Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So This Is Love...

"Long for me as I for you, forgetting, what will be inevitable, the long black aftermath of pain...” - Malcolm Lowry

By Patrick Alcatraz

CENTRAL CITY, Colo. - On the phone, Marguerite was speeding through the story of how some traveling salesman from Houston had dated her best friend, and how the guy had gotten drunk and peed on her face. "She's in the bathroom, scrubbing," is how Marguerite put it in the long-distance call. I said something about almond scrub likely being the best commercial product willing to do battle against a gallon of urine. The side-of-the-road soaking had been complete, according to Marguerite, who threw out details of the sort you see in Mexican obituaries. Was she filing charges? "No, don't think so," Marguerite said. Why not? "The frickin' salesman flew back home," she went on. "And, apart from that, Leigh Ann says she never told him to stop."

Noise has swirled from coast to coast about how the American woman isn't what she used to be as recently as 100 years ago. I couldn't imagine any man peeing on Annie Oakley or Amelia Earhart or any of Al Capone's girls. Why was it happening now, here at the tail-end of the first decade of the New Century?

It was easy to call it an isolated incident in the Age of the Internet, a newfangled era when everyone came out to play the fool. Leigh Ann was a pretty 33-year-old divorcee who'd once worked for Frontier Airlines. As she told it, her superiors always put her front & center on those advertising posters. Leigh Ann was the one with the big smile, the fluffy golden hair and the nifty, pointy breasts under a tight, white company blouse that came with one of those colorful, unoffending rah-rah ties. There was no way I could form an image of that pretty face fending off a beer-powered stream of male pee. I wanted to ask questions, yet the idea seemed out of place in a conversation that called for some semblance of sympathy.

"She'll be fine by morning," I said, picturing a nod from Marguerite on the other end.

"What is it with you men, anyway?" she threw back. "What makes a grown man want to do such a thing?"

I said I had no idea and she said oh, I'm sure you do and I said no, really, that's off my map and she said that map is so ragged I could see you peeing on someone's face. "You could?" I said in my defense. "You think?"

"Oh, I know," she said...

- 30 -

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