It was a hot, steamy afternoon. I was lounging by the pool of my singles apartment complex, just passing the time and feeling the breeze. Reading, doing push-ups, catching some rays… You can’t use the pool because we have a very serious black algae problem. I guess it’s a bitch to fix. Supposedly they’re working on it.
At first I just kept reading and blasting out one-arm push-ups. (The book was “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” by Joan Didion. Very, very good. Very, very depressing.) But when they started moving a huge dresser, I walked over to ask if they needed help. They said “No, but thanks.”
I went back to the pool and did some x-treme power burpees and read the essay “The Seacoast of Despair.” They struggled with the giant brass-handled oak dresser, only getting it about ten feet from the U-Haul in 15 minutes. It might have been a bureau or something. I don’t know furniture.
“You sure you don’t need help?” I shouted while belting out burpees at a relentless pace. “Your progress is Sisyphean.”
Ugh! “Sisyphean”? What is your problem, mouth?
They paused, looked at each other, and then the pig-tailed one said, “Oh, Chesty—let’s take him up on it.”
No lie: Her name was Chesty.
So, half-naked, sweat-soaked, and still bearing the chiseled physique of the Force Recon Marine I had been only 16 days earlier, I gave them some much-needed assistance for the next three hours. Maybe three and a half.
Check this part out: So I’m standing there with a hose in Donnique and Alexica’s bedroom filling up their shared waterbed (don’t ask me) when this gorgeous pizza delivery girl in short-shorts and a v-neck halter-top walked right up to me and said, “Did you pizza?”
She had a thick accent—French, I think—and seemed disoriented and tired. I’d almost say “aroused,” but it was more like heatstroke, which I’d seen enough of in Iraq to recognize. She swayed slightly, closed her eyes, and rubbed a frozen bottle of water up and down her extensive cleavage. Finally she moaned out, “Ooooooh… You haff a large sausage.”
“Uh, no,” I told her, “We didn’t order a pizza. You must be all turned-around.” I then made a lame pun about our apartment complex being “aptly termed” since it was “as ‘complex’ as an Escher print.” Cringe. I went on and on about how she must be lost, how all the buildings here have the same design “like many an American subdivision,” how that can be alienating as well as disorienting in subtle ways… If there’s such a thing as Pretentious Tourette’s Syndrome, I have it.
I was this close to quoting Didion to a person whose English is so bad she thinks pizza is a verb when Chesty finally saved my dumb ass. “No, we ordered it,” she said, tickling my six-pack with a set of blood-red fingernails. “It’s the least we can do for our mover.”
Cool, huh? I don’t like sausage. They should’ve skipped the surprise and asked what toppings I wanted. Even still.
That’s not all they did for me. The next day the three of them showed up at my door—wearing clothes in the sense that a table wears a napkin, which seems to be their thing—and surprised me with 10 tubes of KY Jelly. Not as weird as it sounds: I’m in grad school studying the saponification of glycerin, a common ingredient in lotion. I had mentioned off-hand that funding for my section was so low I had to buy my own research material.
No, I have not tried to hook up with them. Chesty is engaged, Donnique has a serious boyfriend, and Alexica is single but intensely Christian. I routinely see her by the pool wearing a skimpy flesh colored bikini and a WWJD necklace, reading one of those Left Behind novels and sipping from a can of Four Loko. Does she have any idea how much cognitive dissonance that causes?
Besides, I’m not exactly hurting for sex. I’m sleeping with two women right now, and they just “met” last weekend. Yes, the quotation marks mean we had a threesome. I thought it would be exciting when it finally happened to me, but it was awful. I had felt guilty after sex before. (Hasn’t everyone?) Well, this was the first time I felt guilty while it was going on.
It happened in silence, as if each of us were hiding from the other—or from ourselves. For 45 minutes, I went through the mechanical, joyless motions, thinking, “A threesome in an Applebee’s bathroom? How far have I fallen?” The experience left me so morally and spiritually depleted that I would rather not talk about it.