Friday, March 15, 2013

"Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell" Chapters 1 and 2

If you happened to enjoy this story, then help a brotha' out and donate to the kickstarter thingy to make this into a real book. :-)

Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell
By: David McGhee

For Frank Registrato
Because you're cooler than caramel on cinnamon toast!

“I, I, I, well we’re pouring gasoline
So dance around the fire that we once believed in”
- The Offspring

Chapter 1: A hell of a way to start a novel

            It was a cold December weekday night at the Denver Auraria campus dorm, appropriately named, “Auraria Campus Dormitories”. Mike had no homework to get done and wouldn’t have anything to really do until finals the next week. Most of his teachers had decided to let the interim be spent studying, which really wasn’t necessary for Mike seeing as he tended to absorb everything the first time around. Instead he was spending this time mourning a death that he felt responsible for.
            He slouched on his bed with his head in his hands, his roommate, Zack, was sitting Indian style on his mattress and listening to some old seventies punk records on his IPhone. Nothing had ever hurt this much before. Hurt like this was an unknown feeling to Mike seeing as he had the autistic disorder Aspergers. It basically means that he was extremely smart but severely lacked the social and empathy skills that make most people able to function in society and make friends like a normal person. It felt as if someone had tied his heart up with steel chains and tied it to two SUVs going the opposite direction.
            SUVs suck, he thought to himself. What kind of person needed a vehicle fourteen sizes bigger than they were? They were unnecessary and anything unnecessary in Mike’s eyes was just unnecessary. His grammar brought the first smile of the day to his face, one of the small crooked sorts.
            But even that didn’t last long. He had thought about the tragedy constantly since it happened two days earlier. She was so young. Pretty too. His girlfriend couldn’t see why it had upset him so much but they had been friends for nearly three years and she was always there for him. Sometimes to cheer him up she’d eat a small frog whole. She was just like that, always so accommodating and eager to please.
            The night passed slowly and the shadows in the room sat still. Time seemed to flow and stop like burnt caramel. If only he could take his mind off of her long enough to fall asleep. He did not want to take another Ativan, he’d already taken six that day and anymore would leave him short for the rest of the week.
            He began to cry. Zack looked over to his right toward him and snarled. “Are you still sad about that stupid piranha?”
            Mike sniffled and wiped his eyes with his sweater sleeve. “It wasn’t a piranha! She was a red bellied pacu!”
            Zack scoffed and then stopped himself. “How can you tell if it was a female?”
            “Because,” Mike had to stop and think about it for a second. “because girls are nicer than guys?”
            “I’m a nice guy.” Zack countered.
            “You may be but you’re a tall skinny white boy. You’re automatically disqualified for being a dick.”
            “I’m not a dick, I’m an asshole.” Zack reached into his blue and black striped punk trouser pants pocket and took out a pack of Pall Mall menthol cigarettes, knowing full and well that smoking was not allowed in the dorms. “You’re just jealous because I have a nine inch cock.” He cackled and lit a cigarette.
            “You’re not special,” Mike said softly. “you’re just a freak of nature who will never be loved.”
            “I can make a girl come sixteen times before I do.” Zack said with a wink.
            “That’s only because they have low standards.”
            Zack took another drag and put the ash in his Dr. Pepper can. “Whatever.” Zack, to put it lightly, was a total man whore. He was six three and had to be all but one hundred and ten pounds. His boney features highlighted his high cheek bones and pale skin. He had short, spikey black hair and wore a lip ring on the left side of his mouth. His hands and feet were just huge and he was an overall extremely lanky man. He was very good with girls though. For some reason he always acted like a dick but they seemed to dig it, probably the whole bad boy punk thing.
            Mike put his head back in his hands. Zack took another hit of his cigarette.
            “Why would you care about a piranha?” Zack said, checking his phone for a text.
            “Because I’ve had her for the longest time that I’ve had any pet.”
            “Again,” Zack got up and went over to the fridge for another Dr. Pepper. “How can you tell it was a she?”
            Mike had to stop a minute. When Zack looked over Mike had a stupid blank expression in his eyes.
            “Google that shit.” Zack said as he opened the can. Mike took out his Android phone and did as he was told. Ironically, it was Yahoo! Answers that satiated the young man’s curiosity.
            “It just says that the males have a larger red spot on their undersides and pointier dorsal fins.” Mike said as he put the phone down and looked over Zack’s way.
            “And you can compare yours to what now?” Zack asked.
            “I dunno, she was the only one I’ve ever seen.”
            Zack snickered and put his headphones back on. Taking the last drag of his cigarette he ashed the fucker and pulled another one out from the box.
            “Again,” Zack began, “how can you tell it was a she?”
            “I just like to think it was a she.”
            Zack lit the cigarette and smoked a quarter of it in one long drag.
            “How do fish even have sex?” Zack asked.
            “Um…” Mike knew this one without having to go online for the answer. “Fish don’t have sex. The female lays her eggs somewhere hidden and safe from predators while the male comes along afterwards and spews out his semen all over the eggs.”
            “You mean the men fish don’t dick their women?”
            “That’s exactly what I’m saying.” Mike said, laying down his full five seven frame along his dormitory bed. It wasn’t the most comfortable of mattresses and he’s sure that the stains below the sheets were not made from any kind of food he could think of. He could run a black light over it but he’d be afraid of what he’d find.
            Zack turned his music back on and started humming The Buzzcocks softly to himself. Mike turned over and away from Zack and hugged his down feather pillow. Why was he so sad over this? Mike figured that he’d always loved animals, sometimes to the point of alienating his peers. They just seemed to like you no matter what you did that day or who you pissed off. Animals don’t care if you can’t say the right words at the right time. All you had to do was feed them, change their litter or walk them, and give them a little attention and they were happy.
            Aside from Zack, there was only one other person in Mike’s life. Her name was Anna. They’d met last semester when President Obama came to the campus to talk about college being the most important thing in a young person’s life. Mike was going to go up to him and give him a demo of his band, which when thought of in retrospect, probably wasn’t a good idea. He was in line for the meet and greet and Anna was behind him. She had asked what the CD was for and Mike said he wanted to give it to the president. With a sigh she asked him if he was crazy.
            “Not crazy.” Mike had said. “But I am autistic.”
            This seemed to bring out the maternal instinct in Anna because she took the CD from his hand and told him gently that this was inappropriate behavior when meeting someone like the president. Mike thought about it and accepted what she had said as truth.
            Mike and Anna never did get to see the man in charge of the United States but they did get out of line and go up to the Starbucks across the street. It was there that she told him that she is going to school to be a teacher for special needs children. That’s how she knew how to handle Mike before he completed the task that he had set out to do. Mike fell for her hard but always asked himself in the back of his mind whether or not he was good enough for her.
            Zack always joked about how he was going to take her away from him, even tried a few times, but to no avail. At least that’s the story she told him. If he was a girl he’d fuck Zack. He didn’t understand why he thought about that as much as he did but he was just happy that Anna still let him stay at her apartment and that they talked every day.
             Tomorrow was his free day, well aside from going to see his counselor, and she had told him that she’d treat him to anything reasonably priced. For Mike, this meant Chipotle. Chipotle made huge burritos from the ingredients laid out on a bar. First were the beans, then the meat, and then your choice of salsas. Then they wrapped it all up in a tortilla and charged you eight bucks for it. It was a pretty good buy when you take in the fact that one burrito could last you for two days. Mike always got the vegetarian bowl because it came with guacamole and also he knew that the tortilla alone was like five hundred calories. Not that he really had anything to worry about, Mike had been scrawny all his life but if he ate too much it always made him sick.
            Before Mike drifted off to sleep his last thoughts were of Mega Bite. Would he get another one? Could he take care of it like he did that one? He curled up into the fetal position and wrapped his blanket around him. Then he was asleep.

            Mike waited in the waiting room over at his therapist’s office. It was a drab and shaggy place with manila colored walls and widescreen TV’s on them with displays of calming meadows with soft instrumental music being piped in via the speakers. There was a section out in the far right side corner where kids could play with the many toys and such provided by the office. The magazine selection sucked ass in his opinion, nothing but old Popular Mechanics and that dreadful Oprah magazine, the one in which it was either Rachael Ray on the cover or Dr. Oz. Or whatever person she was hocking that week.
            Mike sighed; at least he brought a book. He was currently reading Planet of the Apes. So far it was nothing like the horrible Charlton Hesston movie made back in the sixties. This one took place in a lush meadow and in a society that had civilized cities. Also the apes didn’t speak English, which was always something Mike wondered about when he watched movies dealing with completely different beings other than humans. Like in some sci-fi films and books the protagonist would travel fifty light years away to another planet only to find out that not only do the aliens walk on two legs and have necks, but they also spoke English too! It always left him feeling cheated.
            His Therapist, George, escorted a tall fat man out of his office and motioned for him to come in. As he passed, the fat man scratched his butt and Mike could see his ass crack just poking through the man’s too small sweat pants. Mike never liked to judge but it was things like that that tested his patience.
            When he got to the room he sat on his usual chair, by which there were three in the room, but his was the blue one. George closed the door behind him and sat at his desk directly in front of Mike.
            “So how have you been this week?” George asked sweetly.
            Mike scratched his nose. “OK I guess. My fish died.”
            “Oh no! Not the piranha?”
            Mike looked away from the man and over at his PhD’s on the right side of the room.
            “It wasn’t a piranha,” Mike corrected him, “it was a red bellied pacu.”
            “What’s the difference?” George asked.
            “One is legal and one isn’t. You can’t have real piranhas in Colorado because they could get out and multiply in the water here.”
            George smiled. “How are you dealing with this?
            Mike shook his head and fought back the tears. “I dunno. I’ve been taking a lot of Ativan lately.”
            “Not abusing it I hope?”
            Mike looked offended. “I’m not an addict.”
            “You never know what could send you down that road.”
            Mike used to take prescription pain killers before going to rehab a few years ago. The fact that they let him even take a low dose of Ativan was beyond him. He was grateful for it but all in all, it made them out to be the one’s pushing the drugs on him. Then again, he couldn’t handle the crowds at school, too many scary guys who looked like they were a comment away from hitting him in the face.
            That made him think of Zack and he shivered.
            “Why are you shaking Michael?” George asked.
            “Just thinking of my roommate.” Mike replied.
            “Has he done anything to you?”
            “No…” Mike confessed. “I just feel inferior around other guys. I don’t know why Anna even likes me.”
            “Have you ever thought that maybe she likes you more for your personality?”
            “I think she likes me because I am like one of her special needs kids.”
            “Maybe she is just a caring person?”
            “That could be it, but I know deep down inside her she wants a beer drinking, bitch fucking, football watching asshole.”
            “Why do you have these stereotyped views on other people?”
            “Because other people lick donkey balls.”
            “I wouldn’t say that.” George took off his glasses and wiped them clean with his dress shirt. “Would you say that I participate in that activity?”
            Mike scowled as if he had just swallowed a spider.
            “I don’t know what you do when you’re not in here.” Mike said.
            “I certainly don’t lick donkey privates.” George laughed, it made Mike uneasy and he wished he could take a chill pill right about now.
            “Well then you probably are a connoisseur of finer stock animal genitalia.” Mike bent over and hugged his knees. He was getting in over his head.
            “Well I have had rocky mountain oysters before.” George chuckled. “Have you ever tried those?”
            “You mean fried buffalo balls?”
            “If you want to put it that way, then yes.”
            Mike closed his eyes tightly until he began to see stars.
            “I remember the first time I had them…” George began.
            Mike made a guttural sound and put his head between his knees.

            That night Anna made good on her promise to treat Mike out to lunch and / or dinner, which tonight it happened to be dinner. Instead of Chipotle she decided to take him to a fancy steak house restaurant, which judging by the menu prices, meant that she was trying to get into his pants that night. Or at least that’s what she thought would happen.
            It was a two story brick building with a low light setting and taxidermy bulls heads all around. Apparently the main attraction was the buffalo steaks, which are said to be tenderer than cow steaks. Mike wouldn’t know, he had never tried one. He didn’t know where to start on the menu, there were so many things and none of them were burritos. Mike was a creature of habit and only really ate at one of two places, Chipotle and Go Fish. Go Fish is a sushi place on South Broadway where you could get twenty four pieces of sweet, life giving sushi for about $15. If it wasn’t a burrito a piece of raw fish, then it just didn’t do it for Mike’s fragile and selective sensibilities.
            Sometimes he ate at McDonalds, but that was only when money was tight.
            “Do they have any fish?” Mike asked Anna, who sat across from him. There was a candle on the table between them to enhance the mood. Anna put down her menu and smiled.
            “It’s a steak house honey.” She said.
            Mike grimaced. “That doesn’t mean that they can’t serve something else other than steak.
            “It’s a specialty restaurant. People spend a lot of money to go here.”
            Mike took up the menu and looked at the price for a T-bone. “Who the hell would spend sixty three dollars on cow flesh?”
            Anna sighed and took a sip from her whiskey coke. “People who want to impress their significant other I suppose.”
            The comment was totally lost on Mike. “I’d rather have a burrito.”
            The waiter came by with some complementary appetizers and put them on the white and red checkered cloth table between them. He did not say what they were and nodded toward Anna. Mike felt the jealousy immediately hit him and he grunted and turned away. The waiter smiled and left them to their food.
            Mike turned back toward Anna. “What the hell is this?”
            “I don’t know.” Anna smiled. “Maybe the waiter likes us?”
            Mike turned around and saw the six foot two, dark haired, masculine waiter go from table to table asking only the female customers if they had enjoyed their meal.
            “He’s a fucking man whore.” Mike said under his breath and took a gulp of his white Russian.
            “He’s just trying to be nice.”
            “He wants your vagina to wrap around his cock.”
            Anna ignored him and used a fork to pick up a sliver of something. Mike didn’t want any part of it and knew he’d regret putting anything from this place into his mouth.
            “It’s really good Mike.” Anna said after she swallowed the first bite. There was some sort of steak piece aside from the slivers and she tried a piece of that as well. “It’s all really good! Come on Mike! Try it!” She took his fork and stuck it into one of the slivers and put it to Mike’s mouth.
            “No.” Mike said as he tried to avoid the fork.
            Anna laughed. “I’ll put out if you do.”
            Mike grimaced. “I have a hand don’t I?”
            “Yes but you can’t beat a good old fashioned vagina.”
            Mike closed his eyes and opened his mouth. To his surprise it wasn’t that bad. It had a weird crunchy, salty taste to it. He chewed it a few times before swallowing it. Anna laughed.
            “What was that?” Mike asked as he used a cloth napkin to wipe his mouth.
            “I dunno.” Anna said truthfully and motioned for the hunky waiter to come back over to the table. The man smiled and walked from where he was over by the second floor patio and came back to the two young people.
            “How may I help you?” He said courteously. “Are you ready to order?”
            “Yes,” Anna replied. “What is this you gave us?”
            The man had a smirk on his face and told them. “The big steak is alligator tail,” he motioned to the big lump of meat on the plate, then he pointed at the slivers. “And that, that’s a Colorado specialty.”
            “Ooh, you hear that Mike? A specialty” Anna took Mike’s hand and held it tight.
            “What exactly are the slivers?” Mike asked, looking away from the man.
            “Rocky mountain oysters.” The waiter replied.

            Anna was pissed that they had to leave the restaurant so soon after getting there. And once again, their date wound up being centered around McDonalds’ dollar menu. They were sitting in the play area and eating discount small fries with their Double McCheese Burgers. Mike had no problem with the ambiance of twenty small kids going through tunnels and pitching plastic balls over at them. It made Anna thank God that they always used a condom. Previous boyfriends, it seemed, only wanted to go bareback and fuck ten times a day. What was cool about Mike was that he only had sex with her when she wanted to, it was hard enough to even get his shirt off at times. The only thing that bothered her was that he was generally resistant to touch. Hugs were fine but rubbing him anywhere seemed to provoke him to tense up and draw away.
            A blue plastic ball hit Mike in the head and fell to his feet. Mike, with a mouthful of cheese burger, looked back over at the culprit. A small red headed boy was pointing at him and laughing in a shrill, high pitched way that little kids seemed to produce before puberty made them into baritones. Mike frowned and swallowed his food. He picked up the ball and threw it back with all his might, but missed the kid by three feet.
            The kid looked back to where the ball had landed and turned his attention back on Mike.
            “You’re a fucking terrible thrower!” The kid laughed.
            Mike shrugged his shoulders and popped his neck. “You’re a waste of sperm and egg!”
            Anna struggled to keep a straight face. “Stop Mike. He’s just a kid. Do you remember when you were a kid?”
            “I was never a kid…” Mike said as he finished his burger. The kid threw another ball at Mike and this caused him to stand up and go over the play place to confront the little bastard.
            “Ooh! Are you going to hit me?” The kid spat.
            Mike just stood there in front of him and looked like he was going to stroke out. But he never raised his hands.
            The kid laughed. “God you’re short! Your girlfriend can do soooooooooo much better!”
            Mike shrugged and flapped his left hand. “Red heads normally go bald when they are in their twenties!”
            The kid stopped laughing and felt his scalp.
            “Is your father bald?”
            The kid looked stunned and looked as if he were just punched in the stomach.
            “Have a nice life trying to get people to love you baldy.”
            Mike walked back over to the seat and sat down. He stared at his wrappers and sighed.
            Anna took his hand under the table and said “Don’t feel bad. Height isn’t everything.”
            “That’s what girls who want to make guys feel better say.”
            “Well I dated a tall guy a few times and one of them was only four inches.”
            This cheered Mike up a little but not enough to make him raise his head up.
            Anna sighed. “I wanted to talk to you about something tonight actually.”
            “It has nothing to do with garbling balls I hope?” Mike said as he took a sip from his value sized soda.
            “No…” Anna squeezed tighter. “I want you to come with me to Everland Colorado for Christmas break. You know,” she trailed off. “To meet my family.”
            Mike groaned. “Everybody hates me though. What makes you think they’d like me going to their house, eating their food, and using their showers?”
            Anna frowned. “I’ve told them all about you and they’re excited to me you.”
            “Excited my ass.” Mike took one last sip and gathered up the trash and put it into the red and white McDonalds’ bag. He then put it on the ground next to him because he couldn’t stand to look at any pictures or renditions of Ronald McDonald. To him he looked like a red haired pedophile.
            “No… They really are.”
            “You know I always mess things up.” Mike said softly. He put his head on the table and put his hands around his head. He wasn’t crying, just overwhelmed.
            “It’ll be fine sweety.”
            Mike lifted his head and sighed. “I’m just afraid of making a fool of myself in front of your family. Didn’t you say they were a little conservative?”
            “They’ve really grown since I’ve moved out.” Anna took a quick look over by the play place and smiled as the throngs of children did their thing with the assorted tubes and ball pit. “I’ve told them about your Aspergers and they seem to have understood what that’s all about.”
            Michael groaned and got up. He took out his small cup from the bag underneath the table and said “I’m going to get a refill.”
            “I will too.” Anna got up with him and walked into the restaurant and over to the self-serve soda dispensers. Mike never understood why everyone called soda “pop” here in Colorado. Before getting on Social Security, he had applied for a job and the owner offered him a pop. Misunderstanding the man he told him that he was not hungry and didn’t really like popsicles. The man had laughed and explained to him that up here they called Coke and Pepsi and all those other soda products “pop”. It was a misunderstanding and that’s how he offered it to customers from then on. But he still said “soda” whenever he wasn’t working.
            They got their refill and went back out to the play place. Mike picked up the bag of trash and took it to the garbage can near the entrance of the playground. They both sat back into their seats and neither said a word for the longest time. Then Anna broke the silence.
            “You’ll be fine. I’ll take care of you. No one is going to do or say anything bad to you.”
            Mike was trying to hold back the tears. “I’m just worried I’ll embarrass you like I always do…”
            Anna laughed. “If you embarrassed me I wouldn’t be with you, now would I?”
            “What about the time that I refused to accept a dollar coin from that gas station guy when we tried to get some cigarettes?”
            “That was nothing hun.”
            Mike rolled his shoulders and turned his head to the left, cracking his neck. “The guy was yelling about calling the cops and stuff though.”
            “Well, he didn’t. Did he?”
            “Only because you gave me a dollar bill in substitution.”
            “I know.” Anna stared off towards the parking lot reflectively. She sighed and took her gaze back into Mike’s light blue grey eyes. “I love you. I know you have a hard time believing that but I do.” She took his hand and felt bad about the tear falling from his right eye like a crack in a coffee cup filled with salty water. “And when I’m done with college in a few years I can become your full time care taker.”
            “Is that the only reason you’re becoming a nurse?” Mike asked suspiciously. “So you can take care of me? I’m not a child. I can do things for myself.” He wiped the tear away with his black and white G.G. Allen hoodie.
            “I’m not going just because I want to take care of you. I’m going because I love taking care of people in the first place.”
            “So I’m a needy helpless patient in your eyes?”
            “Not at all.” Anna said, flustered at where the conversation was going. “I see you as a beautiful human being who has a wonderful way of looking at the world.” Mike lowered his head and Anna reached over and lifted it to where she could see his face. She leaned over and kissed him gently on the lips. Mike smiled for the first time that night.
            “I think us going will be good for us. For you. You’ll have a good time, I promise.”
            Mike took a long sip from his Dr. Pepper and looked her into her mud brown eyes.
            “OK.” He said with a small, almost childlike voice. “I’ll do it for you.”
            She grabbed his hand and held it tight with both of hers. “We’ll do it together. I promise it will be OK. I wouldn’t let anything happen to you, OK?”

            As Mike walked up toward his room at the dormitory he heard mild commotion going on behind the door. He stopped and put his ear to the door and could hear that Zach must have a girl over.
            “Swallow bitch! There’s children starving in Africa!” Zack yelled. Mike cringed and knocked on the door.
            “Can I come in?” Mike asked softly, careful not to make too much noise as to wake the neighboring rooms.
            All the noise stopped in the room and he heard Zack’s foot-steps walking towards the door. The Door opened and Zack stood there in front of Mike with a nine inch hard on, which was dripping with that white stuff that Mike thought was such an unnecessary bi-product of sex. He saw a short, thin, naked black girl with bright red hi-lights crouching next to Zack’s bed wiping her mouth with a towel.
            “What the fuck do you want?” Zack asked as he turned around and walked bare-assed naked back to his bed.
            “I live here.” Mike said as he shielded his eyes and walked toward his bed set on the far side of the room. The black girl started dressing but Zack stayed naked as he lay down on his bed.
            Mike couldn’t help but notice her nude body and felt a ping of sadness fill him. He hated the fact that he didn’t look or act like Zack. He bet that if he had Zack’s body, he could cure cancer.
            Zack’s hard on softened and he pulled his covers over himself.
            “When you want to get together again babe?” The black girl asked as she pulled her UCD hoodie over her head.
            “I don’t know.” Zack said with his hands behind his head and a look of satisfaction on his face. “I’ll text you later.”
            The black girl smiled and nodded toward Mike as she left the room. Mike got up and closed the door, making sure to lock it and checked it twice.
            “I’m so sorry dude…” Mike said as he took off his shoes.
            “Why?” Zack laughed and reached for his pack of cigarettes on the nightstand next to their twin beds. “I have nothing to be ashamed about,” He lit the cigarette and smirked. “unlike some people in this room.”
            Mike groaned and stripped down to his boxers. “I’m average and that’s OK.”
            “If you say so.” Zack took a long drag of his cigarette and ashed it into an empty Pepsi can on the nightstand. “I bet if you let Anna have one night with me then she’d never even talk to you again.”
            This hurt Mike because he was used to people stealing his girlfriends and he had not doubt in his mind that Zack could do it. Even though she always turned him down, he was sure that one of these days she’d drop her panties and he’d widen her snatch like an abused Stretch Armstrong. He took a deep breath and got into bed.
            “Can I have a cigarette man?” Mike asked Zack. Zack smiled and took one out of his pack and handed it to him.
            “You’re so much fun to fuck with dude.” Zack laughed. “You take everything so fucking seriously.
            Mike lit the cigarette. “I just don’t find it funny when you say you’re going to hump Anna.”
            “I would if she’d let me.”
            Mike sighed and pulled his sheets over his boxer clad body. “Yeah… Otherwise that would be rape. I hear girls don’t dig that too much.”
            “You can’t rape the willing dude.”
            Mike cringed and finished his cigarette. Then he turned out the light on the nightstand without objection from Zack.
            “Don’t you have to take your pills?” Zack said in the darkness with genuine concern.
            “I took them with dinner.”
            “OK.” Zack said with a manner that suggested relief. “I don’t want you fucking freaking out in the middle of the night. I swear the next time you wake me up because you have a hang nail or whatever the fuck it may be, I’ll rip off your small dick and shove it down your throat.”
            “It’s not small…” Mike said with a hint of sadness in his voice. Zack said no more and Mike slept facing away from him. With Zack’s package he couldn’t help but feel small in comparison. He had no idea as to what Anna saw in him. He began to count prime numbers in his head until he finally drifted off to sleep. He had no dreams that he could remember that night.

Chapter 2: Two’s company and three’s trigonometry

            It was the last class of the semester and Mike was hard at work doing his in class final. It was for psychology 102 and he breezed through it with speed matched only by an Olympic runner from Africa. With satisfaction he filled in the last dot on the Scantron and looked over his answers one last time before handing it in. He wanted to someday become a psychologist but he had serious doubts as to his abilities to counsel people. Maybe he’d switch his major to physics next semester. At least with math he didn’t have the likely chance of causing someone to commit suicide under his care. But he loved the subject and would see it through to as many of the classes on the subject that he could.
            The answers all seemed to be in order and he got up and handed the answer sheet to his Teacher, a tall skinny blond woman named Professor Teeger. They had had their rough patches through the semester but she soon learned up about Aspergers and began to raise her hand slightly whenever Mike brought the class off subject or talked too much. Mike appreciated this because he never wanted to be the class clown by accident or have everyone pissed at him for holding up the class.
            “Thank you for putting up with me this semester.” He said as he put the scantron on Professor Teeger’s desk. She looked up from her computer and smiled. Then she put her index finger to her tightly pursed lips, indicating that there was to be no talking while everyone was working. Mike nodded and understood, but he still felt shunned. He walked back over to his table in the front row and picked up his laptop bag. Making his way to the door, he took one last look over the class and felt a growing sadness in his stomach. Or was he hungry? They both felt the same to him.
            As he let himself out the door he walked down the hall and halfway through the classroom trailer unit he nearly collapsed with fatigue and remorse. He sat down and started to cry. Luckily no one else was in the hallway but he still kept the noise to a minimum. After collecting himself he got back up and walked out of the trailer unit and on to the bus stop, where he’d head to campus from there.
            He had felt his phone vibrate a few times during class and now had the chance to check it. There was a text from Zack calling him a fagot and he had two from Anna wondering how he was. It made him feel like a child whenever she checked in so many times but secretly he loved her maternal actions. He didn’t know where he’d be now without her. The threat of losing her worried him to no end and he had had many sleepless nights as a result of this fear. Mike had had a few girlfriends in the past but they all ended in disaster and crippling heart break.
            Mike remembered the time he lost his virginity. He stood in the middle of the parking lot and stifled a moan of disgust at what had happened that night.
            About two years earlier, when he had just turned twenty one, and he was at a local band concert down at the Hi-Dive when he was approached by a tall blond girl in a bright green sweatshirt and maroon sweat pants. The band that night was the now defunct Hot IQs and he was over by the stage dancing along when she had come up to him and complemented him on his moves.
            “The secret is to move with the beat.” Mike had said with a wink. He had been pretty drunk off of three white Russians and a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. He had never even entertained the notion of picking up a girl at a bar before but he welcomed the company. Her name was Rebecca and she danced right along with him until the very last song. Mike was going to leave after that because he had to take the bus back to his parent’s place. Rebecca wrapped her arms around him and told him that she could drive him home if they stayed for the last band, Matson Jones, also defunct now.
            Between the Hot IQs getting their stuff off the stage and Matson Jones setting up they started talking about their love of the local music scene. Mike had not even been twenty one for four months yet he seemed to know everyone involved in the scene. He gladly introduced her to the editor of the local free news rag “The Westword” and then to the owners of the club they were currently partying in. When she asked to meet The Hot IQs he gladly obliged. However they were currently getting their gear off of the stage and to the back of the club, he unwittingly butted in and introduced her. The band was cordial but she later told him that they were most likely perturbed to be bugged in the middle of the tear down.
            She bought him another white Russian and once he was done he put the empty glass on the bar. That was when he received his first ever kiss from a girl. She leaned down (she had to be about six feet tall with heels) and put her lips to his. It at first felt like a mild stroke but as she went on with it he lost his fear and participated in the act with her. He was afraid to wrap his arms around her but she had no qualms about it herself. He finally obliged and hugged her back. After a few seconds he began to feel uncomfortable doing it in front of the sold out crowd and gently nudged her away.
            She touched his chest and her index finger slid seductively down to Mike’s crotch. He immediately got an erection and he had never felt so embarrassed in his life. He blushed and scooted back a few steps until he hit a bar stool with his back. She smiled.
            “Wanna go back to your place?” She whispered into his left ear. Mike shivered and didn’t know how to respond. He just went with it and nodded his head slowly up and down. She took his hand and led him to the door. On the way the singer of Matson Jones inquired why he was leaving so early and Rebecca responded by saying it was past his bedtime. The singer seemed to get the idea even though it was lost on Mike.
            When they got to her car two blocks away on Lincoln Street she started to make out with him again across the gear shift. Mike just went along with it and when she was done she started the car.
            “Sorry if I’m bad at kissing…” Mike told her with great remorse.
            “You’re fine cutie.” She purred.
            When they reached his place down in Lakewood Mike was relieved to find that his parents were gone. They had told him earlier that they were going to the casinos down in Black Hawk and he figured that they were probably spending the night that night. He unlocked the front door and led her into the living room. He locked the door and they both sat on the couch sitting in the midst of the room.
            “So…” Mike stuttered. “You want to watch a horror movie?” He picked up the remote and turned on the TV. She took the remote from his hand and turned it back off.
            “No.” She said. “I was thinking of something a little different.”
            Mike began to feel unsure of himself and knew where this was going, and he was scared shitless of it. She pinned him down on the couch cushions and stuck her tongue down his throat. He tried to move along with her but wound up nearly choking her instead. She laughed and moved her hands down to Mike’s pants zipper. He had never been so hard in his life and he was mortified that she was unbuttoning him and unzipping the zipper. Then she pulled down his pants, revealing his black boxers with the yellow smiley faces. Mike took in a deep breath and closed his eyes as she also pulled them down to his ankles. He saw nothing but suddenly felt her mouth wrap around him. It felt really odd without his hand doing the job and he tried to maneuver himself into the right position. However during the midst of the impromptu blow job he accidently kneed her in the face.
            “FUCK!” She bellowed and covered her right eye.
            “OH MY GOD!” Mike cried. “I’m so, so, so sorry!”
            Rebecca laughed and stood up to take off her shirt. “Is this your first time?”
            Mike blushed, which she took as a yes. Rebecca took off her bra and threw it on Mike’s face. Mike grabbed it with two fingers and held it as if he were handling a vile of E-Coli. When he dropped it on the floor next to the couch she had her pants around her ankles and kicked them to the side.
            “Wanna go to your bedroom?” She said seductively.
            Mike gulped and nodded his head. He first perused through his bag for one of the condoms that he had gotten from when he went to the health clinic when he got a bad case of bronchitis. They were in a glass fish bowl on the receptionist’s counter and when she was looking away he had grabbed a handful. The one he grabbed was a magnum but he didn’t know what that meant. He grabbed her hand and led her upstairs to the first room on the left. In there they stood in the doorway naked and she guided him over to his bed and pushed him onto it. He frantically tore open the condom wrapper and put the oversized prophylactic over his penis and felt like one fourth less than a man at the fit. He was sure he wasn’t THAT small… But she just grabbed it and began to stroke. Mike took her by the waist and laid her down on the bed.
            “Hmm…” Rebecca moaned. “What do you have in mind lover?”
            Mike said nothing but instead put his head between her legs and did the first thing that came to mind. He stuck his tongue into her vagina and started going up and down. For a short while he was sure he was doing well until she grabbed him by his head and raised it above her waste.
            In her sweetest voice she said “You fucking suck at that.” Mike felt incredibly embarrassed and immediately mounted himself over her and stuck his thing into her thing and began to push in and out. It felt really awkward and at some point during the act the condom fell off inside her.
            “What the fuck?” She said, almost as a question.
            Mike felt like crying but kept a stoic face. “One moment.” He said and went back downstairs bare ass naked and went through his bag again. He found another condom, one that wasn’t a magnum, and put it on. He went back upstairs and finished the job in less than a minute.
            After he was done he was panting and hating himself while she went back downstairs and got dressed. He waited for her to come back up but after about ten minutes he heard the front door close and then heard her car start and leave the cul-de-sac.
            Depressed and embarrassed with his performance, Mike got up and went back down stairs to get his clothes back on. He knew he should have taken a shower but he couldn’t find it in himself to stay naked any longer. He felt a shame that he had never before felt.
            He sat on the couch for the longest time before heading to the refrigerator in the kitchen. It took him all of five seconds to realize that Rebecca had left him a note with her contact info on the front of the fridge. It also included her Dead Journal, sort of like a goth version of what used to be Livejournal, which was an online diary that anyone could use, and he made a note to check it out when he woke up the next morning.
            He wished he never had though. Written in big bold letters on her homepage was “Worst. Lay. EVER!”
            He must have thrown up a dozen times that day from pure hatred of himself.
            Luckily Anna never made him feel that way. He knew he must still suck at sex but at least she never said anything to anyone about his performance.
            Mike realized that he had been standing in the school parking lot so long that many of the classes had let out and he was blocking two cars from exiting the lot. He waved to them in apology and went over to the sidewalk about ten feet to his left, letting the two cars get by. Mike shook his head in bewilderment and walked to the bus stop near the front of the campus.

            Mike got his usual Chipotle burrito on the way back to his dorm and ate it on the bus. When he got home he threw the trash away in the lobby and made his way back up to the room he shared with Zack. Once inside he took off his shoes and laid his laptop bag on his bed. He made his way to the refrigerator and immediately noticed the yellow sticky note on the door.
            “It’s ‘MY’ beer, you fag!” it said. Mike shrugged and cracked his neck. He took one of the Dr. Pepper cans from the back and closed the fridge. Taking a long gulp from the soda, he took out his phone again and texted Anna telling her he had made it home. It took all but a minute for her to text back telling him that she’d be over in thirty minutes. Mike just hoped that Zack wouldn’t be back by then and take his girlfriend away from him.
            During the interim he read Chuck Palahniuk’s “Invisible Monsters” and slowly drank his soda, but before she got there though he smoked a cigarette as fast as he could and lay on the bed with his face facing the door.
            As almost as if she had some sort of internal Swiss time piece inside her, she got to his dorm in almost exactly thirty minutes. Mike locked the door and they made love before they both got in the shower. He loved it when she cleaned her and wondered how she must feel when he scrubbed her down in return. They dried off and got dressed just in time before Zack busted through the door and went directly to the fridge. He cracked open his PBR when he noticed that Mike and Anna were sitting on Mike’s bed.
            “Hey fag!” Zack said in good humor. “You want a beer?”
            Mike smiled. “Yeah sure!”
            “Not you dipshit!” Zack scoffed. “I meant the pretty girl next to you.”
            Anna laughed. “Only if you give Mike one.”
            “If Mike gets drunk he’ll probably wanna fuck me.” Zack put his beer on the nightstand and went back to the fridge and got two more beers. He handed one to Anna and threw the other into Mike’s gut.
            “Oomph!” Mike uttered and caught the beer before it rolled off his legs and onto the floor. He opened it using the pin on the can and took a long drink of the piss water beer. “I’m already getting horny for you Zack!” Mike said sarcastically.
            Anna drank hers in a few long gulps and crushed the can beneath her Vans skate shoe. Zack smiled and wished to any God up wherever there were Gods that Mike would have a heart attack and leave Anna to himself. But that was a pipe dream, he wasn’t that lucky.
            “Wanna party?” Zack asked as he produced a small baggie of white powder from his pants pocket.
            “No thank you.” Anna said scornfully. “You know I don’t do drugs.”
            Zack shrugged and gave a playful smile. “I know fag here is shit scared of pithy little amounts of pot so I’m not even going to ask.”
            “Drugs are bad, mmkay?” Mike said dryly, staring at the wall in front of him.
            “Suit yourselves. I’m going to make my mouth numb now!” Zack laughed and went into the bathroom. Mike shrugged his shoulders and involuntarily flapped his left hand. Anna put her hands on Mike’s back and began to give him a massage. Mike stiffened up and turned his head toward her. He gave her a light kiss on the cheek and put his head on her shoulder. Anna wrapped her arms around him and rocked him gently back and forth, as if she were rocking a cradle that housed a very temperamental baby.
            “I hate it when he does drugs…” Mike whispered sadly.
            “It’s OK.” Anna assured him. “We can go back to my place if you want.”
            “I’M FUCKING AWESOME!!!” Zack yelled from the bathroom. Anna and Mike both turned toward the bathroom door. The door opened and Zack came out and smiled like a methed up clown. “Hey Anna, want a little Irish in you?”
            “We’re going to leave now.” Anna said as she took Mike’s arm and lifted him off his bed.
            “We’ll it’s not all that little.”
            “I have a penis to play with.” Anna kissed Mike on the cheek. Mike blushed and turned away.
            “I’ll give you two fiddy and a bag of skittles!”
            “I wouldn’t even touch your pinky finger even if it would solve the debt crisis.”
            “What if it would end world hunger?”
            “Goodbye Zack.” Anna left the room with Mike.
            “Think of the children!!!”

            They reached her apartment down on Capitol Hill and parked in the lot behind the five floor modern building. It was a faux old looking number with grey bricks and white mortar. It was one of those places you had to put in a code in order to get in; either that or you had someone buzz you in.
            They got out of her Honda Civic and she led him to the front door. Mike waited by her side as she entered the passcode and they heard the loud click of the glass door unlocking. In the hallway was the mail room and she stopped by real quick to see if anything had been sent to her. There was only her phone bill and some flier for the Chinese place down the street that always seemed to close down and reopen every other month for whatever reason.
            Mike stood with his hands behind his back and rocked back and forth singing to himself. The song was just a tune he made up but he had his moments where he thought he should write the lyrics down.
            They got to her apartment on the third floor and Anna opened the door and let Mike in. It was a nice place, definitely a girl’s apartment, but a nice place for a guy to hang out in. She avoided pink at all cost and instead slathered the living room in yellows and light greens. There was a Venus flytrap over on her dining table under a sun lamp. The couch was made of brown corduroy and the coffee table was made of steel with a glass top. There were teddy bears everywhere, most of them provided by Mike in a misguided attempt at impressing her. She let it happened and even thought it was sweet of him; at least until she had received the forty fourth bear, then it started to be a hassle. She didn’t have the heart to tell him to stop though.
            Mike took off his Converse shoes at the door and walked in his grey and white socks over to the couch where Anna was already sitting. He sat next to her and laid his head on her left shoulder. She ran her fingers through his soft brown hair and kissed his forehead.
            “So when do we leave?” Mike asked as his head slinked onto Anna’s lap.
            She continued to run her fingers through his hair and answered “Sunday sound good to you?”
            “Okey dokey.”
            “It’ll be fun. You’ll love my father. He’s a no nonsense man just like you.”
            Mike flapped his left hand violently for a few seconds and then calmed himself down.
            “I don’t mean that he’s an asshole,” Anna assured him. “I just mean that he’s all about the facts and doesn’t let emotion cloud his thoughts.”
            “I love you.” Mike cooed.
            Anna laughed.

            All day Saturday, Mike basically just read all day and packed that night. He doesn’t have many clothes so it was a lot easier than packing say, Anna’s clothes. He liked to wear pretty much the same clothes every day and it always took either Anna’s participation or threats against his life from Zack, but he never took a shower otherwise.
            Sunday morning Mike got up early that day in dread anticipation. He was sure he was going to butt heads with Anna’s father. She said he voted for both Bush’s and pretty much deny gay rights and such. He worked at the Mayor’s office in his town. It was supposedly near Estes Park Colorado and as it was told to him, pretty boring to boot.
            Mike didn’t even notice that Zack was gone until he busted in the room. He locked the door and appeared to have been scared to the point where Mr. Anarchy feared something or someone. Zack then went over to the closet and got out his briefcase. Mike walked cautiously over to where Zack was packing clothes into it.
            “Leaving my life for good?” Mike asked cheekily.
            “Oh man!” Zack said breathlessly. “Don’t ever get your hookers where you buy your coke!”
            Zack took a deep breath. “I need to hide out for a while dude.”
            “Okay.” Mike felt not the least bit of empathy with Zack.
            “Can I go with you to your girlfriend’s house?”
            Zack gasped. “No fucking way!”

            “I’m sorry about the death of your grandmother Zack.” Anna said as they were heading north of I-70 in her Volvo Civic.
            “She will be missed.” Zack said dryly and ashed his cigarette out the backseat window.
            Mike groaned and sank deeper into his passenger side seat.

3: That was my first rape joke

            They had left at around eight that morning and arrived in Goodington Colorado at six. It would have been sooner if Mike didn’t have to stop at every rest stop because he just couldn’t keep the internal plumbing in check.

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