Penelope, the afflicted
The bar was the kind of place you’d only ever hit up if you were looking to get laid on a Tuesday night. Penelope was clearly tanked and in wanton search of a second-rate toss. I guess that’s why she had her sights set on me from across the room, slurping on a glass of cheap pinot grigio through a straw, running her hand through the part in her hair.
Eventually she mustered up the nerve to mosey on over to my table and interrupt the game of Boggle I had been playing with a talkative Korean lawyer.
“Is your name Charlie!?” Penelope squealed, her fire alarm inflection rising over the din of insufferable pop music playing on the bartender’s iPod. “Are you from New Jersey?”
Before I had a chance to respond, she continued, “I swear, you look just like my friend, Charlie! And you!” she said, pointing a bony finger toward the Korean lawyer, “You look just like the kind of guy that would be Charlie’s buddy.”
“Listen, sweets,” I slurred, holding a double of Southern Comfort, neat, up to my lips and winking at the Korean lawyer, “I’m not your friend, Chuckles, that’s for sure. But if it makes any difference you can pretend I’m him for the rest of the night. Care to come back to my place to listen to some old soul 45s? My buddy is welcome to come too, but he’s gonna have to spring for a car.”
The Korean lawyer chose to stay behind to see if he could shake some action. Penelope and I stuck him with our tabs and quickly hailed a livery cab outside.
We never got around to listening to those old soul 45s. As soon as we were in cab Penelope sprang on me. She began licking my teeth and yanking my hair, her pelvis grinding into my waist like a mortar and pestle. She dragged me up the stairs to my apartment by the belt buckle and tried pulling me onto the linoleum floor in the kitchen. I managed to escape to the bathroom momentarily. When I stepped out Penelope’s clothes had vanished from her body like an X-rated finale to one of David Copperfield’s magic shows.
For the next several hours she insisted that I ravage her completely, to commit all kinds of sordid and unspeakable acts upon her body, which I did reluctantly. All throughout I watched her body and mind drift further and further apart, like a heavy fog drifts lifting above an island. She moaned, she screamed, she cried the name Charlie over and over again.
Though I was completely terrified and wanted to stop I somehow knew that I couldn’t. For no matter how awful I felt at that moment I knew that it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness caused by the strange growing void her lover left her and which I was asked to fill. In the end, she climaxed violently, digging her fingernails into my scalp and biting my shoulder. Once we disengaged she thanked me, then started to sob.
Looking at her, crying, smoking a cigarette, I thought maybe it was worth it. It seemed like I eased her troubled mind for awhile but in retrospect, I feel guilty. That hour of respite I offered probably only magnified the pain. Hell, what do I know, except that a one night stand will only stir up your demons, not put them to bed.
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