Monday, October 1, 2007

Linguini Man

By hughgee

A sequestered booth in a posh restaurant, some time in the future. The kind of private booth you’d expect French guys in our day to entertain their mistresses.

“Am I doing it right?” she asked, sheepishly.

He sat looking at the girl and the girl was cute, really cute; leaning forward, fumblingly but daintily, she slurped a piece of linguini off her plate and leaned back and smiled a glowing, pearly-white smile which would have made her an instant candidate for a toothpaste ad campaign. A blonde—he liked his blondes—was tied back in dual, abbreviated, braided ponytails like some Indian squaw; and she was perky and wholesome, also the way he liked them, and she had a perfectly sculptured, albeit somewhat flattened nose, as though the artist who’d molded her had pressed down a little harder than normal in blending the nose into the cheekbones.

“Don’t laugh,” she chided, playfully, when he snickered a bit at her mild difficulty at eating the precarious food—precarious after the cabernet sauvignon he’d ordered for her. He noted how the tip of the nose dipped and rose with each lovely syllable that passed those long, protruding lips. The arm holding the fork was thin and delicate and beautiful.

This wasn’t about scoring tonight. He’d decided that with her last messy mouthful, and the way she genuinely apologized and sought his counsel on how to proceed and he’d helped her, reached across and, taking the arm, guided the next mouthful in safely, drip-free. Here was a girl who would listen to him, take his advice; a girl who’d listen to you on small matters would likely listen to you, respect you, in the larger ones. His last girlfriend was corrupted by the new feminism sweeping the land. All girls had it, so it seemed. They all tried to pass themselves off as rivals somehow, challenging a man, disrespecting him, doing their own thing. Call him old-fashioned, he wanted a woman who would complement him, cheer him on, and here at last was the gal who could do it. Docile, pliant, loving and nurturing; hell, she’d been five minutes late for their date and had met him in the front of the restaurant in real tears, apologizing profusely, explaining how she’d had a sick cat, she got caught nursing back, she was sorry, she was sorry, she was oh so sorry. That kind of nurturing instinct, that kind of sincere apology, was, well, really and truly deserving of the old cliché “a breath of fresh air.” After years of dumping away, pitching off, and flat out running away from pseudo-militant “feminist” love interests, he was ready for a breath of fresh, traditional, TRULY feminine air.

“I have a confession to make,” she started, then paused a moment to swallow, laughed an embarrassed laugh at her cute little breech of etiquette. “I haven’t been on a date with a guy in a long time.”

He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to drop his own fork, jump across the table, and kiss her. Something this beautiful, this chaste as well—wow! Was it true? Had he really found one at last? A demure, womanly, WOMAN? Too good to be true. It was all too much. Somehow she’d avoided the feminist brain-washing, the party line, the orthodox commie plot that taught every woman to sleep around, take charge of her sex life, use a man because and before he’s just going to use you.

Her eyes lowered submissively as she lifted the triangular salmon-colored napkin off her lap. “I shouldn’t have said that,” she sighed. Big, lovely, blue eyes—to see eyes like that lower themselves in front of him, as if waiting, hanging on desperately for some kind of approval. He gave it.

“I’m glad you told me,” he said, and then cinched some kind of mental knot with the next rhetorical words he offered. “Has anyone ever told you you’re beautiful?”

She dropped the napkin even as the bottom lip dropped down, then rose and formed into a divinely dimpled gigantic smile. She set her fork down. Magic in the air. She let both shoulders sink, totally relaxed, and the dainty elbows went back and rested on the red leather skin of the booth in which they were oh so comfortably ensconced, and accidentally knocked some of the contents out of her pink pleather purse.

“Oop!” she squealed then added, “Oh, drat,” and darted underneath table to retrieve the contents which had fallen to the floor.

Suddenly a moderately searing pain drilled its way up his entrails. Our man at the table spluttered; fork flew out of his hand, clanged down onto the plate of linguini, then dropped as well to the floor. Our man’s other hand just as quickly—and he didn’t yet know why—surreptitiously clutched at his crotch underneath the table. A moment of desperation— ‘don’t let her see me holding my ‘nads!’ he thought.

She giggled behind her napkin as she sat back up. She’d seen it. Underneath the table, she’d seen him grabbing at his balls, seen his body hunch over; she’d seen the slight tremor in the torso as well. Cute as the dickens, this girl!—he wanted to respond, keep up the repartee, the gay banter—hot damn was she cute!—but strangely, he could find no words. All he could find was a vice being screwed “righty-tighty” inside his abdominal cavity. He spluttered some more, turned red, fell forward. Glasses clinked and red wine sloshed and spilled as the dining table supported his full weight. Both hands down under the table now, both hands clutching, rubbing, trying to protect. Decorum went out the window. Okay, it was no longer moderate now. Let ‘em see me, he thought, still spluttering. Let ‘em see me. Let HER see me. Let them ALL see me. Still holding my ‘nads, I can’t let go. Oh man, oh man, oh man does this HURT! His eyes wouldn’t focus but he knew what she was holding.

“Oh! Oh!” she frantically, apologetically said. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” She was banging the thing, slapping the thing, still the pain continued. Pain like he had to take a trip to the men’s room, a long one—but he’d just done that right before leaving his place. Pain like the time that dike bully up the street when she’d kicked him in the balls at the bus stop as kids. Pain like when he’d landed Evel-Knievel-style on the middle bar of his bike after the two-foot berm he’d assembled from two-by-fours in his Dad’s garage.

“Oh!—Oh!” she continued on in higher, more worried octaves, still vainly slapping at the thing.

A lady friend, a “ball-boinker” in street vernacular: she’d had one in her purse. Rectangular, ergonomically friendly for hand-held, personal protection use, the size of small disposable flashlight, and just look at all the froo-froo colors they come in. Oh, they advertised with the women in mind, all right. Women didn’t have balls and those god-awful nerves connecting them. Perfect. Curse the company that’d invented those things. Disgronificator Technologies. Bastards. Blood-suckers. He knew them well. They’d cost him his last job. Sound waves. Who’d’ve thought sound waves’d be so gender-biased?

Anyway you can’t be a beat cop—you couldn’t even be a lousy security guard, he remembered, swallowing a dry swallow of desperation—with a friggin’ pair of balls swinging between your legs when bad guys out there got those. Or bad girls, as the case may be (and increasingly often was). The only known protection was a lead cup the size of pharmacist’s mortar and pestle and five times as heavy, and no guy on the planet was going to go around in his daily comings and goings with a thing like that strapped on board. So the women were the cops and the women were the bad guys, and guys like this—getting back to the guy at the restaurant holding his sack—“and guys like me,” he thought, “can never find a girl no more.”

He slid helplessly off the dining table, onto the bench, just as she got up and came around to try and help him. She struggled to lift but he was too heavy and, despite her genuine best efforts, he slid all the way to the floor beneath the table, emitting a groan as the floor pushed at his cringing lungs and cowering diaphragm. She had a world of sympathy for him but that’s it.

“Oh! Oh!” she sobbed over him. “I don’t know how to work this thing! I’m so sorry!” She was an airhead, he’d just decided, looking up at her with bulging eyes. His real self, the one hiding behind those eyes, the one that wanted to speak but couldn’t, the one waving all those frantically-assembled, mental white flags, took note of the fact that she was still, in her hour of succoring him, still had the thing idiotically pointed at his groin.

“Oh! Oh! Somebody help! Help us!”

He remembered why he didn’t like girly-girls after all and he wanted the hell as far away from her as he could be: they’re all friggin’ mechanically-challenged. Not that he could get up and go anywhere, not that he could do that anytime soon. Still pointing, that thing was still pointing in the worst possible of all directions, even as she tried to help, kneeling over, absurdly patting him on the back, like here he was, some kid choking on a cherry pit.

Idiot girl. Idiot girl, he thought in the center of a maelstrom of abdominal nausea. Still, he wished he was in her shoes right now. Those black pumps of hers, he’d trade places in a second. He’d give up gladly any acumen over gadgets just to be free of his balls. She stroked his hair and squealed "Oh, Oh" quite helplessly down at him once more. Besides, he thought on—and here he moaned and little trickle of saliva ran stupidly out—he could stay indoors and play with his own tits then.

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