I coaxed Pat into driving at dawn from New York City to Baltimore. I just met her in a
bar. I told her about Doris, how she was strictly off limits sexually though rape crossed
my mind. When I moved to Baltimore she was the first person I met just when I needed a
place to get my bearings and put a roof over my head. I hated her big lipstick mouth, her
fat, slovenly legs, her depression, her droopy hair, her big old-fashioned skirts, her
lackadaisical southern drawl, her tripe about her ailing mother. I wanted her to meet a
real woman, one who put lead in my pencil.
At Doris’s place, I told her we both were on uppers I found in Pat’s glove compart-
ment. I didn’t explain why we made the impromptu visit. Dangling, not having things
clearly spelled out, I knew that upset Doris. I chatted fast, telling Doris I was pleased Pat
went home with me rather than the asshole with a nose-ring and wearing an ascot. I told
her Pat had ripped her pantyhose so she bought another in a Big Top near Doris’s place.
Doris was a social worker and I an interior decorator. Doris never shaved her legs,
black hair looked like oddly shaped parasites under a scientist’s microscope. Doris’s tiny,
humid apartment’s atmosphere had always been thick with cat dander moving through
the air like death-dealing asbestos. I coughed, wheezed and sneezed, my nose running.
The allergy shielded me against a counter-intuitive, booze-induced pass at her.
Doris’s attraction towards me was strong though I was completely unavailable. Often I
saw lust sneak out from behind her sluggish eyes. Doris’s walls had haphazardly hung
paintings of red cats floating through rural streets. She made a collage, my photograph
ripped from a New York magazine, my face surrounded by cats, their red fur jabbing
my photogenic skin, thin streams of crayon-blood dripped from a kindergartener-like
drawing of a sprinkler: God awful.
I could have taken Pat to others I’d known in Baltimore but chose Doris. The
upper was enough to arm my mind with a full-frontal verbal assault of trivia. Doris
squirmed in her chair, that wide fanny of hers trying to negotiate her way through the
spur of the moment visitation. Pat fondled me, suggesting a ménage a trois was in order.
Doris’s face reddened, frozen in fear.
She asked me why I was in Baltimore. Just so Pat could buy new pantyhose, I said.
That satisfied her, she numbly drinking eggnog. Pat said that was a fat person’s drink, get
real, Doris. Doris’s eye twitched and began pulling at her skirt as Pat and I stared at her
legs. Pat chatted about how smooth her own legs looked beneath the beige pantyhose.
I asked Doris to make us a meal. She plodded to the kitchen, breaking eggs, making
pancakes. I adored your feast, Doris, make some more, I said. She did, this time coming
back with many pieces of toast, plus jam. I requested peanut butter, so she thumped back
and put down a jar of Skippy’s. Pat told her only eat one pancake, save the rest for us.
Doris said she’d be fired because her supervisor said she was too slow with evaluation
write-ups. Pat told her she was a conceptual artist and couldn’t understand why Doris
painted. So de trop, Pat said.
Doris turned on the TV, immobilized, eating salty pretzels from a bowl. Pat and I made
love in Doris’s bedroom, we going at it on her stinky sheets. Afterwards, we slept. It was
dark when we woke. I turned some lights on and we walked naked past the TV to the
kitchen, eating Doris’s chicken, pasta, veggies and ice cream. She watched a TV
newscast, paying little attention to us, though she did cast a quick glance at us through
her large black-framed glasses.
I looked in Doris’s pocketbook and liberated four Jackson’s. Pat said, Look, Doris,
then pulled down her pantyhose and mooned her. Doris stared, and stared some more
when I gave her the fascist salute and said, Sieg heil. We laughed, then walked out her
door before I slammed it shut.