He remembered his second-to-first time, almost as abruptly and painfully as it had occurred. A terrible abortion, it was over almost at the precise minute it had started. His wilting champion failing to realize that pleasure was a game of duration, one that was meant for two. Her chocolate eyes stared in disbelief for only a moment, before her shellacked lip curled into a vicious grin. Her laughter was much more of a cackle, a grating staccato beat. She was a whore, a prostitute who – feeling pity for him – willingly went “off the clock” to enjoy a bit of lust and satisfaction, and he had left her hungry for more. So much more. As a result, she fed her hunger through hatred, belittling and berating him up till the point where he could finally get his pants secured and his ass out the door. He had failed miserably, and she’d be damned if he didn’t hear about from her. Her laughter could be heard all the way down the hall, and echoed in his memory still.
Oddly, his first time was wholly unlike the second-to-first. With his first time he enjoyed himself. Following her lead, he took the time to feel her fleshy mounds. He explored her curves, as he romped through her manicured forest of delight. He became lost in her, lost to time and to place. Taking impromptu turns between top and bottom as they tussled across the floor, he acted very much like a child in a candy store. And in his excitement, he found her ecstasy well before he found his own. He took her in, and drank of her essence. He took her in – in smell, sight and sound – and her deep throaty moans could also still be heard floating down his memories’ abbreviated hall.
Had he the inclination, Clive would have realized the difference between his first and his second-to-first time. Had he thought long and hard about them both – and then connected the dots with what he was going through right now – he would have come to realize that in the second-to-first instance, the girl was alive. In the first, she was not.
There must have been something about the cheeseburger, now being held limply in his hands, that brought this revery to bloom. A revery that was broken by Douglas’ concerned voice “Clive, the burger won’t jump into your mouth man, you’ve got to grab it, control it, slam it down yourself.” “But I’m not terribly hungry Douglas” replied Clive. “Oh hell, Clive, the burger’s a metaphor. I’m talking about Life m’man, LIFE! You’re sitting here, eyes glazed over, thinking about some such or the other, instead of living in the ‘now.’ Take control Clive, take control.” Clive said nothing for a spell, but only because he didn’t want Douglas to realize that he had understood the metaphor, and he was responding in kind. Clive wasn’t hungry. Not for life. Not anymore. Not since “they” started visiting him. “They,” hmph, what a stupid name to give them. “They”, “Them.” Why couldn’t he just say it? Why couldn’t he just admit that ghosts visited him? Plagued him. What was he afraid of? After all, it wasn’t like it could get much worse, was it?
“Clive, I’m losing you again. Talk to me” plied Douglas. “I can’t Douglas, I can’t. I really wish I could, but I’ve got a head full of trash right now – some really messed up stuff – and I’m scared shitless. I’m really not sure what’s real… and, and what’s not. I guess I just wish I could see how it feels, you know, with my feet on the ground.” “Clive, you’re crushing your burger” soothed Douglas. “Please, put it out of it’s misery already, and do a little of the same for yourself. Look at me, Clive. I ain’t gonna laugh or judge. I’m your friend. Now, give it over. What’s eatin’ at your brain m’man?” “Douglas?” “I’m here Clive.” “Why ARE you my friend? What’s in it for you? You’ve got your head screwed on tight. You could be with someone much healthier right now. Someone fun. Someone alive. Why do you waste your time with me?”
Drained, Clive buried his head in his crooked arms, looking up beseechingly as Douglas responded. “Clive, I believe in destiny my friend. You and I, we met on purpose. Someone made sure of that. I believe that – while we’re not angels – we can act a hell of a lot like them to other people in our lives. I believe that Clive, honest and true.” Tears bubbled up quickly, keeping pace with the unexpected anger building up within him, burning as they drew down Clive’s face. Shaking, he yelped “Are you trying to tell me that you’re an angel Douglas? A Goddamned angel? I mean, I really do appreciate everything you do, but honestly? That’s what you think? You’re my freakin’ guardian angel or something?” Douglas burst out in laughter in spite of himself, shaking his head slowly while he exclaimed “hell NO, Clive! I am no angel! Ain’t no chance, ain’t no way! What I’m saying my friend, is that I think that you’re my guardian angel.”
Clive sat there, jaw agape and dumbfounded. As he did, one of “them” appeared effortlessly out of the thin blue air, standing silently behind Douglas. To Clive’s mind it made perfect sense. After all, it wasn’t like it could get much worse, was it?
© t – 2o12