The Ballroom Game
I looked up and must have made a face.
I was sitting across the room from a man who had a scar that literally ran from the top of his scalp all the way to underneath his chin. It wasn’t one of those simple indentations, either – the kind you see from dog bites and knife slips. This scar had finger-width wings of pink on either side with latticework across its median like kernels on a corncob. Where the man’s nose should have been was a messy lump of flesh like a knotted-up ballerina shoe.
The halves of his face looked as if they had been put together after being casually smooshed like a split-baked potato. His milky blues were prominently cock-eyed. They were so distant and occluded that I couldn’t tell if he was looking back at me or not. I stared, forgetting myself.
I had been pacing my hotel room all day long, waiting for a phone call from my editor, some sort of direction, and I had only come down into the bar for a drink and a smoke. I didn’t feel like working. I tried to read the paper and force myself to care about the events of the day, but the man slowly captured all of my attention. He sat so calm across the room in his wingback chair, his hand creeping higher and higher on the knee of a blonde girl in a green dress who was rocking on her barstool and giggling with the bartender as he fed her free drinks.
It was a trap. I didn’t want to go back upstairs to my room because I didn’t want the man to think I was disgusted -- to think I was the sort of person who couldn’t bear the physical misfortunes of others. I could relate. I could empathize with his situation. Plus, I might need to interview him later.
But, honestly, the man also made me feel sick to my stomach. His face reminded me of an egg that had been cracked, drained hollow, painted with food coloring, and stitched up again with fishing line.
When the man stood up and walked over to me, I furiously began searching my pockets for a pen so I could start to do the crossword puzzle. But I must have left all of my pens upstairs. I let the (rival) newspaper spread across my lap and reached for my drink. My fingers slipped on the condensation of the glass and I tipped it over on its side, spilling whiskey-soaked ice onto the table beside me. I scooped the ice back into the glass and patted the dribble with a cocktail napkin. I could see the man’s black boots on the floor beside my own loafers. I put a smile on my face and looked up.
The man was standing in front of me like a gargoyle. The woman in the green dress and the bartender were also watching with flat expressions from across the room.
“Er, good evening,” I said.
“Good evening,” said the man. He had a silky, measured voice that whistled at the beginning and end of his sentence when he drew air in and out.
“I spilled my drink,” I said stupidly.
“(tweet) Are you drunk? (twill)”
“No, just a bit clumsy.”
The man stared at me as I folded my newspaper and stuffed the cocktail napkin inside the glass. I stood up and stuck out my hand.
“I’m sorry. My name is Clarence,” I said.
The man shook my hand weakly. I knew that somewhere buried underneath his lank crop of black hair was a zipper. He was going to reach behind his head, unzip his face, and it would open up with a slashing sigh to reveal a pair of glistening jaws and glowing yellow eyes. He would lunge as I stood there like an idiot, and he would begin to chew through my brain and neck with silent lurching swallows while the bartender and the girl in the green dress clapped and whistled.
“(sweee) Why are you here? (swooo)” he asked, instead. There was more confusion in his voice than menace. I relaxed a little bit.
“I’m at work,” I said. “On assignment, you see. I am a journalist. For a newspaper. I am here to cover the holiday and the festival tomorrow.”
“(sweeee) You are a young, good looking man. (snort) You are here alone? Your wife is back with the kids? (twill)”
“I’m not married,” I said, after a pause. Was this some sort of proposition? “And I don’t have any children. At least, not that I know about. Ho ho ho.”
The man did not smile. He just kept looking at me, frowning.
“(snort) My name is Christian,” said the man. “The St. Michael Pilaster is my hotel. It is very strange that you are here tonight. (swoooo) Are you absolutely certain you are not here for the Ballroom Game? (honk)”
I looked at the newspaper beside me. I looked behind Christian and saw for the first time that the blonde woman in green was missing one of her feet and had some sort of strange cauliflower protrusion growing from one elbow.
“The what?” I said, distracted. This was getting interesting. I was here to absorb the local color and pageantry surrounding the famous Flap Island Christmas Festival. All I knew so far was that there was supposed to be a parade of dirty, homeless Santa Clauses tomorrow morning, and the local villagers were supposed to fling goat dung at them while each manufacturing guild sang a bawdy version of a different famous Christmas carol. In return, the homeless Santa Clauses would be given free room, board, and meat for the entire twelve nights of the holiday. I didn’t recall anything about a Ballroom Game from the Research Department brief. I figured it was either high-stakes poker, bear-baiting, or a quaint local derivation of ninepins.
“(speee) The Ballroom Game,” said Christian very patiently. “Are you stupid? Are you a moron? (spooo)”
I should have been insulted. But he asked with real curiosity, as if expecting me to possibly say yes. Which made sense at the time.
“No, I’ve just never heard of the Ballroom Game before,” I said. “Is it related to the festival?”
Christian shook his head. He leaned close to me as if he were going to tell me something secret. Instead, he began snorting very loudly -- like a piggy -- honking, snuffling, inhaling into the mangled knot of his nose. He was smelling my breath.
With a runny shunk, he snapped back to attention.
“(huck-la) Are journalists paid very well? (sweeee)” he asked. “(snort) Is it like being a doctor? (gasp)”
“I make rent,” I said.
“So what’s the Ballroom Game?” I asked again.
Before he could answer, the batwing doors to the hotel bar were flung wide open from the lobby side, knocking several portraits of severe-looking gentry askew. The bartender and the girl in green resumed their conversation, and Christian turned ninety degrees away from me to face the door with his hands clasped behind his back and his shoulders bowed.
“Clear the way! Clear the way!” came a creaky shout from the lobby.
Limping, choking, wheezing, and holding onto one another – the town’s eldermen and pensioners came hobbling in through the door in various states of advancing age and disrepair. I recognized their faces from my hung-over crawl up the street that morning. They had all been gathered outside of the local feed store, staring at me and whispering. Now here they were dressed in their finest, ready to tear up the night.
It wasn’t all old-timers. There were also a few younger men, all of them wearing jogging suits.
At first, they seemed shocked to see me sitting there, and they stopped in the threshold, conferring silently. Indeed. As far as I could tell, I was the Pilaster’s only guest. I was the only one who was SUPPOSED to be sitting in the hotel bar. Their thunder stolen by my mere presence, they filed into the room furtively, each one scanning me and yet trying very hard not to see me at all.
As the last man passed the hotel impresario, Christian came alive and skipped past the melee, like a relay runner, to a door marked “Ballroom.” Christian threw open the doors and then stood beside them, once more dropping his hands, head, and shoulders. The men hobbled into the ballroom, ignoring him, never faltering.
As soon as the last one passed the threshold, Christian raised his head and looked my way. By lifting his chin and pursing his lips, he was able to bring his eyeballs together and lock them onto mine.
“(sweee) Do you wish to know? You will play? (twill)” he asked.
The girl in green giggled. This irked me, somehow. I took a step forward and scratched at my beard.
“Of course I’ll play,” I said. “It’s a lifelong dream.”
He squinted at me. The scar down his face crumpled like the seam in a pair of blue jeans.
“(snort) Then enter. (gasp)”
I put myself together and swallowed a crunch of whiskey ice. Anything was better than sitting in my room alone trying to come up with fresh bullshit for my Monday deadline. Life is too short, right?
The “Ballroom,” like the rest of the St. Michael’s Pilaster, had seen better days. There had been dancing here once – long ago, before several wars that I had only read about. The wallpaper was peeling apart from gilded sconces, pooling freshets of cream-colored cherubs down along eaves, and turning fearsome chariots into wild, pock-marked wrecks; riders severed from their mounts by the violence of time and neglect.
As tremendous as the room was, there wasn’t much in it. The floor was un-swept and covered in peanut husks. There were folding chairs stacked against the walls and a few broken tables collapsed against the ground like savannah elephants slaughtered from a passing African train. The main lights were off, but the stage in the back corner was brightly illuminated by standing lamps. On the stage was a gilded mahogany table surrounded by six ebony chairs.
The throng made their way to the proscenium, splintering to grab chairs, and then coming back together to set them up in rows in front of the prepared arena.
As I moved closer, I could see each place setting at the table had a tall glass of water, a smaller tumbler of amber liquid, and a box of salted crackers. The table’s centerpiece was a tremendous metal tureen with six tubes leading off it that were pinched at the ends by valve stems. Under every chair was a glass urn marked with gradient lines. Each one had a different colored dot.
I took a seat with everyone else and waited for the game – whatever it was – to begin.
There was a remarkable period of total silence, and then one of the oldest members of the assembly began banging his walker on the floor and nearly frothing at the mouth.
“Bring – in – the -- girls! Bring -- in – the -- girls!” he shouted, his eyes hidden and shadowed by the mass of wrinkles that had effectively collapsed his ancient face.
Christian grimaced and walked back to the door of the ballroom. I was beginning to like the guy. He was a professional, above all else.
He opened the doors back up and then stood beside them in the same manner as before, his hands and head bowed as if he were a tinker puppet whose appendages stuck out when you pulled his string. After a few beats, on some invisible cue, the lobby and bar began to clack, suddenly alive and on beat. It was the sound of high heels on a wooden floor. My pulse began to rise.
The man beside me nudged my shoulder -- as if I wasn’t already jazzed to the eyeballs on uncut curiosity.
There was a moment when everybody in the room held their breath, and then in walked three of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my entire life.
I gawked with my jaw cracked open and my necktie scraping my knees as it dangled stupidly out from under my jacket.
These women were absolutely gorgeous. I had never seen their equal, including in both legitimate cinema and the pornographic arts.
While each was radiant in a unique and particular way, I was overwhelmed with the totality of the scene. There was a little redheaded girl with a button nose and a perky smile that bounced when she walked like a malevolent kitten. There was a tall Amazon with clear grey eyes and a body that seemed cut from diamond – hard, and spangled, and expensive. And there was a buxom brown brunette with a clever slant in her eyes and a lithe, hawkish form that flowed with rhythms I couldn’t hear and barely believed in. Wrangled together, they were deadly tableaux. In they came – rolling, clacking, posing -- all alive in this otherwise dead place.
The only time I had encountered women remotely similar was midnight in my fevered thirteen-year-old imagination, lying back under thin cold sheets, beating it like a heroin addiction, and burning with the same sexual angst and fear that still haunted me, carrying over into the work and strife of my tepid adult life. It was rough. Looking at these women, I was reminded of every character flaw that I had wondered about and refused to fix, knowing that I was born a certain kind of romantic failure and would die that way.
These minxes weren’t even young, either, which could have been a form of cheating. They were thirtyish—my age, old enough to be beyond such things if they wanted. Instead, they moved through the crowd blithely as the men hooted and ogled. As they strutted, they periodically tapped a man on his head and the man got up on stage and sat down in one the chairs.
Four times in a row they chose men who appeared to be the youngest and most virile of the group. But for their fifth choice, the Amazon perversely picked one of the most ancient idlers, a wheelchair bound codger attached to various bags and drips that were evidently keeping him alive and regular. With an enormous roar, his slightly more spry octogenarian friends helped him up, slapping each other on the back, their twenty frail wrists lifting his aluminum chair over their heads as if he were the King of Peru.
“Still got the minerals, old man?” asked one of the kids in a jogging suit, a muscle-y fucker with a handlebar mustache.
“Yer gawner fiynd out, now wontcher my son, my son?” said the old-timer, giving birth to a multitude of fresh hoots and hollers from his desiccated peers.
The girls formed a triad up front, looking expectantly at the hatchet-faced impresario. Up close, and with my wits back, I noticed something strange. Each of the girls had something subtly wrong with their genetic mixture. The Amazon was missing every other perfect finger, the pert redhead had a port wine-stain birthmark down her lovely back that looked like a tattoo of Florida, and the buxom woman in black had flaps of skin over her nostrils, effectively sealing them. It was fine: she looked great with a pouty gape.
In fact, many of the other folks in the room also had physical deformities ranging from the subtle to the grotesque. How odd.
“ (pooo) Last choice, ladies. Wild card. (ping)” sang Christian.
The women looked at one another, and then – as one -- they came over and placed their hands on my head, kicking one leg to the side and burying their tapered fingers in my thinning brown curls as if I were a stuffed Panda. I nearly melted into the ballroom floor.
“(SLOO) CLARENCE THE STRANGER! (speep)” shouted Christian, satisfied.
I was pulled to my feet by delicate and strong fingers. I ascended the stage on perfume currents, lifted like a soap bubble, my gorge and pulse spinning around inside me, jackpot slots unsure of where to stop. Presently I stood there, and then, realizing that I had silenced the room with my brief, daffy mental ejection, I sat down and tried to look like I got involved in perverse late night contests with spooky townies on remote islands all the time.
“(pill) This month’s Ballroom Game will now begin,” said Christian. “You all know the rules, but I will repeat them for the benefit of our newcomer, and in order to make our proceedings as official as possible. As usual, Jenny, Christina, and Monique will make book, so please place your bets accordingly. (pleet)”
After some heated discussion that I could not parse from my elevated position and distance from the local dialect, money changed hands around the room, and then Christian and the girls assembled front and center once again.
“(skrill) While we watch, and in the presence of my beautiful ladies, each competitor will attempt to be the first person to fill the jar underneath his chair to the dotted line with his own personal urine. He may use as much water for volume as he needs, and as much liquor for lubrication as he can responsibly drink. This is not summer: you cannot drink straight from the hose. All cheating will be met with the harshest penalties our island can provide, outside of colonial law. This includes you, Mayor Junkins. (skrull)”
“I ain’t nerver been kwainted wiff cheating, and I ain’t nerver gonna let my tonorable name meet such a dreadful feller,” said the old man to shouts and guffaws. “I spec, tever, that I wull need some help getting me-self started, if a’ one uv you lucky ladies is willing ter oblige.”
Monique, the dark girl with the gamesome lip, climbed up and began adjusting the old man’s tubes. She unscrewed a sealing tap from his hip and ran a cable from the heaving, scabby cavity to the bottle underneath his chair. A few golden drops beaded from the end of the tube and plopped into the urn. It was…horrible.
“Not my fault,” said Mayor Junkins. “You gots to account fer a few of those. Jest put me on a slightly delayed stert.”
Christian nodded smartly.
“(cooo) The winner of the Ballroom Game will pick from three fabulous prizes. One thousand dollars, a night with his choice of the Pilaster’s exciting and world famous sporting women, or...altogether, now…(kweee)”
“The best sex you’ve ever had in your entire life!” chanted everyone in the room but me.
What did that mean? What was going on? Why was I still here?
“(deet) A bold statement, but a true one, as some of you here can attest. (doot)” said Christian. The room broke out in wheezing cheers.
“Excuse me…” I stammered, grabbing the person next to me by the arm, the kid with the handlebar mustache. “What’s going on here? I’m supposed to piss in front of all these people? How? Why? Can’t we just play poker or something?”
“Don’t talk to me,” said the kid. “I’ve got to focus. You can just sit there stunned and stupid if it suits you. I’m gonna win this fucker and take Jenny home alone for once in my life.”
The kid closed his eyes and started rocking back and forth, muttering to himself.
“(skoop) The Ballroom Game begins on the count of three. Take your marks, gentlemen. (pook)”
Everyone around me began unzipping their pants, loosening their jogging bottoms, and positioning their urn in strategic places. I sat there with my hands twitching on my knees. I looked out at the audience and at the girls. Everyone smiled at me sympathetically.
Chairs were pushed back. Shoes were kicked off. People in the crowd shouted encouragement to their favorites: Rusty, Steve, Tuna, Hooboy, and Mayor Junkins. I felt like a rooster at a cock-fight. Razorblades lashed to my talons. Fear trickling through my feathers. Could I do this?
I gathered from the call and response that the kid with the mustache was Rusty. Tuna was another character. He was a pale, thin chap with soggy eyes, wet lips, and a sour expression. “Tuna leaks!” shouted the throng, because that’s what his crusted sponge of a t-shirt said. Steve and Hooboy seemed to be gruff, middle-aged factory workers – probably just off the line from the island’s haddock cannery. They had classic tattoos that spangled up and down their arms. The kind you didn’t see anymore. Anchors and dancing girls and pierced hearts and battleships.
Everyone at the table put a hand on the cup of water in front of them. I suddenly realized that even if I were to make this event the crux of my thousand word feature, no one would believe me.
With the buzzing swarm of the crowd behind us, the game began. As I simply sat there watching, my competition began stuffing crackers and filling glasses from the urn as fast as possible, downing them with equally astounding speed. The best sex I had ever had in my entire life? A night with one of these breathtakingly stunning ladies? One thousand dollars? Was it worth getting up in front of a random group of terrifying strangers and exposing myself for their amusement, a joke from the mainland, a story they would tell for decades, a fool, a failure, a senseless spectacle?
Hell yes, it was.
Plus, I had a little secret they didn’t know about. A little secret that should have been embarrassing. But…shit…here it made me…well…a ringer. How perverse was this cat called life! I smiled to myself and calmly brushed some lint from my pants as my fellow tablemates downed glass after glass of water.
Each person had a different strategy. Rusty, Hooboy, and Steve took the approach that you would probably take. They gorged themselves. They went for the water as if it were air and they were drowning. In between fistfuls of blue, they knocked back liquor as fast as they could handle, every now and then looking over their shoulders at the pouting vixens to motivate them and having a cracker. Of the three, Rusty seemed to be moving the fastest, although Hooboy looked like he might have the momentum to keep himself going longer.
Tuna turned his chair over on its back and pushed a leg into his abdomen as he drank. He had a fixed grin on his face that seemed kicked there by a grazing mammal. I could hear his ribs creak as he dribbled liquor from the corners of his mouth and ground the chairleg into his chest. Looking at him, I felt an almost religious obligation to win this thing. Would it be moral to let one of those fine ladies go home with this inhuman felch of fetal excreta? He didn’t really seem to be getting anywhere with his gyrations, however, which was a small blessing.
As far as I could tell, my only serious competition was Mayor Jenkins himself. He had a huge advantage. He didn’t have to process liquid. As he drank, you could watch the cup below him slowly dribble up with clear water. He would have been unstoppable, even a threat to me, if he wasn’t as old as pictures and dirt. His hands shook, his lips grasped and plaited, half of every cup ended up in his lap. Every so often, he was wracked with horrible coughing fits that everyone else ignored but made me question the ethics of letting him compete in the first place. Even so -- slowly, steadily -- the glass below him trickled up with hourglass inevitability. The old crocodile was a formidable bastard. But I wasn’t really nervous.
Reader, I have a confession to make. It is why I can tell this story in the first place.
Into every man’s life crops a moment of synchronicity so bizarre, it must be chronicled.
This is mine.
Here I was in a good old fashioned pissing contest, and…reader…I was born a genuine, rarefied freak of nature.
Hence my empathy. Hence my understanding.
It’s not geek show material. But I was born with three bladders. I hadn’t taken a leak in two days, but I knew that when I did, somebody was going to need a mop. All I had to do was stand up and win.
“Lookit him just sit there!” shouted somebody from the crowd. “Maybe he don’t know how to do it!”
Everyone laughed and pointed at me. I smiled painfully.
“I’ll show him how, eye god!” said Rusty, standing. He grabbed his urn and shoved it under the overhang of his shirttails. He made a red winsome grimace, and filled the sucker halfway full with one heroic push. Exhausted, he sat back in his seat as money changed hands around the table and the odds hit some kind of brick wall.
Rusty’s display satisfied me that the whole business wasn’t some elaborate ruse to make fun of out-of-town idiots. I knew what had to be done. I had a little bit of stage fright being up there in front of everyone, but stage fright makes me need to use the bathroom. Classic fear response. It was almost too perfect.
I drank one full glass of water for effect. I took a single sip of whiskey, although I didn’t need it. Then I stood up, unzipped my trousers, filled up the entire urn with one sparkling jet, filled up another empty glass with runoff, and then sat back down.
The crowd sat there in silence. My competitors stared at me malevolently – all except Mayor Junkins, who didn’t know what had happened. I knew Rusty was about to accuse me of being a cheat, but before he could, Christian leapt onto the stage and wrapped his arms around me. I waved and pulled up my pants.
“(flup) We have a winner! A new record! (fillip)”
“He sheeted, he sheeted cause he’s a sheeter,” crowed Tuna, dropping his chair and squaring up now.
“(tweet) Not possible (twoah),” said Christian.
“The man didn’t even know what the contest was,” admitted Hooboy, sitting back and crossing his arms. “I’ll allow it.”
“I’ll second that,” said Steve, giving the crowd a flinty eye.
“Aren’t you even gonna check?” shouted Rusty.
“Are you gonna check?” said Hooboy. “You gonna get up all in the man’s scrotum?”
“Then let it ride. There will be other games.”
“I have three bladders,” I said. “It wasn’t really fair.”
Everyone groaned, slamming down their chairs and tossing away money. Christian was happy. The house had won big on the long odds. But he also seemed concerned for some reason. I hate to say it, but half his face was smiling while the other half was sad.
“(pin) Three bladders,” he muttered. “Such strange luck. Such fate. (poo)”
“So what’s yer gonna have, manjack?” asked Mayor Junkins, who had finally caught up. “Yoo look as if yer might cud need the money, if yer want my HONest erpinion. Maybe these island gerls is too much fer yer.”
“Well,” I said. “It’s not even really a question.”
It wasn’t. I’m a journalist. The only reason you get into a game like that is because you’ve got too much curiosity and not enough sense. Otherwise, you would make shit up for a living and call it fiction. The hours are better, people respect you more, and if somebody doesn’t fit into the grander scheme of your narrative, you can just kill them off, nice as you please. Anyway, I had to know.
“I’ll take the best sex I’ve ever had in my entire life, if you don’t mind. And it better be good, otherwise I am going to come back every month and blow you all away until you can find a man with a hollow leg, seltzer for balls, and a urethra you can stick your pinky in.”
“(speen) I have never had any complaints. (spoon)” said Christian. “(meeps) Goonight everyone. Tonight’s Ballroom Game is over. We will meet again next month. Merry Christmas. Safe harbor. (ploop)”
Christian took me by the arm and led me off the stage and out of the ballroom. Behind us, the girls, competitors, and audience began getting their things together, exchanging money and making chit-chat. I looked over my shoulder at Jenny, Monique, and Christina. They waved. They looked a bit betrayed. I was sort of hoping that all three of them would be involved in this adventure. I guess not.
“(cloo) We are going upstairs,” said Christian. “You will meet my sister, and then I will leave. I will collect you in the morning. (ooop)”
“Your sister?” I asked as I followed him through the hallways of the Pilaster. We went up a winding red velvet staircase. My room was on the second floor, but we went all the way up to the fourth.
Christian narrowed his eyes at me again by squishing his face together the way he did. I decided not to press the issue. Fine. His sister. Fine.
“(speet) Your bladders. This is an internal mutation? It is not visible? (coom)”
“I don’t know exactly. The rest of my family is completely normal. I guess I am a fluke.”
“(teepi) A fluke. Yes. (supu)”
A line of snot dribbled out from the hole in Christians face and stretched all the way down the buttons of his coat. He wiped it aside, frustrated.
We reached the one door that wasn’t completely covered in dust. Christian put his hand on the doorknob.
“When I was a boy, it was necessary to remove something very horrible from my face that I will never speak of. Still, I am something of a rock king on this island when it comes to making love. Sometimes I think our women like the wrong kinds of men. We need fresh blood here. Have a good night.”
He opened the door and pushed me through it. It was cold on the other side – like the breath of a freezer. I turned around to protest, to ask a question. But the man was gone.
I went further into the little hotel suite. I could see a bed and furniture. I smelled gardenias. The end table was carved out of one whole stump. The sleigh bed looked comfortable – much nicer than the tiny, hard single mattress on wheels that I was paying too much for. There were candles, a big thick rug, and a quiet electronic beat coming from an expensive stereo.
The toilet flushed and a girl came out from the bathroom. She was wearing a Japanese silk robe. She smiled. She was beautiful. She was as beautiful as Christian was deformed. Ethereal. The whole night was ethereal.
Every finger on her hand was a thumb.
She brushed her hair back. Both hands. She had nothing but thumbs. A whole two hands full of thumbs. Something flicked out from underneath her robe, around her waist. It was a long pink tongue. I bit my lip. I shut the door behind me.
It was the best sex I’ve ever had in my entire life. We never spoke.
I woke up to the sound of singing. It was the tune of Silent Night, but the holies were something else, there were no virgins, and it didn’t sound like anybody involved was getting much sleep. I walked unsteadily to the window. I felt drained and dry, like a crusted shop rag underneath a spare tire in the trunk of a rental car. I had never felt such utter, complete, daffy serenity. I watched a parade of Santa Clauses with beards and scars and horror in their eyes pass underneath me. I didn’t even bother to take notes.
There was a knock on the door. I answered it. Christian’s sister was still asleep, and I didn’t want the noise to wake her.
It was Christian himself.
“(kweet) Good morning. You are happy? (tweek)”
“(freep) Full moon last night. (seeerk)”
“Er…I didn’t notice.”
“(fuggle) You had many times? Lots of goes? (inseep)”
“I only have the one prostate, actually.”
“(sneelp) Don’t worry. I heard everything. Very good. Excellent. (cuckle)”
I crossed my arms and tried to be cool. Christian’s sister stirred behind me. She waved. I waved back. I made a note to get her name. For the record.
“So what do you think?” whispered Christian, grabbing me by the collar. His nose didn’t squeak when he was up this close. “You could live in a place like this forever?”
“Absolutely not. No way.”
“It is okay. Come back anytime you like and play. Different girls. We will make it into a challenge. You will be handicapped accordingly.”
I shook my head. Christian walked away, brooding.