"Is he, the evil of whose deeds is made
fair-seeming unto him so that he deemeth it good, other
than Satan's dupe?"
How to throw up tactfully? Franchone's barfing,
overheard, has cast a queasy pall over the Japanese restaurant
patrons. Faces, initially turned to watch the couple's one-way
spat, faces wearing expressions from resentful to amused, are
faces collectively pale in response to the audible upchucking...
... its unseen source, at long last, halts,
subsides, but dares not venture from the noxious unisex
loo—Franchone cracks a window—not until the vapors somewhat
dissipate—he fans the fetid air—not until he rallies sufficient
gumption to run the gauntlet that no doubt looms outside.
A stellar exhibition, if ever I performed one.
Puked myself into ignominy, and lost-face to a dyke. Serves me right, I
guess, for knocking-up a homophile—or giving her, on occasion, "ye
old college try." What could I have been thinking; was I thinking?
What did I hope to prove; potency cum proficiency In the Realm of
(her hostile) Senses? Maybe Niecy's diatribe was a dressing-down deserved;
if I never
turn down nooky, how deny "machismo"? Though I wouldn't
call mine "crude." Truth is I've perfected certain skills
deem 'refined.' From a very early age, I hasten to affirm.
|"How's about a smooch, Franchone?"
I tried to reach her mouth.
"Not a smooch up top; I mean a smooch on lips
down here. This be my well, Franchone, my wishin' well.
Pucker up, kneel down., an' plant a kiss right there."
I assumed all women wore underpants. Angel was naked underneath her skirt—except for hair; she had this wedge of
itty-bitty curlicues that tickled my nose on contact.
And that's what she was after; contact with a minor—a
twelve-year-old, I was, when Angel cornered me in her
duplex's second-storey bathroom—scared, not so much of
her; I was scared of getting caught. My parents were
guests at the party going full-swing downstairs. I'd gone looking for a
followed me then locked us in.
"You just make a wish and lick real good—the way I tell ya—and
Angel guar-an-TEE that wish come
It never did.
She held my ears like they were handlebars, steered my
face to her aromatic crotch (perched at the edge of a
bathtub, I remember, with antique iron feet), then
coached me, whispered either "cold," "lukewarm," or
"hot," depending on her arousal.
"Ooh, that spot be worth some extra attention. Do like
that—don' change; don' stop; nevah mind I get all
squishy. Make a gal go squishy, little man, you make 'er
fall in love. Ooh, you found the bull's-eye; hot, hot, hot!
Yo' makin' Angel come! Yo' makin' Angel love ya, Franchone;
you're makin'... I'm in love."
Franchone flushes the toilet one more time,
his senses clearing, his recollection swirling like the vortex
now rinsing clean the bowl, gurgling, swallowing,
replenishing the water as if expurgating sin:
his, cooperating fully
hers, encouraging more
his, obliging without shame
|"What's going on in there?"
My father's voice, like thunder from Jehovah, put an end
to our shenanigans.
"Borrowed your son to zip me up."
I wiped my kisser, as Angel lied.
"Boy's got hands like ice, Rev'rend Pinkney. Must've
heard me gaspin'. Run along, Franchone. Don' mind us
grown-ups; we be wicked in our ways."
Angel, unperturbed (and impudently charming), stared my father down.
I, on the other hand, shied from his displeasure as he
scowled in the rearview-mirror—the long drive home like
a silent inquisition; I, throughout, played dumb (pending hours
of masturbation; Angel's wet impression a surefire lubricant
for my post-pubescent id).
Then, a chance encounter at the grocer's, sealed
my lovelorn fate.
"Yo'all drop by, why don'cha?"
Angel's casual invitation
galvanized my groin.
"What time, Ma'am?"
Unless she meant on a weekend, I'd have to cut a class.
"What day, Ma'am."
"Thursdays would be good. Stop callin' me 'Ma'am.'"
Thursday with an 's' was all my hormones heard. "Cream-tea afternoons" she
later dubbed our
trysts. I became addicted to the 'liquor' of her
avaricious loins. "Puppy-love," Angel called it—and me her "loyal
Hoisted from the restroom tile using
leverage—toilet seat and sink—Franchone leans toward a mirror to
inspect his dark-skinned pallor.
thought about Angel since my freshman year in high school. That was
when our semi-sordid sex crimes ceased. Slam-bam-thank-you-Ma'am
was her agenda, not mine. But once I'd been initiated, trained to
make her weak in the knees, Angel's satisfaction became the
end-all of our sessions... and yet her glib departure affected
|"Have to call it quits, Franchone."
"I'm moving on."
"Tomorrow. Out-of-state, kid."
"Take me with you?"
"Not a chance."
And that was that; no more discussion. My
accomplishments seemed to pale, their evident
unimportance a precipitous fall from grace. First
love / first lust? I failed to differentiate; what I felt
was abject loss. Used, abused, and discarded, was I
lucky, nonetheless, to have lapped at Angel's well? In
retrospect I believed so, though I never got my wish.
Nothing lasts, I decided. Holds true even now.
Splashing water on his face completes
Franchone's prolonged revival. He pokes the hand dryer button,
twists it's nozzle till it angles up, then tilts his groggy
features into the roaring stream of air... grateful for its
reinvigorated, he adjusts his shirt and tie, squares his sturdy
shoulders (rallies his self-respect) and steps out—all eyes
tracking him—with affected nonchalance to make as dignified an
exit as undue haste permits.