter as he approached Ms. Johnson’s desk and his cell phone rang. He whipped out his phone and checked the caller ID. It was Carey.
“Hey Carey, can you hold on for a second?” Ben said, lowering the phone before Carey could answer.
“Sure,” Carey replied.
Ben stopped in front of his assistant’s desk.
“Hi, you must be my temp,” Ben said politely.
“Good morning,” Champagne replied pleasantly enough.
“I’m sorry, what’s your name?” Ben asked.
“Champagne Johnson,” she replied, straining a smile through the stone-face that was mount Champagne-more.
“Champagne? That’s a unique name. They probably call you that because of your light and bubbly personality,” Ben said, followed by a light smile.
When Champagne looked drily back, Ben knew that he was up for a long day that would perhaps be filled with more than a couple neck swivels.
“Ok, well I like my phones answered, ‘Hello, Ben Bonner’s office.’ But you can just call me Ben.”
“I hope you don’t mind if I call you Mr. Boner. My mama raised me right.”
Ben chuckled. He then replied in a tone that was sure not to intimidate Ms. Johnson, who was clearly a wallflower when it came to confrontation. “Actually I would mind that, because that’s not my name.”
“What, Boner?” Champagne asked, confused. And when she noticed how Ben’s face confirmed, she looked down at the phone log that her contact had given her.
“It’s Bonner,” Ben added in as non confrontational a way as possible.
“You know what, why don’t you just call me Ben.”
Ben forced a smile and walked into his office. With a humorless stare, Champagne watched as he closed his door.
Ben sat at his desk, slipped a blue tooth device into his ear and applied his full work attention (minus the attention necessary to check emails) to Carey.
“Sorry about that. I just met my new temp. I don’t think she’s gonna last. Anyway, what was up with Mr. Awesome last night? I woke up in the middle of the night to find him staring at my crotch. Doesn’t he have one?”
This was where Carey generally inserted a laugh. So when she didn’t, Ben felt the need to ask again. “Carey? Carey? Great, you’re not there. Carey, did you have to get engaged to such a tool? Is that something that you had to do?”
Ben turned his full attention to his emails.
Carey broke the silence. “I’m sorry about that. I’m back. And before you say anything, I want you to know that Chip is on the line with us.”
That announcement would have been mortifying to Ben if he hadn’t just become deaf from embarrassment. But with all of his thoughts of previously humiliating experiences, like the one involving his girlfriend climbing a large black man like a dog with worms, this current mortification was only worth half of the normal amount on the mortification open market.
“Chip? Chip, how are you doing?” Ben asked, now fully engaged in the conversation.
“Awesome!” Chip said with contempt in his voice.
“So what’s going on, Carey?” Ben asked, allowing the humiliation to turn to anger.
“Well as you know, things were a little awkward last night when Chip found out that we were once engaged. And Ben, you might have noticed a little surprise on Chip’s part when he found out that you are so much bigger than he is.
“Ben is not ‘so much bigger’ than I am,” Chip retorted, hoping to prevent Ben from besting him for the second time in this short phone call.
“Honey, he has to know why we’re doing this to him. Ben, you’re like massively bigger than he is. In fact, have you ever heard about something called micro-penis?”
“I do not have micro-penis!” Chip yelled loud enough that those outside of his office must have heard.