Part 3 of 3

« Back to Part 2

Your mother wasn't happy to see you. She made you a cup of tea, asked how it was, then grabbed it from you after a few sips. Within an hour of your arrival, she was on the phone, whispering to somebody. You returned to your room while she was downstairs, to see that she had decorated the room in a safari theme. Huge pictures of zebras and giraffes on your wall, a big treasure-chest-like thing, and your bed a pile of straw and leaves for her dogs. Your mother called up from the kitchen then. You were to meet a Somebody Miss Special You Might Remember, in thirty minutes.

It took you no time to understand that this was me. I was the only girl your mother ever saw. She had called me Miss Special, those long years ago, before the dry-humping, all the way through, even after Bugles.

You walked down to Dinerville Station. You were surprised how much Mechanic Street had grown.

"I'm not the spring chicken I used to be. I'm old, yes, but not too old for a baby." I then stared at you. It made your cheeks feel warm and tingly.The diner was busy. Very busy. A lot of yuppies were reading the newspaper in their booths, talking about the stock market and blackjack. One of them came over giggling and looked at you for quite some time.

You said, "Excuse me?"

He asked, "Pardon me sir, are you a priest, a fag, or a virgin?"

You looked down into your orange juice. "A virgin."

"Then I suppose Sam wins our bet." The man walked away, frowning.

You ordered another orange juice and toast and waited for me to arrive by keeping your eyes locked to the linoleum table.

You could tell it was me the second I walked in. Except for the fact that I then had bought huge silicon breasts and my old jaundiced skin looked more like a subtle tan, that pointed fucking chin still gave me away.

You talked for a long while because you were nervous. Jobs. Money. The President. Then, you listened to me.

I said, "I'm not doing so well."

"Why," you said. You wondered why I was buttering your toast for you.

"I lost the baby."

There was a glimmer of joyful vengeance in your mind just then. It faded quickly and alarmed you that it did. "Well, uh. What happened?"

"You know the old wives tale?" I had said. "It was a Slam novelist baby, I didn't know how novelist babies were."

"What do you mean?"

"According to my mother…whatever she knows…as soon as they can get their voice, in the womb, I mean. They scream until their brains burst. Have to dig them out."

You apologized, even though you weren't s totally sure why you had to apologize. Something about what I said was very graphic, and maybe that was it. You didn't know if I was joking. Why I was joking about that.

You still wondered, Hadn't I cheated on you? Hadn't I gotten exactly what I deserved? Maybe it was that I was different, that was it.

There was a long silence between us until I said, "I have a favor to ask you."

Even though you asked, "A favor?" you still had a vague idea.

"Yeah. We're both in a sort of predicament."

You agreed, but I went on anyways.

"You're getting old."

"That's true," you said. The thought of smacking me came to mind.

"And me?" I had admitted to you. "I'm not the spring chicken I used to be. I'm sure a lot of the younger girls around here are snatching up as many of them as they can find. I'm old, yes, but not too old for a baby." I then stared at you. It made your cheeks feel warm and tingly.

"I'm not going to marry you first," you said. "And I'm not going back to that fucking church." You had your lines drawn and it made you feel good to stick to them. It felt very good, actually. You tried to hold down a smile.

"Okay," I had said. "That's fine. I just need a baby. A normal baby. A baby with a brain, I mean."

So you thought about it for a minute and ate your toast to give me a minute to worry. "Yes," you finally said.

"Okay," I said.

"I'll meet you in the bathroom in five minutes."

I laughed at you. And you decided it was best to leave it as a joke. I told you about this place called The Slumberland Motel.

When you asked if you needed to bring anything and I had said, "Just yourself," something in your ears clicked, you said. Your fat-ass heart, I'm sure, leapt for joy.

At home, you dusted off your old top hat and wiped your cane and suit clean. Then, you organized your comic book collection by date issued. You fed your old parakeets and wrote a long note to your mother, detailing how to feed them, how to keep the mites off of them, what music they like best to sing to. You slicked back your hair with some old gel you found in your mother's bathroom, removed the dirt from your fingernails with a flat-headed screwdriver, and practiced one last salsa move in the mirror. A-cha, you said. You gave yourself a high-five there, too, and it was a good, solid, direct high-five.

Finally, you said, "Goodbye Mom, I'm going out to a movie with Laurie. Won't be back until late." You didn't say it was your last goodbye as a virgin, of course. You didn't feel like it was the sort of a thing a man should say to his mother before sex. Not because you didn't want to sicken her, but because you wanted my pregnancy to be a surprise.

You said that you thought I was supposed to be spread-eagle. You meant I was supposed to be petting my clit, looking at you with such a torrential craving. The Slumberland Motel desk lady gave you a separate key. It had a bright orange buoy attached to it. I had given her five dollars to remember your description and you were impressed by that.

"Why the buoy?" you asked her. (Just like me.)

"A lot of our customers drop them in the toilet."

You said thank you for the kind advice.

Right then, you felt something in your gut, just as you said it, something quite powerful. This was the last random person you'd ever see as a virgin. Your Thank You was the last platitude you'd ever have to utter as a virgin. The desk lady, with her stupid fucking shrug, was the last person who would see you too, and think, Look at that fat virgin.

You walked out of the office. #8 was penciled on the little buoy.

You walked down the long, unlit, concrete corridor of the Slumberland Motel to Room 8 and on the doorknob was a lime green sign: "DESPERATELY NEED PRIVACY."

You opened the door and immediately saw that I was waiting for you there. I surprised you. I looked dead, lying with both legs flat, my arms at my sides under that thick, crocheted blanket. You might have considered me a mummy, if not for my new breasts heaving up and down.

I was humming something mournful, too or maybe, defeatist. (I will never tell which.) "Something's missing here," you said. This hadn't been what you expected at all. It had been the porn you had seen in Death and Climax Magazine, the stories you had heard from your Georgian roommates and the great laureate Russell Bright himself. You knew that it wasn't supposed to be so bland.

You said that you thought I was supposed to be spread-eagle. You meant I was supposed to be petting my clit, looking at you with such a torrential craving that your spine might turn to jelly.

You wondered, Where's my jelly? and tried not to get hungry.

You shook off the thought, then worried if you had literally shook your head.

Weren't you the one coming here? Hadn't I asked you for your genetic material? Something has to be done, you said. Life has to keep ticking. This big, absurd world had to keep spinning. You said that you put it lightly. You said you had really thought that my self-pitying bullshit just wasn't going to get anything accomplished.

You approached me and uncovered the blanket from my body like a magician removing a tablecloth with plates and glasses atop it. You could tell I was mildly impressed with your zeal.

Before you saw my body–what you considered a part of the contract, the thing you were allowed to touch–our eyes met. Mine a certain green, like a watermelon rind. Yours big and brown and wet, like shit. My body seemed to slack under your gaze, somehow. You sat on the side of the bed and took off your top hat and flipped it up in the air, then let it fall back into your hands. "Well?" you said.

You knew it was wrong to say, "Well?" sending Romance to a small, efficient genocide camp for feelings.

Still, for some reason I asked you, "Are you sure you want to do this?"

You did not answer me with "Yes" and you did not answer me with "No." You said, "I wasn't a man about it."

You wanted to ask me: Do you want me? Just me, Laurie? Or am I just a replacement for something else? You brushed a strand of hair from my face and thought it felt like a duckling's downy feather.

You knew you were wrong when you said, "I won't do this tonight unless I know what it's worth it for me." But you needed my word, or something.

When I sighed and swatted away your hand, your heart choked up in your throat. The veins in your temples beat fast, like engine pistons.

You stood up, planted your cane into the carpet of Slumberland Motel Room 8 for that very reason. "I demand to know," you shouted, because you needed something more. "Do you really want me? I can't do it if it's not about me, Laurie. Do you want just me inside of you?" you asked. "Do you want me? Just me? Because if you do Laurie, I totally will." You said you had been pulling at straws, you knew it. It was uncontrolled anger, it made you feel like shit.

When I said nothing to you during this long rant and I did not move, you became worried. You scanned my body and eyes, saw that I only looked down at my belly for a long time.

"I'm ready," I said, finally, to you. Yes. For you. This is for you. Totally for you. I want you.

You held your breath. You said that it really was something, how you finally realized how desperate I actually was.

I, the woman you had wanted to fuck so damned much before, said to you, "Come." Come. I did not cry for you. I simply said "Come."

And what did you do? You watched me, you said, with your fat fish-hole open and got on top of me.

You had only seen me stroke that line once or twice, that worn and ugly thing, carved from a cleft, just below my belly button. You walked to me, dropping your hat and your cane and the key with the buoy attached, trying to ignore it.

It was that something pink that scared you, you said. That grated channel, ugly relic from the past. You thought, Laurie Marsh is a monster. You thought, with your heavy insides curling up inside themselves: That thing on her belly. Is that her vagina?

It was a Caesarian scar, you realized. Stroking it could only mean one thing. That I was missing my Baby Bugles. You heaved inside of me, disappointed. You dropped to your knees because there was nothing left to do. Something had changed, deep within our chemistry. Electrons were off kilt. Hormones were unbalanced. Your prick was hard, sure, but if that was the only thing pushing you forward, you just couldn't do it. You wanted to leave, you said, wanted to go home and cry to your mother. You couldn't do that either. That is why you shuffled up to me on your knees and nestled your head between my fake breasts. When I kissed your forehead and put my hand on your prick, you knew it was the end. This little movement, it was as though I had whispered to you, with my tiny hands, "Tell me everything important, Gabe. Everything you haven't."

"I love you," you said. And for a moment, I believed you.