Clout - A Novella


"The time is almost here," declared Ellis as he examined his facial features in the medicine cabinet mirror beside him, "it's finally going to happen. In a few days I'll be old enough to date." He chuckled giddily, a chill racing beneath his tanned skin. Since his first chin hair sprouted two years ago Ellis began to take notice of the girls at school. And vice versa.

Merely fifteen years old, his high cheekbones, well-defined jaw, light gray eyes, pork chop sideburns and perfectly sculpted nose have bumped him from the rank and file of the typical acne-prone boys at school and elevated him into the shave-twice-a-day man category with the girls. And not just any girls. Girls like Shelly and the nipples she can never quite subside. Or Betty and the mega hip-hugging, ultra low-riding jeans she pours herself into. Even Mrs. Jones, his English teacher, seems to pay closer attention to his grammar questions. And not to forget Hope.

Oh Hope…

"Hope, baby;" he moaned, "when you gonna let me into your pants?" A wide grin bloomed across his chiseled face. He couldn't help but smile, after all, in less than 48 hours the girl of his dreams will become the girl of his reality. She wants him, he knows that. Everyone knows that. The way she flitters up to him during lunch and croons his name when they meet in the hallways.·"I'm gonna fuck you something good, baby," he quoted as he yanked out his cock and positioned himself over the sink.

Ellis didn't care that the only naked people he'd ever seen were in magazines and film. Imaginary pussy, PG-rated ass and faux melon-tits never again. Soon, Hope will fulfill all voids. He caressed his penis, imagining her naked. As the warmth began to peak and the tickle weakened his knees, he closed his eyes and focused on the glorious sexual agenda he had in store for himself. Not until the tingle trickled to the tips of his fingers and the wave of complacency sashayed into his toes did he loosen his grip.

Leaning with all his weight onto the sink and dipping his head, his eyes fluttered. He then quickly rinsed away his splattered desire. "I won't be wasting y'all boys much longer, I promise," he told the white globules as they spiraled into the dark hole at the center of the porcelain basin.


Slightly overweight, fully albino, and the sole proprietor of the highly unclothed website, Whitey, as he has come to be known, considers himself a connoisseur on the topic of smut. Born Cotton Crosby-McPherson, unanticipated son to teenagers Katie Crosby and Leuny McPherson, he was instantaneously rejected upon discovery of his unusual skin tone. Despite the doctors' intense persuasion to do otherwise, the young parents phoned an adoption agency merely moments after the umbilical cord was severed. By the time the institution arrived to collect the newborn, his creators had already departed. Their only memento - a hastily handwritten note pinned to his crib:

Name the little freak Cotton.

Best Regards, Inky and Blinky.

After a dozen hard-fought years of unkind witticisms by orphanage personnel and callous rejections by potential parents, ‘Cotton’ eventually deserted the adoption agency and entered into an existence of partial-seclusion. Throughout those first several years on his own, he roamed from homeless shelter to YMCA basement to bridge basin, living vicariously through his peers·the myriad of pimps, hookers and freaks of the New Orleans underbelly. Also of major influence during those early stages of his upbringing were the conldn't-get-laid-if-money-weren't-involved perverts who frequented such peoples. Cotton found himself drawn to the latter group because they, although not inflicted with similar epidermal impairments, were similarly as pale as him.

As he grew older, Cotton eventually came to acknowledge his whiteness and the womanizing ways of his fellow contemporaries. The curious conduct of the 'normal' society was foreign to him, rather what gelled into the thirsty crevices of his mentality were the dollar-for-a-holler techniques of street survival. Eventually his current personage was molded: a high-tech flesh peddler self-dubbed Whitey the Almighty.

Aided by ultramodern technology, Whitey was able to secure an extremely cost-effective livelihood without setting foot into the cruel world where arrogant stuffed shirts and unjust bosses rule. Instead, king of his own castle, he is dependant on no one but the multitude of down-on-their-luck women who find themselves in search of quick hard cash; woman willing to unveil sacred body parts to an albino with a movie camera; woman unemployable but for the hole between their legs; women who appear to care so little about their future relationships and present family that degrading themselves for the perverted amusement of internet junkies around the globe is a sensible means to an end.


Gene, like any normal twenty-something, has normal urges. But quenching those urges has been tremendously difficult given his extra pinky, peculiarly large head and excessive amounts of thatch-like hair dispersed throughout his body. So, understandably, the bottle eventually began to infiltrate his empty evenings. Currently, date nights consist of a case of beer, a fifth of rum and a notepad brimming with evil intentions for future use against the species that constantly spurns him.

For instance, there is a rumor floating about that claims when he was just seventeen, his single mother (his deadbeat dad fled to Mississippi with the sixteen year old babysitter when he was four) sent him to a therapist to cope with his peculiarities. As fate would have it, the therapist happened to be - besides unprofessionally disgusted by his abnormalities - female. A few sessions into his rehabilitation, Gene invited the counselor over to his mothers' home for an evening of celebration, claiming he'd evolved beyond the insecurity of his sixth-digit, enormous skull and ape-like hair pattern. He promised a few drinks, a mouthwatering dinner and a great time. After five or six mixed drinks (in which the level of alcohol steadily increased with each downed glass) he sent his mom to bed and his therapist on her way, assuring that she was fine to drive despite her blurred vision and slurred speech. "Could be food poisoning," he attested, "you'd better get home quickly and rest. Drive fast!" His portrayal of a gentleman worthy of Oscar contention, Gene assisted the therapist to her car and even went as far as to shield her head from bumping the door frame as she stumbled into the driver’s seat. He watched as she swerved away, all the while reciting the license plate number to himself over and over again. Apart from the 'Therapists Do It On The Couch' bumper sticker, the car was quite plain and therefore he considered it extremely important that he get the number memorized precisely. After reentering his apartment, Gene made an anonymous phone call to the police about a 'crazy bitch' driving recklessly, seemingly drunk. "It looked as though she intentionally swerved at some neighborhood kids," he strategically added. The conversation was untraceably short, however, appropriate in detail so that she was indeed pulled over before arriving home. By this time the alcohol had settled in quite nicely so passing a field sobriety test was relatively impossible.

Needless to say, she failed and has not been seen practicing therapy since.

"I'm not a bad guy," he oft maintains, "I just have a bad temper."


Chatting on a website catering to those who, in essence, find amateur girls posed with miscellaneous objects, organic or otherwise, jammed into diverse orifices to be entertaining, Gene was requesting a special task of the nearly naked lady on the live cam.

Spank yourSELF, he typed, his extra pinky accidentally striking the Caps Lock key midway through the demand. The woman in the small box on the center of his computer screen flashed a smile, but ignored Genes' plea. Instead she fulfilled the request of chatter ThirdEyeGuy69 to remove her glasses, which she gently laid next to a keyboard atop a bearskin rug in the comer.

SPANK YOURSLEF, PLEASE!!!, insisted Gene, username:


Ca1m down pervert, joked ThirdEyeGuy69 in the chat space provided below the live-cam box.

fuck yourself, asshole, he quickly replied. Scowling at the screen, he threw back a swig of the spiced rum and coke by his side. Then he typed before wiping the dribble from his chin, I'll find u and kiLL U, THIRDEYEFAGGOT!

With that, three other chatters terminated their sessions, including ThirdEyeGuy69.

Only a few minutes into the debut viewing of the feed from the site of which he just became a member, the thrill was already beginning to wane. Gene found the quality of the woman to be rather disappointing and her naked exploits to be, quite honestly, ho-hum.

Spice it up, babe, he begged, shifting in his seat.

The model, a chunky Pacific Islander with tits that sagged nearly to her belly and nipples that looked as though they were dipped into two inches of chocolate, waggled her finger toward the camera and mouthed the word 'patience.'

Gene shrugged, stating aloud to himself, "fair enough, bitch, all I ask is to be entertained." With one hand resting behind his head and the other cupping his balls, Gene watched as the girl contorted, uncontorted and recontorted herself in response to the requests of the tamer chatroom viewers.

During a net-congestion lag, his mind began to wander. I wonder why this girl finds it necessary to spread her legs for employment? Could she actually be in dire straits or is she simply yet another one of the morally bankrupt heathens easily corrupted by a handful of cash, he conjectured?

"Well, whatever, lady. I'd still like to thank ya," he saluted, "because without sleazy whores like yourself I'd be forced into watching reruns of Wonder Woman with my pants around my ankles for this kind of amusement. So honey..." he toasted, raising his nearly empty container high, "this drink's for you." Following a quick tilt of his head, he reunited the remainder of the beverage with its lineage at the base of his stomach. "Ahhh," he cooed, gazing into the soda-stained cup, "lest we not forget my undying adoration for you, too, my liquid lovely. For you..." he stated, searching for an appropriate expression of his heartfelt gratitude, "you are the piano to my soul, able to bring out the finest in me."

Gene set his empty cup down and stared blankly at the monitor before him. Before long he let loose an exaggerated yawn as boredom crept in. Not yet satisfactorily drunk and far from entertained, he picked at a callus at the base of his index finger. Christ, he muttered, annoyed, shifting in his seat again. He hastily pecked away on his keyboard: ALLRIGHT HONEY, IF YOu can't STIMULATE ME VISUally, at least fill my cup wit something good

His counterpart in cyberspace reached up for the camera before her and pressed her bulbous breast directly against the lens, fIlling his monitor with an eyeful of tanned flesh that appeared ready to bust through and plop into his lap.

His eyes grew large. FANTASTIC, he typed without hesitation, THAT IS XACTLY WHAT THE DOCTOR ordered! Impulsively, he found himself licking his lips. what else ya got for me tubby.


Ellis pulled up his pants and zipped his fly closed, mentally counting down the hours before he achieved the magic number of sixteen. "No dating until you're sixteen," he mimicked, trying his best to sound like his overcautious mother. "Well sixteen is only a few days away, mother," he argued, although mother was nowhere in the vicinity. Ellis had 'turning sixteen' mapped out to the precise minute. In a few minutes he'll call Hope to cordially request her presence to a fine dinner at the Italian eatery his parents like so much. Then, as near as he can predict, his sexual years will pan out as such - tomorrow, he'll pay for Hope's admission for the St. Charles Avenue trolley to Canal Street, they'll walk around the Riverwalk Marketplace where maybe she'll buy a new pair of shoes or something, whatever it is women buy at malls, before crossing over into the French Quarter for dinner. Then they'll small-talk about school until the shrimp cocktail arrives, at which point the conversation will expand into friendlier topics, which will prompt laughing and intense eye contact. After dinner, he'll accompany her hand-in-hand to the Canal Place Cineplex to take in the new Brad Pitt flick while sharing a large popcorn. Their knees will occasionally brush up against one another. She'll rest her head on his shoulder during a slower scene and, if all falls into place and the evening goes according to schedule, by the end of the night he'll have kissed his first girl.

And with a little luck, he may even fondle his first breast.


"Ah, Whitey?" asked the islander girl, glancing at the moving picture of herself in the monitor to her left, "there's this guy, uh, un-splice-able-Gene," she said, sounding out his name phonetically, "and he, um, kinda called me tubby. He's sorta making me uncomfortable." She turned and frowned at Whitey with droopy eyes, "can't we shut him off somehow? Or maybe exclude him from typing anything further?" She folded her arm across her naked breasts. "I am not tubby," she avowed emphatically, ignoring the dense layer of stomach flab resting atop her dimpled thighs.

Whitey put down the book he was browsing, pushed his reading glasses to the end of his nose and glanced at the monitor by his side. In a speech he's articulated hundreds of times in the past and will undoubtedly do so hundreds of times again, he began, "listen, doll, there's a lot of freaks and geeks out there in this industry. Females like yourself are all most of 'em have. And even then, uncalculated miles of cyberspace separates you, so don't get offended by what they have to say. They're just bitter. You may think they have you in their sweaty clutches, but in reality you're in control. Think about it - to them you may look like the real thing, but really you're just a cold cream-colored monitor. And deep down they know this. Therefore the name-calling. It's a defense mechanism to boost their egos. Don't let their trite comments fool you - you own them. Besides, that guy who you say called you tubby, he's the one putting money in your pocket. He's nothing but a paycheck. He's Benjamin Franklin. By the end of the shift, you'll have physical evidence of his existence in the form of a few crisp C-notes, and what will he have? Nothing but the warmth of his own palm. So let the pervert shed a few ounces on your behalf while you spend his hard-earned wages on a stunning new outfit. Something sexy and low-cut to attract the real men. You, my dear, have the clout."

The girl paused briefly, mulling over his statement…

"Yeah, I suppose you're right," she expressed, nodding proudly, "that pervert has nothing on me." She looked back into the camera and quasi-waved, a smug grin sprouting, "how ya doin' out there in loserland, loser?"

"There you go, darling," said Whitey, rolling his eyes, "humor him. Thank him in advance for the new ass-hugging dress he just bought you." Whitey reached for his book. "Play him like the desperate hacker he is. Behold the power of your naked body," he continued, burying his head back into the pages of his book while spewing off several more cliches.

Suddenly empowered, a rush of euphoria bounced around her feeble mind. She inhaled an erect nipple into her mouth and flung her legs apart, wide and glorious.


Gene stared slack-jawed as the girl on his monitor enacted a rejuvenated lovemaking session using only a pair of hyperactive hands. Her pursuit for orgasm onset, the girl tore at her panties and yanked them to the side, exposing a frizzy mass of retro-styled pubic hair.

Gene flinched. A grimace overtook over his mug. "Whoa, ho, whoa," he shouted, "ever hear of a razor???" Hoping to halt her progress before things got too obscene, he hurriedly entered on his keyboard: shave that nasty thinkg, wman. WHAT AREU THinking?? we aint in THE 70's nome!!!

But it was too late, his computer companion had already passed the point of no return. In her mind, the room was an empty cavern where time and space were non-existent. Nothing was existent. She was in her own private paradise, stroking away like an inchworm on a treadmill. Nothing in life mattered but for the cravings of her own gaping pink hole. All life's troubles were momentarily forgotten. All boyfriend qualms were left behind. All financial woes were a thing of the past - for she was nearing proof that God loves her.


If she were not so preoccupied, she'd most likely have been insulted by the drivel that kept popping up on the small monitor to her side, drivel such as - Stop!!! You're turning me off. You're here foR MY PLEAUER NOT YOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, and HEYHEYHEYEHEHEHEHEHEHHEYYYYYYY, LADY, I'm begging you, coVER THAT THING and even Damn you, slut, I'm ending my membersHIP TO THIS SITE BECUAUSE OF YU, but, fortunately for her, she was lost somewhere between ohhhh and ahhhh and nothing was going to distract her from reaching YES! YES! YES!!!

Gene became increasingly pissed off with each subsequent visualized self-gratification streaming from his desktop. His anti-vaginal orgasm ideology peeved him while his sensory organs overwhelmed him, and teamed together caused an authoritative gag-reflex to dislodge an acidic chunk of something soft and moist from his belly. Hurling throatward with frightening velocity, the displaced bit ultimately came to rest atop the sensitive taste buds of his tongue, greeting him with an unbearable aftertaste.

The unwelcome amalgamation of mental tyranny and eye-clouding nausea had Gene racing to the kitchen to cleanse his mouth. He scraped at his tongue as if he had just bit into an apple to find half a worm. While eyeballing the bleach, he vowed to never again allow a woman that degree of pleasure - the degree of pleasure intended solely for a man.


Leaning against his bed, hand on the phone and love on his mind, Ellis mentally prepared himself for the invitation to his birthday extravaganza call, but the closer his finger got to the buttons, the harder it became to actually push them. What the hell is my problem, he wondered, confused at the inability of his fingers to do as his mind commanded.

"Don't go out on me now fingers," he urged aloud, wiggling them into action, "just do your thing. A lot is hinging on your performance. Dinner reservations have already been made," he warned. Ellis lifted the receiver and pushed several buttons but by the fourth number he slowed to a halt, eventually hanging up the phone altogether. "Shit," he cursed, knocking himself in the head, "what is going on here? Why can't I do this?”

Inhaling deeply, Ellis once again picked up the receiver and, with an uncontrollably shaky hand, pressed the first six of the familiar seven digits he had so many times previously entered. "You've done this a thousand times, Ellis, what the hell is the big deal this time," he asked himself? His index finger gently rested above the '9' button, hovering in anticipation. He cradled the phone between his cheek and shoulder. One simple synaptic command and one minimal muscular response and Hope would be on the other end, answering 'yes' to his forthcoming question. But he couldn't bring himself to push the goddamn button. So he closed his eyes briefly to unnerve himself…

...and just as his eyelids fell shut his head grew heavy and his breathing became erratic. Suddenly his entire body fell limp and the phone slipped to the ground.

Not until the buzz-buzz-buzzing of the phone sounded did he emerge from the fot that had enveloped him. "What the..." he sighed, rubbing his forehead, struggling to regain his breath, "what is wrong with me?'


Whitey glanced at his watch and then at his sated employee, proud of her effort. "Well done," he boasted, casually nodding his approval as he adjusted his crotch, "how 'bout another quick $100 for 15 minutes more of your time?

The Samoan girl blinked several times in succession as she reacquainted herself to her surroundings. As her climactic sensation dissipated, vulnerability accumulated. She hurriedly replaced the crotch of her panties to their original position and began to fumble around for her glasses. "Huh?" she replied, frantically rummaging through the furry crevasses of the bearskin rug.

Before she could locate her spectacles, Whitey nudged them beneath a chair with the toe of his boot. He then cleared his throat and clicked off the camera that had just projected her naked antics throughout cyberspace. "I asked, my dear, that since you performed so well, I am assuming my viewers would like to see an encore presentation, perhaps of you performing something a little more, well, appealing." She nodded reflexively but was paying closer attention to the search for her eyeglasses. "Do I remember correctly in you saying that you have a trip to Europe planned for the summer? Do you know that the dollar ain't what it used to be nowadays?"

The girl briefly paused, unsure to where Whitey was headed.

"To be honest with you, babe, our petty American buck is pittance to them," he assured her, fueled by her attention. “It’s only worth like ⅓ of their Euro. And I’m sure you’ll want to see The Louvre, right? And Big Ben? The Thames? And what is a trip to France without escargot? Of course you'll want to bring back some Swiss chocolate for your relatives." Whitey arose from his seat and clapped his hands briskly. He paced the length of the room like a car salesman attempting to sway a reluctant buyer. "What is a trip to Europe without a ride on a double-decker bus or a tour of the Eiffel Tower," he questioned, gesturing skyward to a make-believe monument.

His guest raised a single eyebrow, half-heartedly, looking at the void to where Whitey pointed. Have you got tickets to those attractions already, do you?"

She hesitantly shook her head back and forth.

"Is that a no?" he hypothesized. "Well, what I'm offering could make the trip so much more fun, you know, minus a financial burden bearing down on your every move."

She glanced down at her naked breasts. "I think I've done too much already," she indicated, covering her exposed flesh with both arms.

"Now, now," he purred, "don't be so hasty. If you let me take some still shots of you going down on me," recited Whitey, flowing continuously into his next sentence so that interruption was impossible - "it'd be worth another cool hundred, in cash." He then added his time-honored clincher, "and to be brutally honest, I don't last long. You'll be out of here before you know it." The corners of Whitey's mouth coyly arose as he reached for the digital camera atop the end table. "Come on, it'll be fun. Just think of The Louvre.”

His employee briefly looked him up and down as he fiddled with the top button on his pants. "Urn," she hesitated, "I don't... I probably shouldn't."

Whitey's slight grin drooped into a frown. "Europe is expensive," he lulled, both colorless eyebrows raised in tune to the pitch of his voice.

"I understand, but..." she cited, sustaining the word longer than necessary to stall further advances. Covering as much of her breasts as possible with a single forearm, she again began to search for her missing glasses.

Whitey glared bitterly at her as she crawled around on all fours in search of the hidden items, her flabby ass quivering with each slight movement. "Hey, whatever." He plucked at his tender frenulum through the denim material of his jeans. "It's your loss," he informed her.

Reaching into his pocket, he produced a fat wad of bills and peeled off an insignificant stack of $20's. He scattered an hours pay onto the ground while stating, "enjoy Europe, or what little you'll see of it."

She muttered something incomprehensible while scurrying around the floor gathering the cash like a stray mongrel beside an overturned dumpster.


Having thoroughly rinsed out his mouth, Gene propped his arm casually against the door of the refrigerator, staring vacantly into the nearly empty shelving within. To his dismay he realized that he had polished off the last of the rum and instead of his daily beer run in the afternoon, his last $20 was tied up with the XXX website joined earlier.

"Fuck," he grumbled, peeking at his watch. "8 o'clock already." He glanced out the window in his living room. The sun was completely below the horizon, only a few straggling rays penetrated the dusk sky. "Hmm," he muttered, "how the hell am I going to get myself a meal and beer without funding?"


Ellis restored the receiver to its cradle. "I can't believe this is happening to me," he cursed, scratching the back of his head in bewilderment, "why can't I do this?”

He laid his throbbing head onto his hands and berated himself for the sudden onset of nerves. How am I supposed to touch her tits if I can't even get past the phone call? Ellis rubbed his palms on his forehead as he continued his self-degradation. Grow some balls, dude. Think of the sex! The sex, bro!!! With gritted teeth, Ellis snatched up the phone but as soon as the phone came to rest against his ear his hand began to quiver again. "DAMN IT, ELLIS! DON'T BE SUCH A FAGGOT!!! How are you ever going to get laid if you can't even ask her out?"

With a now-or-never attitude driving him, he snarled his lips, furled his nostrils and dialed the number…

"Hello?" asked a fatherly voice on the other end after only one ring.

Fuck, now what? What do I say??? Hurry!

"Hello?" again asked the voice on the other end.

All his preparation forgotten, he mulled over several options before settling on "H-Hope?" His voice cracked.

“No, I'm afraid not," replied the man, amused, "but I can give her a message when she returns from work, if you'd like."

Ellis did not reply.

"Son, can I tell her who called?"

"Ah, no," he blurted and hung up.


Discouraged by his latest batch of new hires (five in three days have fled like a bat out of hell after sexual propositions), Whitey refolded the massive stack of bills and shoved it in his rear pocket. "Fucking cockteasers," he scolded, "what is up with these wannabe models nowadays? No one wants to put forth the extra effort? Have they all suddenly been bitten by the prudent bug?"

It is Whitey's firm belief that every woman is just one cocktail away from a cock-tail. One witty come-on whispered in their ear away from cum on their ear. Basically, one fifty dollar bill away from full­ fledged prostitution and therefore he does not accept virtuous ideology as an excuse for not putting out.

Consequently, he decided that his entire promotions policy was in need of revamping. Without delay, he deleted all the old, bland flyers advertising 'Models Needed- No Experience Necessary- Top Dollar Paid' from his computer, removed the street contacts that haven't produced lately from his rolodex, and finally resolved to retire the cliched repartee used to seduce the ladies. His new plan of attack would be to attract a higher quality woman, reveal less of his motive up front and once lured in, not take no for an answer.

Yawning, Whitey loaded the coffee filter with Colombia's best and went to work developing a new medium for his promotional needs - professional business cards. He manipulated images from the web on his PhotoShop software until he created a logo that satisfied him. He redefined his company name and title (something less dubious than: Pornographer Extraordinaire, He toyed with a suitable tagline which he felt would draw the personnel sought. And finally, he hit the road to distribute the cards throughout town, including Tulane, Xavier and Loyola Universities, several telephone poles in the Central Business and Warehouse Districts of downtown, and lastly on the car windshields nearby the coffee shops, diners and galleries of Magazine Street and St. Charles Avenue.

Noticing his card stock was beginning to dwindle, Whitey read the Whitney Bank clock across the street - three in the morning. Exhausted, he stored the few remaining cards in a shiny silver holder and called it a night.

It shouldn't be long before my efforts pay dividends, he thought.


"I wonder if l can finagle a pizza," queried Gene, still leaning against the fridge, "or maybe some hot wings from a local joint? It's been a while since I ordered out and I sure could use some food." He swung shut the refrigerator door. "Hmm," he shrugged, continuing the conversation with himself, "pizza or wings? Pizza or wings? On one hand," he conjectured, rubbing his chin, "there's chicken wings... hot, spicy appendages of pleasure. But," he quipped, "on the other hand, pizza has it all." He spewed off a few of the wonderments of pizza, designating a separate finger for each individual ingredient- "cheese... meat... bread ... even vegetables."

"Ohh, vegetables..." His thoughts instantly swayed back to the website and of the edibles contained on its specialized toy section. "Focus, Gene, focus," he told himself, quelling the budding erection in his trousers.

Like a tedious science experiment, Gene weighed the implied perks of pizza versus wings. Foremost, he considered which would go better with beer, but quickly threw out that as a potential problem being that there are no victuals on God's green earth that a cold glass of frothy brew can't flatter. Pizza is cheaper, he deliberated while generating a strange sucking sound from between his front teeth and bottom lip, but soon eliminated that as an issue, too, as the payment options at his disposal were limited to basically one - the bad check technique.

"Whatever I opt for, I'll have to take into consideration the research involved in locating a joint that won't recognize my address," he said aloud, tapping his chin. Beginning about a year ago, Gene gradually and systematically began canceling himself beyond his delivery zone, making it increasingly difficult to order out as most operations now have his address blacklisted. Even the shopkeepers of the rat-infested dives of the nearby ghettos have his checks posted next to the register warning that he, as a customer, is a deadbeat bastard.

Still mulling over his options, he stumbled across a flier from a brand new pizza chain that just opened around the comer. "Well, well," he said smugly, "my luck is indeed achangin'."

Taking advantage of their poor target marketing, he dialed the number at the bottom of the ad and requested the delivery of a large pepperoni and extra cheese pizza. Before the conversation with the order taker came to a close, Gene asked to speak to the driver that was going to deliver his pie.

"I don't know who that will be until the pizza is done, sir," mentioned a sweet voiced female.

"Listen honey, could you be a doll and jot down a quick note for whomever the driver will be and ask that he pick up a six pack of any brand of beer he sees fit? There'll be an extra tip in it for his troubles." The check's gonna bounce regardless of the amount, might as well tempt the dumb punk with a little financial perk, he thought.

"Urn, we can't do that, sir," she said, obviously bothered by his insistent pestering. It was clear that she wanted the conversation to end three sentences ago.

"Why not, darlin', I'm over twenty-one," he pleaded.

"I believe you, sir, but most of our drivers - " she was cut short by a snotty grumble articulated by Gene. Worried that he was on the verge of mounting a trivial retort, she quickly added, "and it's against store policy." The manner in which she uttered the words suggested that she wasn't in the mood for further dispute.

"Well, shit, lady." Gene scratched his head in frustration, her practical handling of logic smoothly defeated him intellectually. How the hell am I going to get more beer? The corner convenience store knows better than to take a check from me and this fucking broad is too clever to swindle, he fretted, I must devise a different method …

"All right, all right, I got it! This should satisfy us both, ma'am. What if," he posed, a slight tenor in his voice, "I write a check for five dollars above the cost of the pizza and the driver gives me a fiver in cash when he gets here? That's fair, right, sweetie?" Despite his craving to yank the fascist bitch through the phone and stomp on her voice box, Gene put forth his best effort to sound pleasant, polite and jolly.

Monotone in reply, she informed him- "no sir, that is against policy as well." (Translated: 'fuck you, jerk, get a life.').

"What, but. .. why? I want to know your name, lady?"

"Hope," she quoted, her voice dripping with annoyance.

"Well, Hope, get your manager on the phone."

Several is-this-guy-serious seconds transpired until she ultimately discerned that Gene was indeed pompously requesting her supervisor. Accompanied by a harumph, she thumped the phone on the countertop and fetched her boss.

In anticipation of a professional business discussion with a levelheaded gentleman, Gene cleared his throat a few times, straightened his hair and adjusted his posture. While quickly strategizing a feasible case he was able to eavesdrop in on a faint conversation between the two employees - irritating, persistent and drunk were just a few of the words he honed in on. After a bit more discussion, a new, more experienced voice intruded the line.

"Sir, your order has been canceled."

Dial toneeeeeeeee.

Preposterously, Gene removed the receiver from his ear and, feeling like it was the proper thing to do, stared at it in disbelief. "Sweet Jesus," he chided in a high-pitched tone, "what a load of shit. Well, Hope," he spit out, his upper lip curled, "welcome to my shitlist, honey."


Ellis was in the midst of dialing his locker combination when he heard someone calling out his name, approaching rapidly.

"Ellis," again shouted the voice, "hey, Ellis. Guess what!"

Just as he discerned the owner of the voice, Hope was directly upon him, wearing a crooked smile and bearing a tinfoil package of some sort. Oh God, he worried, a tiny bead of sweat forming on his forehead, she's going to wonder why I called her. In the background, two blondes giggled his name lustfully and waved before leering jealousy at Hope.

Before, prior to his plan to solicit a date, there was no pressure. Ellis and Hope got along beautifully, constantly laughing, bumping hips in the hall, teasing each other with reckless abandon. But suddenly everything has gone awry. He felt a strange pressure in his very breath, a curious sense of rejection crawling around the crevasses of his mind.

"Guess what," she again asked excitedly. She was hopping from foot to foot slightly, just a crotch­ hold away from a full-fledged kindergarten potty-dance - her version of over-excitement. In her right hand was what looked vaguely like a swan and on her face was an expectant expression, like she was actually waiting for him to guess what.

His thoughts, focused on the normally automatic process of remaining upright, didn't allow him to formulate the "whatcha got there, Hope" or "I don't know, Hope, why don't you tell me" phrases which would customarily follow. Instead he stuttered, "you... mn... bought an aluminum foil goose?" His voice quite noticeably cracked on the word 'goose.'

His vision began to blur.

His knees began to wobble.

Considering his take on the metal bird, Hope re-examined it from a different angle. "Uh, I thought it was a swan, but I suppose it could be a goose," she replied, bright eyed and undaunted by his inaccurate interpretation. "Goose," she giggled, nudging his shoulder playfully.

It took every ounce of strength he could muster not to collapse to the ground in a disheveled heap. Slowly, calculatedly, he swiveled his head toward the bird and studied the shape more closely, his inferior labeling of it leaving him feeling even more half-witted. "Danm," he blurted, rapping himself on the forehead with his palm, "I shoulda knew that... just look at the long, graceful neck," he said, motioning to the curve of its nape. “I’m such an idiot.”

His peculiar reaction left them both speechless, creating an unusually long gap…

After what seemed like an eternity, Hope finally broke the silence by explaining that inside the aluminum bird was her lunch and she wanted him to join her in celebration of her new job at the most recent pizza place in town. "It's two slices of the first pizza I ever made. For my break from the phones, one of the cooks let me add whatever toppings I wanted," she said gleefully, "and what I couldn't finish he wrapped in tinfoil and shaped into a swan. Ain't that the coolest!"

Ellis nodded.

"So, I was hoping you'd try a slice with me at lunch and tell me what you think."

For the first time since she approached, Ellis realized she wasn't going to inquire as to why he called and was therefore not required to tell her why. Asking her out can wait until later, he thought, his composure slowly returning to normal, I still have a full day 'til my birthday.

"Urn, okay, thanks," he replied, feeling fully relieved, "I'd, ah, like that." His knees regained their locked position. Lunchtime may be a great opportunity to ask her out. A full stomach should do me good.

"Wonderful," she celebrated, "I hope you like pepperoni, onions and green peppers."

Unexpectedly, she veered in and pecked him on the cheek.

Taken off guard, his thoughts suddenly scrambled wildly in every direction, leaving his head completely and utterly blank. Every body part froze except for one - unprepared for the tender lip contact from pre-wanttodate, post-justfriends Hope, her sensitive buss initiated upward movement between his legs. Once tucked neatly beside his thigh, his manhood was now slowly pulling away, pushing forcefully against his boxer shorts. A noticeable bulge began to form at his crotch. Horrified, Ellis took a step back and turned toward his locker, grabbing two books at random, awkwardly clutching them in front of the flowering bulge.

“Oh my goodness" she choked, worried that she stepped over the line, "did I offend you? I didn't mean anything by it, really."

Languidly, one thought oozed out of his mind, through his pores and away into the atmosphere - I… am... an ... idiot.

"I was just - " she apologized, her eyes fearful, her voice pleading, "- I, oh Ellis... I just thought - "

Without further comment, Ellis fled the scene, leaving Hope standing alone.


Whitey awoke to the sound of the doorbell ringing. "Who the fuck is that," he grumbled, sitting up in his bed.

The doorbell rang again. "Shit," he cursed, smoothing the sleep from his white hair with his soft pink hands. After making certain nothing was protruding from his boxer shorts, he hobbled to the front door. "Yes?" he shouted from behind the closed door, donning a pair of dark shades that hung on a hook next to the door.

"Hello?" queried a soft voice.

Whitey peered out the eyehole to find a young black girl clad in a loosely fitted, floral print blouse and khaki pants. "What do we have here," he sneered. He cleared his throat, then opened the door a crack, shielding the morning sun slightly. "Yes, my darling? Can I help you with something?"

Without raising her view from her shoes, she inquired "are... are you the right person for this?" The girl extended a dog-eared slip of off-white paper.

"What is it?"

"I removed it from the announcement board at school. It mentions $100 an hour;'' she said in a statement that sounded more like a question. Whitey reached out the door and removed from her delicate hand what was revealed to be his business card, tattered like she'd been fingering it in deliberation all night:

Whitey Crosby-McPherson

Freelance Model Scout

I'll Find Work For You- Guaranteed! (504) 555-6562

New Orleans, LA

And hand-written on the back - Now Hiring Calendar Models - Up To $100/hr


Whitey momentarily grinned from ear to ear as he realized his late night advertising campaign was already beginning to show promise. ''That's right. It's me, all right. Are you interested in modeling, sweetie?"

The girl gradually lifted her gaze from the floor. Her light brown eyes were shadowed with uncertainty. "Yes, I just... well, yes."

"Oh," he cooed, "you came to the right place, then. I think we can get you some work." He opened the door wide, "would you like to come in?"

His guest hesitantly stepped inside, scanning the room from her position on the tiles of the entranceway. She folded her arms tightly around her chest and let loose a deep, unsure exhale, like she'd been holding her breath since she first knocked.

"Take a seat," urged Whitey, corralling her in the small of her back. "I think you'll b happy that you chose to visit," he purred, gesturing her toward the couch beneath an oversized Taxi Driver movie poster.

"You are a very beautiful woman, I think you're making a wise decision." He smiled congenially. "Can I get you anything? Wine? Beer? Some smokes? Anything whatsoever?"

"Urn," she stalled, thinking, following his lead toward the couch. Whitey gestured for her to sit, all the while observing her body as she did. Garnished by a pair of well-ironed khakis, her tiny waistline flowed smoothly into the generous curve of her hips and effortlessly mingled with the firmness of her butt. His eyes rolled into the back of his head as he followed the slight trace of her panties sharply 'V' into the depths of her nether regions. His thoughts instantly formulated a battle plan for what it'll take for her to go all out.

While giddy with impish delight internally, Whitey stood before her like a true servant-of-the-people externally - rounded, forward-leaning shoulders implying subservience; slightly bowed neck signifying vulnerability; and hands folded neatly behind his back patiently awaiting her beverage, snack or drug order.


Gene awoke a little before noon, alone as usual, but for a change his hangover was minimal, which for him ain't necessarily a good thing. Unlike most people, limited amounts of liquor circulating about his bloodstream equates to dizziness, tremors and pangs of grief. Trnly, Gene is not himself unless his temples pound like a bass drum and his pores seep brewery quality sweat. "Ug," he muttered, dilapidatedly arising from the soiled mattress in the corner of his bachelor-sized apartment. "I need a drink."

Neglecting such otherwise imperative hygiene protocol as brushing of the teeth, shaving of the scruff, and showering of the prior days filth, Gene slipped on a pair of beat-up Nikes, grabbed his $9-short-of-max credit card and sauntered to the local 7-11. While browsing the over-priced aisles in the convenience store, he mulled over ideas on how to avenge his rejection from the pizza place the night prior, his main beef falling on the shoulders of the phone girl that initiated the inhumanity - Hope.

No one hangs up on me. No one. Especially some dick sucking phone jockey.

After selecting a few necessities he currently requires for his apartment, he stood in line behind two stolid businessmen, both grasping floral-printed cups brimming with steaming coffee. The first also had a high-carb nutritional bar. The Hispanic lady behind the counter, not the usual clerk from the midmorning shift, quietly rang up their purchases and pointed at the green digital display on the cash register whenever the total appeared.

As Gene placed three quarts of beer, a frozen burrito, a roll of single-ply toilet paper and a can of lighter fluid atop the counter, the employee momentarily glanced up at her customer. Upon spotting his greasy hair and ill complexion she quickly diverted her eyes, but alas, it was too late, Gene had already busted her gaze. His love indicator instantly began to tingle. Rrrrraaoooww, does this girl want some, he wondered? As she reached for the next item to ring up, Gene casually laid his hand horizontally across her knuckles. "What time do you get off, sugar?"

The worker quickly yanked her hand from beneath his and yelled toward the supply room, "Hector. Hector, vaya aqui. Rapido."

Gene threw both hands in the air, holding them palm forward and ear level, implying his innocence. "Whoa, lady. Just ring up my shit. I ain't doing nothing wrong."

With mop in tow, Hector, presumably, came bursting from the back room and lunged at Gene. Clearly not one for unbiased deliberation, he roared "exit," while pointing vehemently toward the door. "Exit ahora," he bellowed, spittle spewing from his lips. "You same hombre siempre aquí y messing with things.

"Take it easy, muchacho," retorted Gene calmly, grabbing his already bagged, but unpaid for, merchandise.

"You leave!" Hector shoved Geue in the back with the mop handle until he was beyond the barrier of the automated front doors. "No come back, no mas! Cops next time!"

Once outside, Gene turned around, grabbed his crotch and mouthed the word puta through the window. "Gracias for the free shito!" he laughed, slinging the bag containing the toilet paper over his shoulder.


Sitting in English class recreating the prior events with Hope, Ellis couldn't shake his feeling of stupidity and loss. Squirming in his seat, he contemplated ways to let her know that the kiss was a much-welcomed experience and not the horrible crime he made it out to be, but it was clear a face-to-face scenario could be unreliable.

"She kissed me and I ran away like a fucking fairy," he muttered to himself. While tapping his pencil on his teeth, the perfect thought hit him. A hands-free approach to popping the question - a note!

Yes! A note!

Ellis pumped his fist with victorious glee and then immediately began to scribble on a legal pad intended for class notes. The prose flowed from his pen with ease. "Request your presence," he mumbled, jotting hastily to keep up with his thoughts, "tonight..." scribble, scribble, scribble, "dinner and a movie..." scribble, scribble, scribble, "looking forward..." scribble, scribble, scribble. After finishing the body of the note, he signed his name and inserted a smiley face in the lower right comer. Holding the note at arms length to admire his handiwork, he nodded his head approvingly.

Meanwhile, he was unknowingly drawing a great deal of attention from the classmate seated directly behind him.


Shelly, as rumor has it, has been suspended from school on two separate occasions, once for flashing her tits on the school bus to the principal and once for performing oral sex on the senior quarterback before the big rivalry game (concerned about his absence for the opening kickoff, the coaches and staff went on a small-scale manhunt for him, only to find the duo engaged in their own version of a pep rally). And according to the graffiti plastered throughout most, if not all, of the boys' room johns, Shelly is also the girl to call when in need of 'a good time.'

“Ellis," whispered Shelly, reaching forward and touching him above his left hip, "what's that? Anything I can help you with?" She attempted to read the note over his shoulder.

"Oh," he croaked, reflexively pulling the note away, "nothing. Nothing at all. Why?" He folded the note in half and tucked it in his shirt pocket. He pretended to focus on what was being taught.

"Are you sure," she inquired with a gentle voice, leaning closer to him. "You seem flustered. I bet I can help." She tenderly rubbed his muscular shoulder blades. "I'd be glad to offer advice, you know." Ellis turned his head to the side, his profile pointed at Shelly as he conspicuously muttered into his shirt sleeve, "it's nothing, really."

Accompanied by a seemingly caring smile, Shelly kissed her fingertips and placed them on his sideburns, "Ellis, you're so adorable."


"May I have a glass of wine?" asked Whitey's most recent visitor, laughing nervously if only to ease herself, "red, if you have it?"

"But of course, but first let's take care of some business," mentioned Whitey, never one to overlook the legalities, "I'll need to see some ID, if you don't mind... for the wine of course," he added quickly, as to not send up a red flag in case she hasn't figured out that her presence was not merely for a calendar shoot.

The girl reached into her pants pocket and produced a driver's license, the picture looking nothing like her. The age, however, was legal for both liquor and sex. "Good enough," he informed her with a wink. "Red wine it shall be."

Whitey disappeared into the kitchen. He began to shout a dialogue while searching through the cabinets, "as I mentioned before, you are a very beautiful woman and finding you work should be a breeze. As a matter of fact, you came at a good time. A big website client of mine is currently in need of girls. You think you'd be up for it?"

"I, ah. .." she said, trailing off, "have never modeled before."

Bottle of cheap red wine already in hand, Whitey began a new search for a corkscrew and a condom. "Oh, not to worry. Modeling is a piece of cake. Just follow my lead and you'll be fine.”

His guest mentioned something inaudible, which mattered not to Whitey as he could care less about what she said, he was simply pouring on the sympathetic-and-attentive routine. "Interesting. So you're in school?" he inquired but once again could not understand her reply over the shuffling of drawers.

Unable to locate a prophylactic, Whitey snuck a quick peek out of the kitchen doorway. She looks pure enough, he thought, shrugging, fuck it.


“Dumb motherfuckin' Mexicans,” grumbled Gene as he unwrapped his frozen burrito and cracked into his fist cold beer of the morning. "That makes two on my shit list for the day." He took a sip of beer. "And it's barely afternoon. I hate doing it, ladies, but you'd be amazed how a little mischief can sway an attitude."

Evil intentions brewing as his burrito heated up in the microwave, Gene couldn't decide who he wanted to fuck over more - the foreign 7-11 cunt or the rude bitch at the pizza joint.

Noting the lighter fluid container gleaming beneath the sunlight on his kitchen counter, Gene toyed with the idea of setting the entire 7-11 ablaze, but in the end decided arson may be too lofty a price for her somewhat minimal offense. What to do, what to do, he wondered while drumming his fingers atop the food-encrusted countertop, what, oh what could serve as just punishment?

After sipping another mouthful of cold beer, Gene shot a single finger into the air. "Aha," he exclaimed. On the pocket-sized notepad attached to a magnetic hook on his fridge he quickly scribbled a few notes before the effects of alcohol could take their toll on his memory.

Side note: Before the day becomes night, the befuddled 7-11 husband and wife duo will be forced to flag down a taxi because upon exit of their store they will discover that the heap of smoldering metalwork blocking the view of their '83 Ford is not a pile of misappropriated rubbish, as they first believe, but rather it, in fact, is their '83 Ford.

The subtle hint of Mexican food wafted its scent into Gene's nasal passage. "Goodie, my burrito is done,” he crooned as the microwave beeped its announcement.

He removed the burrito from its limp wrapper and carried it with him to his computer. With a mere push of the green oval button, his computer began to hum, whirl and flicker to life. "What have ya got in store for me today, internet?" he asked.

While awaiting the system to fully achieve the splendid technicolor he has come to expect in his pornography, he downed his burrito with supreme accuracy. Not a single morsel remained. His plate was as clean as if no food had been served. Half a quart later and Gene had already downloaded his first naked video clip of the morning. "Porn, sweet porn," he sighed, leaning back, mingling into his chair like rainwater into a puddle. "Who needs the real thing when I can get my fill right here, headache-free."


Unhindered by Shelly's backrub, Ellis kept an eye on the clock while pre-gathering his class materials in preparation of the period-ending bell. He knew time was of the essence. Within the five minutes slated between classes Ellis hoped to outrun Hope to her locker, slip the invitation inside and finally locate a secure hiding spot where he could watch her reaction when she read it.

The precise moment the bell chimed its initial ping, he was out the door, unyielding to Shelly's cry to "wait up a sec." In the hallway, he relentlessly scoured the meshwork of passages, charting his path to Hope's locker before her arrival at the same destination. Please be running late, he fretted, bounding through the halls, I must get there first. He weaved his way in and around his fellow classmates, paying no attention to the lustful stares from several of the female students. Gotta drop off the note. Gotta drop off the note. Gotta drop off the note.

Still preoccupied in his quest, the catcalls from a group of cheerleaders circled together by the soda machines went unheard. As did the pleading of Shelly to "slow down, Ellis" as she intentionally bumped shoulders with the shortest of the cheerleading squad, knocking her back several feet. A chorus of heated accusations was exchanged in passing.

"Ellis," she again shouted, out of breath, just inches behind him, "slow down." She lurched out in an attempt to halt his advancement, but flailed in err as he careened indiscriminately toward an opening on his left.

Popping out on the other side, Ellis was shocked to find Hope already at her locker and quickly ducked into the nurses' office. "Fuck," he grumbled, spying on her from behind the 'Out To Lunch' sign, where he stayed until the tardy bell warning sounded.

During the ensuing minutes, he watched as Shelly scooted by, looking lost, then as Hope also passed by, neither noticing his espionage.

"Damn," he said aloud, stepping out from his hiding spot, "now I'll have to wait until after next period for her reaction." He approached her locker and peered back and forth several times, prepping for the delivery of the note. He pulled it from his pocket and flipped it around, viewing it from every angle, fending off his trepidation. After several quick breaths, he inserted the top corner of the invitation into the slats of her locker. When half the note was left visible, he paused. Doubt was setting in.

"Ellis," huffed Shelly, appearing suddenly from around the corner, "couldn't you hear me calling you?"

"Shelly?" he quizzed, startling him, causing the note to fully drop inside the locker.

"Hi," she said, smiling, wedging herself into the small area between him and the locker.

"Hello," he grumbled, un-amused, peeking over her shoulder at the locker behind her, realizing there was no turning back now.

"So, I was just thinking," she purred, easing herself closer to Ellis, "how'd you like to skip next period with me?"

"What for?" he asked, oblivious to her wanton desire for him.

"So I can help with the problem you were having last period. I think I may have something you want to see."

"That's alright," he declined, but as she grabbed his hand and cupped it between hers, his words began to slow and his face began to contort. "Shelly..." he rambled, "I'm already meeting someone."

Shelly’s eyes instantly filled with fury as she hissed incredulously, “please don’t tell me that note was for that hussy Hope, Ellis. Please tell me you're not asking that troll on a date?"

The muscles of his jaw, cheek and forehead tensed, the last thing he wanted was for Shelly to start some crazy rumor before Hope even had a chance to read his invitation.

"Oh, no. Nothing like that, she's my, uh, homework buddy," replied Ellis, grimacing at the inadequacy of his own poorly told lie, "it was homework. I put our homework in her locker."

"Oh, Ellis," she cooed as her scowl morphed into a pointy grin, "you can do better than her. She's so... so plain. I bet if we tried, we could come up with someone who's just dying to try you out." Shelly placed her warm hand on his stomach, patting it gently. "Like me, for instance," she sighed.

Ellis looked down at her for the first time. Still struggling to catch her breath, her chest was heaving up and down. With each inhale her nipples poked gratuitously through the thin material of her shirt. "I," he stammered, "should really be going now."

Leaning on her tippy-toes, one hand on his shoulder to balance, Shelly put a finger to Ellis' lips, hushing further comments while whispering into his ear, "I'd rather you were coming now."


Two wine glasses and an inexpensive bottle of red wine in tow, Whitey sauntered into the living room and positioned himself on the far end of the couch. Like a waiter at a fine restaurant, he skillfully popped the cork and poured a small amount of deep crimson liquid into both glasses. "Why don't you take off your shoes and make yourself comfortable?"

Shoes still on, the young girl promptly downed the glass of wine, tilting her head parallel to the floor until the last drop flittered into her open mouth. Before Whitey could ask, she extended the empty glass for seconds. He obliged, this time filling it to the brim.

After downing the second glass just as quickly as the first, the girl questioned what would be required of her to receive the fee and if she'd have to expose skin.

Whitey's face grew long as he contemplated a proper answer. Play it cool, Whitey, he thought, eyeing her sweet, tight body up and down, play it cool. Coax her with promises, then finesse her with cash. Pay and she’ll play.

“Well, dear, there are several ways to go about this. If I haven't mentioned, it's a very competitive industry and more often than not payment will require a little bared flesh, but just how much is up to you. You can strip down to your choice from an assortment of swimsuits I have for a few bucks, however, not anything sumptuous enough to pay the rent. In other words, not really worth your while." Whitey scowled and waved that option off in an attempt to influence her into a bigger and better choice. "Let me run down some options for a woman in your position, being a student and all. If you're like most college kids, I'm sure you're tired of beseeching the parents for spare cash come the weekend, right?"

The girl nodded politely.

"And the only jobs available are the low paying any-monkey-can-do positions like a bank teller, an obedient retail clerk or some sycophant desk job in an isolated corner of campus. Well, screw that minimum wage chump change shit." This statement roused a genuine smirk from his model, the green flag that he was breaking through to her comfort zone. Whitey moved closer and put his hand on her knee.

"Oh no, I can't picture you in a uniform and a nametag," he laughed, influencing her to laugh with him, "you're much too pretty for that. You know, the only reason bosses make employees wear name tags in the first place is if you do something wrong, the customer will know who to rat on."

The girl giggled freely as if what he said hit home.

"I won't make you wear a nametag. Hell, I don't even want to know your name... in truth, I want you to make up something. Something really cool like Mandy Monroe or Candice Cupcakes or Beatrice Valentine - "

"- Ms. Layla Lovett," she interrupted, grinning shyly as her 100-pound frame was clearly feeling the effects of the alcohol.

Whitey took it upon himself to dole out another glass of wine, happy at her progress.

"Yes, doll, that is perfect. You're getting the hang of things all right." He leaned back on the couch, laid his arm along the length of its padding and spread apart his thighs so that his crotch was readily accessible, suggesting whenever you're ready, I'm ready.


Gene browsed the internet for over an hour. Downloading all the happy naked people frolicking about really had him itching. After all, it's been a long time. A very long time. In fact, the last time Gene touched a tit was three years ago - when he and his only girlfriend were dating.

"Oh, Emily," he whined, "why did you have to dump me?" He clenched his fist into a tight ball as memories of Emily flooded his psyche. Suddenly overwhelmed by thoughts of her and the good times they had, he began to feel depressed. Unable to shake his sullen memories, he quickly resorted to the only form of forgetting he knows - mind-numbing substances…

Three quarts and two hours later, he found himself wallowing neck deep in drunken pity.

"Whyse can't I getta woman," he slurred, "lama good perssson, I treat 'em like queens." Gene dropped his large head into his hands, his extra pinky accidentally jabbing himself in the eye. "Feuck," he howled, "who curse me with sucha flaw? Waz itchu mom? Or waz it one of ‘em bastards you married? Or maybe... maybe eet waz you! You God!" Gene glared skyward, where he assumed God would be if indeed there is a God. "I need ansers, darunyoo. Who da fuck blighted me?" He dropped to his knees, still cradling his head. "Damn y'all. Answeeer me!"

As he banged his head repeatedly on the coffee table, a pocket-sized bible donated earlier in the week by a door-to-door missionary toppled to the floor.

"Whazis?" he mumbled, floundering toward it. Gene threw his arm forward and thrashed about until the book was firmly in grasp. Shaking off the double vision best he could, he examined the cover, both front and back.

"Hmmm," he again mumbled, staring cross-eyed at the crucifix embroidered into the fake leather. "Issa sign! Holy Jessuss, issa sign!" Slightly sobered with excitement, Gene flipped open the tiny book, hastily investigating its preaching's for a cure to what was plaguing him - was it destiny, genetics or He Himself which cursed him with such blemished body parts?

After scanning a good portion of the pages, he was disappointed to find that the apostles' parables provided no logical explanation in regards to the defects that plagued him, however, all was not lost. Gene discovered within the verses of the New Testament something to raise his spirit - a means to sexual rejuvenation! Without delay, he proceeded to garb himself in a poorly wrapped loincloth and gallup through the streets of the French Quarter with dick in hand, pleading with random women to “resurrect me! resurrect me!"


Ellis didn't know what to say. He was genuinely confused. Hope has been his ideal mate for so long and in less than 24 hours he'll be of parentally-legal dating age, but yet here's Shelly - hot-as-hell Shelly.

Every-high-school-boys-fantasy Shelly.

And she's ready to offer herself to him. Right now. Without the prerequisite date. Or the romance. Or even the love. Hot damn, he gushed, I found a loophole! My parents mandate no dating until I'm sixteen, they never said anything about sex.

But what about Hope?

What about Hope?

The way things are currently headed, maybe she isn't the right girl for me. I had to resort to a note to ask her out,for crying out loud. And if it actually does work, who is to say I'll be able to withstand similar retarded behavior while on the actual date?

With Shelly standing before him, Ellis wasn't awkward. As a matter of fact, he felt somewhat comfortable. In control, even.

Ellis wrinkled his forehead, contemplating the situation at hand. "I guess we are already late," he remarked. Heck, this may even turn out to strengthen my relationship with Hope. I can use Shelly as practice, utilize her as a stepping-stone to hone my skills and build up my confidence.

“Yes, she quickly replied, nuzzling close to him, her warm breath skimming his neck. “Ellis,” she cooed in a charming little girl voice, her pink nose pressing against his cheek, “let’s get out of here.”


Whitey hovered over the girl, squeezing the remains from his dangling pink flesh onto her tightly closed lips. "That wasn't so bad, was it?" he asked, trembling in the afterglow, his pallid body covered in a thin film of glistening sweat.

The girl at his knees said nothing in reply.

He grabbed a hand towel from beside the couch and wiped down his face and chest, then threw it to the side without offering it to her. "You're a sweet one," he told her, running his fingers through her silky black hair. He flashed a pursed, almost compassionate smile while he admired his handiwork. "That calls for a picture," he announced, snapping a photo of her cream covered mouth and chin. "I am being very sincere when I tell you, darling," he told her, "you were a really good fuck."

The girl arose from her knees and ran down the hall, cupping her mouth to keep Whitey's sperm from dripping onto her tiny bare breasts. "The bathroom is on the left," he mentioned casually while continuing to snap pictures of her pristine ass as she fled down the hall. "I think you'll like the pictures," he shouted as she disappeared into a room at the end of the hall.

Shortly afterward, naked and with video camera in hand, he knocked on the bathroom door to try and convince her to let him film a shower scene to later upload on his website, but the door was locked and his requests went unanswered. He lumbered back to the living room, shuffling his feet in disappointment when loud throat convulsions began to emit from the bathroom.

"You okay?" he inquired, turning briefly in consideration of checking up on her, but quickly decided to drop the sweet facade.

He already got what he wanted.

To drown out the noise, Whitey turned up the volume on his stereo and flipped though the stations until he found a station broadcasting a soulful bluesy fusion. He stood back from the stereo receiver and looked at the room before him. Sunlight was pouring through an off-white linen curtain and fanning out across the floor. Her clothing was neatly folded and stacked on a chair by the doorway. His attire was lying on a heap on the floor. Two nearly empty wine glasses sat atop the coffee table. He picked one up and swallowed the last swig of red wine from it. "At last," he sighed, satisfied, semi-laughing, rotating the empty glass in small circles with his wrist. He looked down at himself, standing fully exposed, his moist dick hanging loosely to the left, his patch of white pubic hair seemingly glowing in the daylight. The faint din of further vomiting could be heard during lulls in the radio. “Man,” he groaned, “surely she can’t expect that I hold back her hair?”

Whitey the Amighty assists financially, not medically.

As the vulgar sounds violating the atmosphere grew louder, Whitey abruptly gathered his and her belongings, wiped clean his dick with her cotton panties and dressed. He brought her clothing down the hall where he tossed them on the floor in front of the bathroom door. "Don't be mad at me, honey. You came knocking on my door, remember," he shouted, rapping loudly on the door.

"Anyway, I gotta go. Be a dear and lock up when you leave. And, oh," he paused, "I put $300 in your pants pocket, a little extra than normal, mind you. Consider it a bonus for going the extra mile." Silence answered him back. "Hey. I don't know if you're mad or embarrassed, but just so you know, lotsa girls have posed in front of my camera, but you actually made it smile. You stood out. You should feel good about yourself and what you did. Be proud, you performed exceptionally well for your first modeling job," he added before leaving.


Dripping with sweat, the social lubricant waning, Gene slowly began to absorb his odd predicament. He looked down and spotted the ill-fitting loincloth. What the hell am I wearing? He stopped to catch his breath in the midst of the Bourbon Street afternoon. A subtle stench of day old horseshit wafted into his nostrils, a diminishing reminder of the horseback police force from nights' prior. Totally exhausted and utterly confused, he bent at the waist, resting his hands on his knees. A slight pain on his left side made its presence known. "What the fuck am I doing?" he huffed as pools of sweat formed on the street below.

Gene glanced around in bewilderment. How the hell did I get here? Fortunately, many of the Bourbon Street commoners paid little or no attention to the semi-naked freak, but of the few that did, Gene wanted nothing more to do with. I gotta get the hell off the street. Clutching his side, a limp setting in, Gene hobbled into a shaded alley where a neon sign advertising 'Cocktails' beckoned his presence.

Before passing through the heavy wooden doors, Gene took a moment to fan out his loincloth and more appropriately cover his upper thighs and lower torso. Surely this place will have coffee, he hoped, looking to sober up. Parting the cumbersome door revealed a dank, lowly lit tavern. Once inside, he forged a path to the back of the bar, past one badly warped foosball table, two billiard tables overlain with rubber greens (the felt was replaced several years ago due to complaints about the many beer stains and cigarette bums pervading the playing surface), three electronic dart boards, a row of tattered red leather booths and an assortment of duct-taped bar stools. Four television sets aired a daytime talk show simultaneously.

Gene took a seat in the furthest booth to the back. A poorly sewn button jabbed him in the ass as he sat. Still clutching his side, he took in the atmosphere while attempting to avoid eye contact with the patrons. Upon first glance the tavern seemed to be territory mostly to white trash townies in search of cheap beer and skanky chain-smokers looking for solitude. The air was heavy with smoke and thick with the stale odor of week-old ale. This bar is definitely one for those who care less about whether or not the bathroom employs a Mexican peddling hand towels and breath-mints for pocket change, he considered. Relieved that very few took notice of his queer getup, Gene snuck into the head to pat himself down with a moist paper towel. A sticky floor, one backed-up toilet and two tall women clad in sequined evening gowns sharing the same cigarette greeted him upon entering.

"Whoa, sorry, ladies," he blurted, shielding his eyes, "wrong john." He immediately turned and left to a chorus of sniggers.

Standing just outside the bathrooms, he again looked at the sign on the doors. The one to the left bore a sign reading 'Girls,' the one directly ahead of him, the facility he just departed, was emblazoned with a sign reading 'Boys.' Gene scratched his head, but considering his outfit decided to not push the subject.

"Dumb dames," he shrugged, sliding back into his booth.


"I'll pull my car around back, Ellis," stated Shelly, "meet me by the rear gymnasium door in five minutes."

Ellis watched from where he was standing as she swaggered away, over-emphasizing her sexy strut - she knew he'd be watching. After putting a little distance between herself and him, she casually turned sideways, the profile of her breasts obscene against the flatness of her tummy. "Oh, and Ellis," she said, raising her finger to her lip in faux reflection, "we're going to get to the bottom of your dilemma, I promise."

Ellis nodded, unsure whether her statement required gratitude.

"And," she said, twisting seductively, coming back toward him, "don't worry about a thing. I don't bite," she affirmed, smiling, dropping a finger on his pectoral muscle. She let her finger slide down the length of his firm chest and trail down his abs to his belly button.

Ellis closed his eyes and opened his mouth as an involuntary moan exited.

When he opened his eyes again, she was gone. Holy God, he screamed internally, I'm gonna get laid! Holy God, Holy God, Holy God! This is it. This is definitely it! Ellis bounded from side to side, unsure what to do with himself. Should I brush my teeth? Wash up a little? Freshen my, ahem, privates? Will I need a condom? Does she expect foreplay? What is foreplay? At what point should I whip it out? Or does she do that?

Ellis was nervous, but not in the same manner as with Hope. This is a fascinating anxiety. With Hope, it's more of a paralyzing trepidation. She rendered him nearly incontinent whereas Shelly evoked a primordial sense of masculinity, like a simple clubbing on the head is all that is required to woo her. With Hope, he feels a need to impress, although a screw is still the desirable goal, she requires a bit more finesse. A bit more respect. And what scared him the most was that maybe he didn't possess enough of either. But with Shelly there were no such expectations. A Y chromosome, that's it.


Whitey, making a rare daytime outdoors appearance, donned his protective coating - a tightly wrapped scarf, extra-datk wraparound sunglasses, a low-fitting baseball cap, baggy jeans and a long sleeve rugby shirt - good for shelter from the sun as well as retardant against the "hey-look-at-the-albino" leers. Loaded down with the remaining business cards and still high from his latest conquest, he escaped to the seediest bar he could think of, assuming the crowd would be more focused on getting drunk than concerned about his pale hide. This particular bar, at least in the waning evening hours of visits past, has been quite friendly to him. He has, on countless earlier occasions, hand solicited females just off the wagon who were happy for a visit from an albino with a penance for perversion and a pocketful of cash.


After strolling through the front door, he removed his sunglasses and waited momentarily for his eyes to adjust to the dim light inside. He immediately spotted a few potential employees - single girls surrounded by empty bottles fighting hard to fend off the alcohol fatigue; in other words, girls most likely too drunk to turn down his advances. He removed a stack of cards from his back pocket and began to pass them out individually. "$100 an hour, guaranteed," he suggested with a wink to one of the more attractive drunks.

Parched, Whitey finally sauntered up to the bar and pulled out a stool that creaked loudly as he sat. A particularly fat man lumbered sideways in his chair, his heavy jowls quaking like skin-colored Jello as he turned, but he soon went about his owo business, finding the effort to stare too strenuous.

Whitey studied the scene from his seat, noting the unusually strong redneck influence strewn about, scattered here and there with a drifter clad in dirty wrangler jeans or an overdressed pimp enjoying a beverage between tricks. It appeared remarkably different during this particular day visit as opposed to his recollection of the nighttime outings past.

Even the bartender presented a hickish standard unaccustomed to by Whitey. In typical bar fashion he asked, "what'll it be, mack?"

"How 'bout something to wash to smell of sex from my dick," Whitey replied, winking.

The bartender placed both hands on the counter and leered in close to Whitey, his tricep muscles flexing like lightning bolts. "Listen, mack, I don't like your kind. So if you don't want any trouble just order yourself a daiquiri or bay breeze or whatever it is you queers drink and get the hell out of my operation.

Whitey furled a single eyebrow. Ever since he could remember, people have mistaken his scarf as effeminate as opposed to effective. Anti-albino slurs he understands and accepts; the faggot interpretation, however, he doesn’t take kindly to. If anything, he’s straighter than 6 o’clock. “Alright, mack,” he emphasized, purposefully tossing a length of the scarf over his shoulder, "if that's the case, just serve me up a frozen banana daiquiri and," he paused for dramatic effect, "treat your owo hillbilly ass to a Pabst Blue Ribbon in the can… on me."

The bartender's eyes grew large as tainted moons, his teeth clenched tight as a vice grip and his nostrils flared like an angry bull. In one swift move he lunged forward and snared Whitey by the scarf, yanking him just inches from his snarled lips. His warm breath breezed against Whitey's cheeks as he hissed, "what the fuck did you just say?"

Whitey's seat was no longer touching his seat.

The fat man with heavy jowls now made extra effort to catch the spectacle.

"I said - " Whitey growled, squinting at the bartender, daring him to take it to the next level, "I'd like to buy your podunk, backwoods, overall-wearing ass," he reiterated, stressing each word, each syllable with crystal clear resonance, "a can of the choicest hops the truck driving community has to offer… so if you don't mind, would you pick up the pace a bit? I'm parched."

"Why you pudgy faggot," the bartender howled, "I'll tear yon limb from limb!" The bartender snatched Whitey by the throat and hauled him completely across the bar. While his left hand held Whitey in position, he pulled his other hand behind his head and curled it into a fist…


Gene sat in the corner, both hands wrapped around a lukewarm mug of coffee he only occasionally sipped while contemplating what it'd take to hail a cab in his current get-up. Every so often he'd glance away from the cup of bad coffee to admire a pair of slender figures slow dancing in the corner.

On the jukebox played a lively disco song, one Gene thought too lively for early afternoon on a weekday. Between sips, he absorbed as much of the dancing duo as possible before his glance could be classified a stare. The taller of the couple, a lanky brunette with bangs that hung over much of her face, sported arms that were slim, yet defined, like her daily routine consisted of several sets of pushups. The other, even under the dimly lit tavern bulbs, wore makeup that was easily visible. Her lengthy eyelashes fluttered every so often, burdened by their own sheer bulk. Together the two girls swayed intoxicatingly on a makeshift dance floor that for reasons unfathomable to Gene was roped off by three dusty velvet ropes. The lanky one, who Gene fixated on, kept her eyes closed as she lethargically swayed back and forth, in rhythm to something altogether different than the upbeat song.

Watching as her partner brushed away a strand of stray hair from her eye reminded Gene of Emily. She always managed to attract wind. No matter how serene the day, her hair was forever tussled, blowing every which way but the way she wanted. She was constantly tucking away an auburn lock behind her freckled ear.

"Oh, Emily," he sighed, the repercussions of speaking to himself unimportant, "why did you have to leave me? You were the only one that could love a beast like me." A tear welled up at the corner of his eye, rolled down his cheek, and eventually trickled into his coffee. A ring of perfectly circular ripples radiated outward until each eventually died against the rim of his mug. In two weeks, two days and seventeen hours it will mark the third anniversary of the last time he heard from her. She needed some time to think, she said. Some time away, she revealed. Some time alone, she alleged.

And so she left.

She furnished him with a number where she could be reached and took off the very next day.


As difficult as it was, he remembers how he endured an entire week before finally succumbing to the urge to call her…

"Hello,"answered a deep-voiced gentleman.

Briefly stifled, the first thought to enter Gene's mind was that he dialed the wrong number, so he said nothing at first.

"Hellllloooo?" the voice again repeated.

Instead of hanging up, Gene timidly asked if the numbers on the sheet of paper Emily gave him were the same as the numbers he dialed.

"Yes sir, that's us."

"Us?" Gene replied, stunned.

"Yeah, me and my girlfriend."

Gene's heart skipped a beat.

"Listen, " the guy said, "who is this?"

That's when it happened. Gene pinpointed the exact sound that ended their relationship... their friendship... their chance for a long distance phoneship - whatever it was that he and Emily had, it was done. Over. Complete …

...he overheard Emily's voice in the background- "who is it, dear?”

Verbatim - WHO IS IT, DEAR?

Lightheaded, Gene spit out that he must have dialed the wrong digits and hung up. "Dear. Dear? Oh, dear?!?"

Gene has since replayed that instance in his head over and over again, taunted by the other man's voice, forever plagued by his words.

Lost in his own misery, Gene pounded his palms on both sides of his head. "Damn you, Emily, do you understand how absolutely painful it was to hear, for the first time, the manly acoustics of the stud who took my place just days after, if not before, we split up. To find out about the dude who's literally filled my hole in such a way, I can't explain..."

Wondering who was talking so loudly, the taller of the dancing duo, who has since sat down at the bar and ordered a drink, turned to give the perpetrator a queer glance. "What on earth..." she muttered, turning around, craning her neck, a cigarette dangling limply between her ruby red lips.

Embarrassed, Gene raised his hand and apologized, expressing that it wouldn't happen again. "Not now, lady," he grumbled inaudibly under his breath, staring into his coffee mug, "I'm not in the mood nor the environment. But push it further and you'll regret it, lady." Expecting her to be back about her business, he again looked up, but she was still staring - staring at him directly in the face like a deer caught in headlights.


Ellis opened the back door to the school gymnasium. Light flooded the wooden floor and reflected into the hallway. He quickly stepped outside and shielded his eyes beneath the scorching afternoon sun. The door clicked shut behind him. Once his eyes adjusted, he spotted Shelly's convertible Cabriolet. She was smiling. Her eyebrows arched above her sunglasses.

"Get in, Ellis," she said, patting the leather passenger seat beside her, "we don't have a lot of time." Ellis looked around. The coast seemed clear. He tugged his collar then, as cool as he could, got into her car. His head lurched backwards as she peeled out of the parking lot and beyond school grounds. At first he said nothing. Simply stared straight ahead. I should have brushed my teeth, was all he could think.

"Well," she shrugged, "what's up?"

Ellis shrugged, too. "Not much."

"Why so fidgety in class today?"

Don't spoil it, Ellis. "No reason, really."

A few turns later, she pulled into a recreational area where he used to play baseball as a kid. She rolled her car under a heavily treed area and shifted into park. The air was silent but for the birds chirping and an occasional wind current rustling the antennae.

And… here it is. The reason he gets dressed in the morning. The reason he combs his hair. The reason he wears matching shoes. But…

Now what???

Then it happened. Shelly reached over, gently turned his head toward her and kissed him passionately on the lips. And it all came to him. Like he'd been doing it for years. He was making out.

Big time.

Nose to nose, lip to lip, warm breath to warm, sultry breath.

This is fantastic, be thought. Just as he thought it couldn't get any better, she clamped a hand on his inner thigh and extended a leg over his lap. With a wet, open mouth she pried apart his teeth and greeted his tongue with her tongue. She was now kneeling a few inches above him, hovering crotch to crotch, her arms folded comfortably around his neck.

Soon the kissing became heavier.

And so did the petting.

Ellis ran his fingers up and down her back, inspiring a deep sigh from within her, her heated breathing gently tickling his earlobe. A brief massage of her shoulder blades and soon he found his hands following her graceful spine down to the curved area just above her hips. He slipped his fingers between her jeans and her panties and absorbed the joyful feel of her soft, plushy hips. She made no effort to halt his advances so he, like any horny virgin, upped the ante and fully wedged his hands down the back of her denim shorts, groping two cheeks of taut ass. When she sucked his earlobe into her steamy mouth, he took it to be a green light and caressed the globes of flesh in his happy mitts, forcibly pulling her closer to him. Grinding each other while still fully clothed, they quickly began to undress one another, tugging desperately at any and all attainable zippers and buttons.

Ellis gripped the hem of her t-shirt and rolled it up and over her shoulders. She lifted her arms, allowing it to easily glide over her head. Her hair descended back into place as he plunged a nipple between his lips, which immediately erected on the warmth of his tongue.

Soft moans, heavy breathing and nervous giggles set the background composition for the bared breasts and cuddled bodies thrashing about on the car seat.

With his left hand, Ellis tugged at her pants and slid them downwards. Shelly thrust a foot into the air and kicked them loose, sending them spinning near home plate. She then sloppily pushed his pants below his knees and parted the fly of boxers until his swollen shaft peeked through.

Unable to control the urge, he pulled her bare flesh next to his and eased her onto his stiff penis. Her arousal obvious, he slid in with no friction to deter the process. After several more minutes of hard grinding, she began to pull tightly at his shoulders and hair, breathing unevenly. Her rhythmic movements steadily convulsed into irregular jerking motions.

This was it for Ellis.

Along with the laborious panting and animalistic stirring, she easily defeated his struggle to remain full of fluid. Releasing s tense grip from her tight ass, he let all his troubles flood quietly into Shelly.


The first jab the bartender threw landed square in Whitey's eye. Despite watching the progress of his fist from commencement to contact, Whitey stayed fully erect, alert and unflinching. The swing was so slow and so deliberate that he felt as if it was happening to someone else. Like it was happening to a character in a movie. But seconds after the crack to his eye, the pain started to set in. Followed by the reality. And finally a shocked expression of throbbing/fear/dread overcame Whitey's mug, one that the bartender wrongly mistook as cocky - an appearance that signified: come on, is that all you got, redneck.

So the bartender socked him again.

And again.

Whitey's body snapped back slug after slug, but wouldn't, or couldn't, find gravity. So the bartender continued to swing away. Finally, after an uppercut to the chin, Whitey staggered sideways and collapsed onto a soiled rubber mat atop the dank tiled floor.

Looking up at his attacker with wild eyes, a thick stream of blood seeping out of his puffy eyelid, he shouted, "you dumb fuck, I'm suing! I'm suing, damn you!" Whitey was breathing heavily and sounding as though his cheeks were stuffed with marbles.

The bartender reached onto the bar and scooped up a handful of coinage then flung it violently at Whitey, "here it is," he shouted, "it's all yours." Several of the shiny projectiles pelted Whitey on the head and shoulders. "I'm sure there's a quarter in there somewhere, go ahead and call your lawyer, faggot," he bellowed before kicking Whitey in the gut, sending him reeling into the fetal position on the floor. "Fuck!" he howled, blood splattering across his boot, "now look what you did." He bent down to polish a smear of blood from his shoe. "You got your fucking blood all over me. I hope for your sake you don'thave AIDS, faggot."

The clamor of beer bottles clanking and people "ohhh-ing" slowly morphed into ringing deep within his ears. As he reached up to soothe the throbbing behind his eye socket, his cupped hands lazily filled with a warm, thick liquid. Carefully, he laid his head onto the floor and let the room fade to black…


"Babe," whispered the lanky girl from the corner of her mouth opposite the cigarette, "who is that man in that back booth? The one by himself, without the shirt."

Her friend glanced over, shrugged 'beats me' and went back to sipping her dry martini.

"What is he wearing?" she asked, bending sideways on her stool to peer beneath Gene's booth. "Is that underwear?"

Gene, still holding up his hand in apology, watched as the bartender, the girl and her friend tipped their heads sideways in unison. Gene crossed his legs uncomfortably. God damn it, he cursed to himself, tucking his loincloth between his tightly folded thighs, my shitlist is already too long on account of you ignorant bitches. I don't care how fucking pretty you are, I'm not going to let you treat me like a zoo animal. Not today. Gene sprung from his booth and marched straight up to the lanky, dark haired girl, who, upon spotting him approach, promptly swiveled barward in her stool. As Gene neared, he heard the girl chanting briskly under her breath, oh my god. Is he really coming over? What should we do, Angel?

"Lady," said Gene matter-of-factly, tapping her on the shoulder, "I don't know who in the hell you think you are," he warned, crossing his arms, "but let this serve as a warning - no one, and I mean NO ONE gawks at me. Just because you were born flawless doesn't mean everyone was. I may be living in a body that doesn't fit quite right, but that is no excuse. If this were another time or another place, you'd rue the day we met. How dare you."

The girl spun back around, wide-eyed and speechless. Face to face with him, her eyes traced his thick hairline down to his cheeks, crossed over his flat nose, dropped down to his thin lips and slowly followed his frown lines into his deep-set brown eyes. Still unable to speak, she reached up with a slightly quivering hand and removed a single strand of hair that made its way into the corner of her mouth.

"You," she said softly, calculatedly, staring deeply into his eyes, "think I'm flawless?" Her voice was raspy, like years of cigarettes have taken their toll. "You do know I'm - "

Her friend, the girl with too much makeup, quickly grabbed her wrist, shushing further comments with a single word - "don't."

The lanky girl turned slightly toward her friend and nodded a half-nod, expressing her understanding. She then turned back to Gene.

"What," she asked gently, sincerely, "is your name?"

Gene, arms still folded, untucked his thumb from under his arm and pointed it at his own chest, "my name?"

"Yes, sweetie, what is your name," she asked again, an endearing smile flowering.

"Oh," he said, taken off guard by her brilliant smile. "It's, un, Gene. Gene is my name." A strange tingling sensation rushed to his fingertips and through to his tummy, a sensation he hasn't felt since the days of Emily, the brief days when enamored, not enraged, was his attitude toward women.

"Hi, Gene, I’m Eve.” She presented her hand to Gene.


Ellis closed his eyes to enjoy his first afterglow. His penis slowly retracted to a flaccid state but loitered snugly inside Shelly, affixed by their shared moisture. Her legs still wrapped around him, he rested his head in the gap on her cleavage. Fuck Hope, he thought, Shelly's my girl. This is what life is all about.

"Told ya I wouldn't bite." She pulled his chin up, leaned back and delivered a wicked smirk.

Ellis smiled back, but wasn't exactly sure what to say to someone who just gave him the greatest birthday gift ever.

Should he offer gas money? Say thanks? Or…

…Ask for seconds???

Why, he'd be a fool not to!

So he cupped her ass once again and smiled a boyish, expectant smile. He maneuvered her slowly down his groin so that her ass cheeks rested flat on his balls. As he rocked her forward again, Shelly interrupted -

"Whoa, boy," she proclaimed, forcibly removing his hands from her ass. "No time for that nonsense." She reached between them and removed his limp dick from inside her, "we really should get back to school before anyone misses us." She agilely swung her leg up and over his head, separated herself from him using the door and steering wheel as leverage and repositioned herself in the driver's seat. She then pulled up her panties and rolled her shirt back over her naked tits before nonchalantly asking, "hey, hon, could you be a dear and fetch my shorts?" she asked, pointing toward home plate.

Ellis looked at her, then at her pants lying in the brown dirt of the infield, then back at Shelly, who simply smiled, waiting.

"Uh, sure," he frowned, "I guess.”

"Thanks, babe."

Suddenly feeling self-conscious, Ellis turned his back to her and tucked away his penis. He then stood from the car and hastily pulled up his pants, nearly stumbling to the ground in the process. As he was collecting her shorts, Shelly fired up the engine and revved it several times, impatiently.

During the return trip to school, Ellis on several occasions attempted to say something sweet, or polite, or sexy, or whatever, just as long as it was something, but came up empty every time. Sheer ecstasy was evolving into sweaty awkwardness. Of the select phrases bouncing around his brain, none seemed adequate. Unfortunately, post-coital etiquette was an elective not offered in high school.

Now what? Cuddle? Snuggle? Hold hands?

Ellis, clearing his throat, reached over and lightly made hand contact.

"Ellis!" she spouted, yanking her hand away, "I need to shift with that hand. Silly."

He was suddenly physically ill. His stomach was rolling, churning juices that in turn made his head roll. While Shelly cruised carefree through traffic, chomping indifferently on gum, Ellis was fighting the need to throw up.

Finally, only after shifting her car into park beside a school entrance he never knew existed did he get up the nerve to spew "when can I see you again?"

"Oh, sweetie," she cooed, snapping a bubble, "you're precious." She lowered her sunglasses and gave him a quick, congenial smile before applying a new layer of lipstick in the reflection of her sideview mirror. While admiring her makeup artistry, she casually mentioned, “the door, the one behind the maintenance shed,” with a nod of her head in its general direction, “it never locks all the way. Fortunately for us, I have a certain -” she pressed her lips firmly together, evening out the hotrod red layer on her lips, “- oral understanding with a few of the hall monitors.” Then, with vengeance oozing from every pore of her slithery skin, she hissed, "now go tell that little bitch Hope what you've done." She then abruptly stood from the car, adjusting her cleavage in the sideview mirror on the driver side door. "There's no way that stupid cunt is better than me," she decried before slamming her car door, and trodding off toward the side school door.


The first sense to fully recover was Whitey's sense of smell - jarring him totally alert was an ungodly aroma of what seemed to be piss, whiskey and pickled eggs. Unable to open his eyes, he began to wave the scent away as if he had just walked through a spider web, all the while cursing, "sweet jesus, what the fuck is that foul stench?" Incapable of quelling the odor and unsure of his whereabouts, he rubbed his eyes and found them both to be swollen shut. Further, he found his head to be covered in scratches, bumps, and dents. "What on earth..." He laid his head back flat, struggling to recollect the events that led him present circumstance.

"That damned bartender," he howled, suddenly remembering the beating he took, "I'll fucking kill him!" Whitey wobbled upright, pausing mid-stance to allow blood to fill the proper crevices of his brain, but was unable to fully accomplish an erect posture before disorientation dropped him groundward again.

The earth below was spongy, like he was atop a boxing ring canvas. And the air was chilly, a stark contrast to the afternoon heat. As he lay, a foggy silhouette of a person emerged from the shadows of his vision. "Who's there," blurted Whitey, his words blending together, sounding more like wind than man made speech. The figure approached, saying nothing in reply. In a futile effort, Whitey clutched his fists in preparation of possible conflict and began flailing his limbs like a cockroach turned upside-down.

Despite his unruly defense, a hand laid down upon his shoulder. Whitey took a rampant swing that connected with nothing.

"Don't waste your energy," soothed the feminine voice, cradling his head, "relax."

"I don't need your help, lady," he hissed, turning away from her grasp.

"My guidance and care are vital to your wellbeing." A gentle stroke dabbed at the mound of pus-filled flesh encircling his left eye.

Whitey grimaced, flinching from the pain. "Guidance and care?' he barked, "I don't need your damn guidance and care, lady! Who the hell are you? And stop touching me!"

"I apologize for my ambiguity. I am only here to help, I do not mean to confuse or to anger." Her sincerity was heartfelt. Her compassion real.

"If you want to help, take me to a fucking hospital, you ignorant freak, because what I don't need is some half-ass alleyway nurse fucking with my eyes and blinding me for life."

"I can leave," she stated, "but I don't believe you'll like the treatment a hospital will provide, Cotton."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean," he snapped? "And how the fuck did you know my real name? Who the hell are you?"

Whitey has never told anyone his real name. He again began to flail any and all appendages, frightened at the thought that the woman helping him may in actuality be a spurned ex­-employee bent on revenge. "Have you been stealing my mail, you psychotic slut? Digging through my garbage? Well, you're not going to get away with this," he shouted, still swinging blindly. "NOW LEAVE ME ALONE," he screamed at the top of his lungs, dragging himself away on his hands and butt, hoping someone in the nearby vicinity would be alerted to his dilemma and call for help.

"Cotton," she soothed, fending off his aggression, placing a cool hand on his forehead, "I am not here to defame nor defile. I am here solely to support you, but if you believe you do not require my aid, I will go."

"Then what the hell do you want from me? I can take care of myself, lady. I've been doing it for twenty five years now. I don't need your fucking help. I,” he emphasized, pounding his chest, ''provide for women in need, not the other way around." Whitey waved his hand, implying the conversation was over, time for her to go.

"As you wish, Cotton." she replied gracefully.

"As I wish?" he repeated, stirred, testosterone overcoming pride. Images of a golden-skinned, raven­ haired oriental seductress suddenly popped into his head. Visions of a subservient mistress, eyes to the ground, bowing elegantly before her master filled his thoughts. Even at his worst, Whitey couldn't pass up a chance at sex. "Wait, wait," he rebutted, "I take it back. I need you, lady" he faux whined.

He paused, listening for a counter-reaction from the mystery woman, waiting for his half-ass alleyway nurse to honor her Hippocratic Oath. But no reply came. No finger drumming in contemplation. No head scratching in mental deliberation. No nothing. Then the reality sunk in. Where exactly am I? The Quarter? Marigny? Garden District? Is anything broken? Am I severely wounded? Can I even physically get home by myself? "Okay, okay, lady," he shouted, "you win! I need you," he pleaded. "I need your help!"

Still no answer.

"Please come back," he begged, his voice trailing off in futility.


"Pleased to meet you, Eve." The tingling raced from Gene's tummy to his kneecaps and down into his toes. Even the myriad of hairs pervading the back of his neck stood at attention. Gene shifted his weight from his left foot to his right foot, uncertain whether to trust this sensation, the wonderful sensation he hasn't felt since Emily, or to prepare himself for a cruel ploy. Either way, he wanted to be ready.

"The pleasure is mine, Gene. So," she said, eyeing him up and down, grinning widely, "what brings you here?"

Gene looked down at his ridiculous garb. "I, uh, suppose you could say alcohol brings me here." He laughed with a tad of apprehension, not wanting to leave himself open to deception but not wanting to run off a chance at a reincarnation of Emily, either.

On one hand, he has grown wise to the games people play. After all, he has been approached in bars by beautiful women before, only to be the subject of humiliating sorority pranks, drinks thrown to his face or the clueless winner of the who-can-hook-up-with-the-ugliest-guy contest, etc...

The list is endless.

As is his shit list.

However, on the other hand, what if she is genuine? His list of conquests is short. Really short. And his thirst is strong. She did laugh at his statement - not at him. That was a good sign. So he returned the question, "what brings you here?"

"Well, this is where I come to get away from it all. I feel comfortable here. This is one of the few places I feel welcome."

Gene looked into her eyes and saw something he has never seen in a woman before. Not even with Emily. There was an aura of strength about her. An influence of struggle. Like life had not come easy to her, either. And for the first time in his life, he felt sympathy, not anger.

He felt a bond.

"Oh, come now, a beautiful gal like you? You must brighten the room everywhere you go."

"Why thank you," she smiled, her cheeks turning a pale shade of crimson. "That is so sweet," she cooed. "How would you like to join us for a drink, Gene?'' She patted the stool to her left.

"Yes," he said, "yes, I would like that." Gene pulled out the stool and climbed on top, his hairy thighs sticking to the leather.

"What would you like," she asked, placing a hand on his knee, "first round’s on me, unless you are hiding a wallet somewhere in those things?"

They laughed again.


The tingling sensation planted itself in his groin. "Beer, please."

"Two beers, barkeep," she said without hesitation.


Ellis was dumbfounded. Was he just used simply for Shelly to prove her superiority over Hope? Did he just lose his virginity in a meaningless popularity tactic? Was he just the discarded half of a one-afternoon-stand?

"Well, shit," he squealed aloud, a new cavalier attitude brewing, "I just got laid and I didn't even have to spend money on dinner! And I won't need to bny flowers?! And no silly chatting about it afterwards?!? Hell yeah, this is much easier than dating!!!"

Ellis rearranged his crotch, cracked his neck, then high-strutted his non-virgin ass through the front door. I beg of someone to bust me coming back from playing hooky. Just let 'em ask me where I was and what, or rather who, I was doing. I'll be glad to oblige their interrogation. I'm a stud! A fucking stud! But the administration desk was busy filing, faxing and copying. The hall monitors were nowhere to be found. And, unfortunately, the bell was about to ring, ready to flood the halls with multitudes of anonymous, oblivious faces.

By the time he arrived at his locker, the bell had indeed rang. The first person to approach was Hope. She was calling his name, carrying with her the folded invitation.

"Why Ellis," she chimed, nearing to within inches of him, "the answer is yes. Of course! Of course I'll go out with you tonight!"

Ellis blinked twice. Fuck. Hope.

"Goodness. I almost forgot," he mentioned, more to himself than to her. He straightened his shirt, the same shirt that was only thirty minutes ago lying crumpled in a back seat. Suddenly he wasn't feeling so studly anymore.

"I honestly thought you'd never ask," she stated, "I was so sure I scared you off this morning with my little kiss on the cheek. I thought I crossed the line with you. I actually thought I was going to have to give in to that knucklehead Derrick. But now I have a valid excuse to tum him down!" Hope virtually leapt at him, hugging him.

"Oh, that's..." he choked, "fantastic.

"After that episode from this morning, I thought I did something wrong. I was worried I went too far. Oh, Ellis, I was so worried I might have ruined our friendship. And when you stood me up at lunch, well, I was pretty sure you didn't feel the same way I did."

"Oh, lunch," he stalled, "I, uh - "

Hope cut him short. "Oh, no need to explain. Someone said they saw you at the Nurse's office. That explains everything. I'm just glad she didn't send you home early. I wouldn't want you calling in sick for our first date." Hope smiled brightly. "I just hope you're feeling better."

Ellis scrunched his forehead. He felt like crying.

Hope tilted her head sideways, perplexed at his lack of emotion. "My, you don't look so hot. If you can't do this tonight, we can reschedule. I'll understand."

"No, no, it's not that. I do want to go out with you tonight. Boy, I do. But I'm not sure you'll still want to go out with me?"

Knowing it wouldn't be long before Shelly spread the word that he and her had just fucked, Ellis was already stinging from the loss of Hope not only as a girlfriend, but as a friend.

Hope wrinkled her nose. "What do you mean? Of course I do. A little cold never hurt anyone," she ribbed, assuming it was a simple bug that was affecting his behavior. "I'll take extra cough medicine with me."

For the first time since Hope stood before him, Ellis took his gaze away from the ground. His eyes met Hope's. They were beautiful - a stunning greenish gray, nearly the same color of the sky after a brief afternoon sun shower. In her eyes, he felt kindness, like his misdeeds were forgiven. "Hope," he swooned, stricken by her magnificence, "not even wild horses could keep me from the chance to get lost in those amazing eyes across a candlelit table."

For a change, Hope was speechless. She again hugged him. "That is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me," she said, muffled into his chest.


"Please, oh please come back," whimpered Whitey, grasping fruitlessly into the air. Realizing he may have ran off his only help, he clasped his still outstretched hands together and pressed them firmly together. "Fuck!" he howled, the pressure applied between his palms so intense that his arms and shoulders began to shake. Each successive heartbeat pulsed with a deeper and more ominous premonition of doom than the one before. Horrific, guttural breathing crept from the blackness of his throat. Then, just as he was about to let loose a primordial scream of sheer abandonment, a pair of velvety warm hands enclosed his own.

"I'm here," whispered the unseen visitor, like she had been waiting for the proper level of apprehension before intervening. Like she had been hovering above him the entire episode, watching his terror unfold.

A tear rolled down Whitey's cheek and a chill coursed through his body. Every pale hair on his pink pelt stood on end. "I'm so scared," he whimpered.

"Don't be, no one can hurt you now."

Whitey began to sob uncontrollably, but despite the river running down his cheeks, he felt neither vulnerable nor ashamed. Quite the contrary, there was something about the woman whose hand he clutched that comforted him immensely. She emanated purity. Beauty. Her femininity was so foreign to him- so virtuous; so chaste; so motherly …

But no - never. She couldn't be?

Could she???

His mother ditched him at the hospital just minutes after giving birth. His mother fled without a trace. There was no hello nor goodbye. And there sure as shit ain't no scrapbook of newspaper clippings, report cards and furtive pictures on a coffee table somewhere.


Right? Right?

"Mom?" he blubbered.


Over the course of several hours and several beers, Gene and Eve covered topics from favorite colors to their taste in movies. The conversation never lagged, not even for a second. When Eve's friend began dropping hints that she was ready to go, Eve politely asked for the bill and insisted on paying. While her credit card was being run, she asked if Gene would like to accompany her friend to the car and borrow some clothing from her trunk. He agreed and followed her outside. When they arrived at the rusted Plymouth, Eve's friend removed an undersized T-shirt and a pair of blue jeans from a neatly folded stack.

Crazy women, he thought, they can never have enough clothes.

Before handing them over, however, the friend warned, "don't you dare hurt Eve. It's been a long time since I've seen her this comfortable. She's very emotionally fragile.

"I completely understand," he promised, "it's been a long time for me, too." He then lowered his voice to tell her, ''this may be hard to believe because we just met, but I think I'm already falling for her. She's a glorious person. Not like all the other females I encounter."

Eve's friend looked him up and down, deciphering the level of sincerity. After a brief stare down, eyeing him curiously as he pulled the borrowed jeans over his loincloth, she finally relinquished her skepticism and together they reentered the bar. Gene took a seat next to Eve, who immediately leaned in close to his ear and whispered, "I had a great time and I would absolutely love hearing from you again." She slipped him a bar napkin with her handwritten digits printed neatly on it.

"There is nothing I'd love more than to see you again." Hell, he would have signed over his firstborn son, if she so requested.

They hugged, wavered face-to-face momentarily, appearing as though a kiss was forthcoming, but neither made the first move.

She then left, leaving him with a lingering touch of her hand.

After watching her walk away, he disappeared into the bathroom. ·He entered the far stall and squatted atop the seat, inhaling the napkin. It smelled like cigarettes and perfume - or the most incredible morning/afternoon ever! For the first time in his life, there was nothing to be bitter about. His urge to crack skulls and smash gray matter was suppressed. His need to avenge those who ogled at his general vicinity was squashed. Even his craving to download porn was surprisingly absent. The only thing that would have made it better is if he would have sealed it with a kiss. As he pondered what her lips would have felt like on his, he heard the faint sound of music. Gene stood from the toilet and peered over the stall in search of the source of the tunes.

A homeless man entered the bathroom and neared the sink. On the metal shelf below the spider-veined mirror he set an old radio that emitted mostly static. But as he turned the warm water knob of the faucet, the static-coating refined into the beginning notes of a pop song.

Gene frantically pulled his pants up and rushed from the stall while grilling the homeless man about the name of the song. The gentleman, wobbly from years of alcohol abuse, was unable to avoid the femininely dressed, big-headed ape surging toward him.

"Is… is that Prince?" shrieked Gene, despite the mere inches between them. "It is, dude, it is Prince! Turn it up!!"

Cautious, the vagrant obliged while at the same time keeping Gene at bay with a stiff arm to the chest and the warning to "stand back." A stank cloud of whiskey drifted from his toothless orifice.

Ignoring his plea, Gene bounced, flittered, twirled and pirouetted around the man, all the while singing at the top of his lungs - “U don't have 2 be rich 2 be my girl/U don't have 2 be cool 2 rule my world/Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with!!just want your extra time and your . .... kiss”

"Kiss," hollered Gene over the music, "how could I not have?"

The homeless man shrugged, bewildered, unsure how to defuse the hyped-up stranger.

Gene then blurted, "I gotta kiss her! I'm gonna kiss her! Wish me luck, old man!" and took off out the door and into the street.


"Ellis," shouted his mother over the din of her vacuum cleaner, spotting her son entering the front door, "take off your shoes before coming in."

"Mom," he said, ignoring her plea, "can I have the car tonight?"

His mom unplugged the vacuum. "Did you not hear what I asked, Ellis? Please take off your shoes. I just cleaned."

Accompanied by a teen angst grumble, he kicked off his shoes. "Can I borrow the car tonight?"

"The car? You know you don't have a license yet." His mom eyed him curiously.

He shifted his weight from his left to his right, then back to his left. "What time does the license place close? Can we go now?"

"You're not sixteen until tomorrow. Why the sudden need for the car?"

"I have," he stalled, "a meeting tonight."

"A meeting? Your father or I can take you. Is it for school?"

Ellis blushed. "Mom," he pleaded, insinuating he was too embarrassed to discuss the details.

She squinted at him queerly, "this meeting of yours - it wouldn't happen to include a female, would it?"

He already had a response cued up. "But you said I could start dating when I’m 16," he whined, "you and dad promised, remember? And I will be in less than 12 hours. Please, please, please."

"Oh, Ellis," said his mom, pulling him toward her and hugging him. She embraced him with the knowledge that this could be the last time she held her little boy - for the next time he'll be a young man. And she knew it wouldn't be long before he's ashamed to be seen in public with his 'square parents’; before the family game nights are replaced by date nights; before his comic book collection is pawned off for gas money. "Can it be that my baby boy is sixteen already?" She squeezed him tighter.

"So does that mean I can have the car?"

"No, Ellis," she pouted, lifting his head under his chin so that their eyes met, "but you can tell me about your friend, honey?"

"Her name is Hope," he muttered, twisting his head sideways, unwilling to lock eyes with his mother.

"Is she a nice girl, Ellis? She's not one of those floozies running around with their waists showing, is she?"

"No, mother. Of course not."

"Well, if she's good enough for my baby, she's good enough for me." She again hugged him close. Then, as if something suddenly occurred to her, she spouted, "oh, Ellis." She thrust him back shoulder length, squinting deeply into his eyes while asking, "do you want your father to have a... to have... the..." she cleared her throat, "talk with you?"

Ellis turned bright red. "No, mom," he grumbled, "we learn all that stuff in school."

"In school? I hope you mean io the classroom and not in the locker room, Ellis."

Ellis instantly diverted his eyes from his mom. "Uh huh."


"No, Cotton, I am truly sorry but I am not your mother."

"You're not my mom?" Whitey was both relieved and saddened at the same time. "Then who the hell are you?"

"Let me begin by telling you that the young woman you entertained at your property this morning, she has regrettably passed."

Whitey's jaw dropped io stunned silence.

"There were complications due to allergies. It seems that the wine you served combined with your bodily fluids resulted in her untimely demise. It is unfortunate, however, it is not the result of your negligence. That is the reason for my presence."

"Fuck, man," he grumbled, fearing a financially sapping legal struggle. "What are you then? A lawyer or something?”

"I am a representative of a higher power dispatched to rectify the events of the preceding afternoon. Your ultimate fate depends upon your actions over the course of the following two hours."

"You mean you are a hitma... hit woman?"

“Cotton, He understands that your vocation of choice was the result of instances out of your control and is not therefore in itself a blackball against entry, however, teamed with the death of the innocent, He now requires additional contribution."

"Look, lady, I am both appalled and remorseful, if indeed you are not yanking my chain about the shocking casualty to my employee, so please don't take this the wrong way when I say: What the fuck are you talking about, you crazy bitch??? Who the hell is this 'he' you're babbling about and why am I being blackballed? Am I being hazed by some faggot fraternity?"

"Cotton - "

"And for Christ's sake, please stop calling me Cotton. No one calls me Cotton!"

"What do you prefer?"

"Whitey. My Goddarnn name is Whitey."

"Whitey, He is in need of further evidence that you belong."

"Belong? There it is again? I don't want to be in your shitty club."

"You do understand that the next two hours will determine your fate."

"My fate? Are you insinuating that I am dead, my dear? Because that is absurd. Let me guess, if I don't perform a good deed, I won't get into heaven? Oh, boy. That is rich! This is the worst, most cliche rouge I have ever been a part of. Whoever you are, you are in need of some better writers! Now leave me alone, you hack!"

"I will depart, but please be aware - "

"-and," he shouted excitedly, interrupting her, "if I'm in this state of limbo, as you're so astutely trying to sell me on, why the hell is my head still bleeding and my vision so fucked? I was under the impression souls had no outer shell."

"The state of limbo, as you so entitle it, is defined as the condition of prolonged uncertainty, in this case - two hours, where bodies, not souls, are excluded from heaven but not yet condemned to exile. You are currently in an undead state visible to other earthly beings.

Whitey propped himself up on his elbows. "Are you alive?"

"Whitey," she started, "you will encounter a situation requiring disciplined will and good graces. Prove your worth by shunning your desire and you shall not spend eternity io damnation."


Gene sprinted in the direction of Eve's car, all the while pledging to himself and whoever else was listening that if she hadn't left yet, he'd tear up his shit list and ignite the pages into a fiery crisp. All would be forgiven, all would be forgotten. Up in a cloud of smoke would billow years of unfulfilled anger and frustration in exchange for an opportunity to kiss Eve. As he rounded the corner, he spotted her.

She hasn't left!

She was unlocking the driver side door. "Eve," shouted Gene, running with all his might and shouting,"I forgot! I forgot to, Eve!"

Hearing her name, Eve looked up.

"I forgot," he huffed, out of breath, just a few yards away from her, "I can believe I forgot.”

"What..." she inquired expectantly, a look of astonishment and curiosity occupying her slender features.

"I forgot to kiss you!" Gene embraced her and planted his lips on hers. She responded, wrapping her arms around him. They fell backwards onto the car and slid onto the ground, all the while kissing. "Oh, Eve," he exclaimed, pulling away momentarily, "I am so sorry. I shouldn't have let you leave without kissing you." Eve silenced him with a momentous kiss.


Thanks to insistent pestering, Ellis convinced his parents to allow his date a day before his sixteenth birthday, however, they did not oblige to the car. "Ellis, as an example of our good faith we are going to allow your date," admitted his father, "but only because we trust you. That doesn't mean you're without restrictions, son, heed me when I tell you this - no funny business." His dad emphasized his point with the universal hand gesture for 'beware.'

"You're nearly an adult, so show some maturity and behave yourself. And on that same note, remember you won't be sixteen until tomorrow, so screw up and you won't see another date until your 18th birthday." He gave forth his best stern fatherly look. "On a lighter note, as a pre-birthday gift, your mother and I are going to give you trolley money for the ride, but we want you home at 10:00 sharp," he warned, "you understand?"

"And be a gentleman, Ellis," his mother added, "girls like to be treated with respect."

Ellis rolled his eyes.

"And don't go breaking her heart too soon, son," commented his dad, chucking him under the chin. "I don't want anybody getting hurt." He ended the conversation with a wink.


"Who am I, fucking batman?" posed Whitey. "What's with all the damn riddles?"

Just then a powerful gust of wind carrying the force of a speeding Mack truck blew, chilling him to the bone. "This is crazy, you can't leave me like this? I need more information than 'shun my desire.' I don't even lnow what that means?" Whitey continued ranting to deaf ears. "Fuck! I can't even see - how the hell..."

Then, just as he was about to launch a full-fledged unrelenting gripe attack, his vision returned.

He was on a rooftop. The odor was gone. There was a slight breeze, but the temperature was otherwise pleasant. Whitey looked at his hands, front and back, and wiggled his fingers. He wasn't invisible. He felt his head. Bruised and dented, but not missing. His back was killing him, but other than that he seemed to be fully intact.

"Where the fuck am I?" he questioned aloud. Whitey scooted cautiously to the edge of the roof and peered downward. Directly below were two levels of iron balconies, the uppermost adorned with green, purple and gold beads as well as several potted plants. There was also a black man leaning back on a wicker chair, smoking a cigarette. A golden chain hanging around his neck gleamed under the moonlight.

"Dude," shouted Whitey, unsure what exactly he should be on the look out for other than the generic curbing of his desires, asked, "you okay? Anything I can do for you?" Whitey semi-waved.

The guy, alarmed, nearly fell from his chair. He hastily snubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray at his feet while demanding, "who the fuck are you, honky?" Warily, without letting the stranger out of sight, he reached with one hand for a bamboo pole that helped sturdy a plant's upward growth and with the other he picked up a cellphone lying by his side. While brandishing the stick, waving it fiendishly, he pressed some numbers on the phone with his thumb. Keeping his eye on the intruder the entire time, he brought the phone up to his ear. "This the po-lice? Yeah, there be a super-white white boy on my roof."

Upon hearing that, Whitey dashed across the rooftop and bound into a leafy tree, but was unable to catch the thick trunk. He crashed violently to the ground, but not before several unyielding branches abused his already aching body. As best he could, he hobbled off into the darkness. His concern of avoiding a whack, or repeated whacks, in the temple by an enormous bamboo twig overshadowed the jarring pain in his ankles.

Having put considerable distance between himself and the neighborhood he just abandoned, he stopped to analyze the situation. "This is crazy. I don't even know what I should be looking for?" he complained. He kicked at a loose stone from the sidewalk and watched it as it jumped, flipped and skittered across the street. It came to halt just before reaching a virile lass in tight jeans and halter top.

"What the fuck?? That could have hit me, asshole," bitched the girl, throwing her hands outward like it actually had hit her. Her braless breasts shimmied in response.

The girl instantly garnered Whitey's full attention. His memory flushed like used toilet water upon sighting her perfect body. "I'm truly sorry, my lovely. How can I make it up to you?"


Gene and Eve continued their passionate make-out session as passing cars honked and a few random bystanders stared. Their lips rarely parted, even as Eve groped around for the door handle. She managed to open the backdoor and pull herself in as Gene followed, crawling in on top of her. While vertical on the backseat, Eve implored her friend in a single exhale to "give-us-a-moment."

Gene tugged madly at the shoulder strap of her evening gown, sliding the strap over her shoulder and down her arm. It hung loosely along side her streamlined bicep. Her breast exposed, he cupped it in his hand and marveled at its firmness. It showed no sign of wear like on the porn stars of his downloads. It was as nubile as that on a sixteen year old. He moved his focus down to the hem of her dress and began to roll it up when Eve whispered, "wait, wait, wait," and pushed his hand away. She rolled the hem back into place, stating, "maybe we're taking this a little fast. We just met a few hours ago.

Between pecks to the face and neck, he replied, "I feel like I've known you my whole life. Like twenty-five years of searching have finally come to an end. My entire existence has been building up to this moment."

"Gene," she sighed, meeting his kisses by leaning into him, "there's so much about me you don't know. My past..." she panted, "I may not be who you think I am."

Gene finally stopped kissing her and looked directly into her eyes. "There is nothing you could say or do at this moment that will persuade me not to make love to you. Your words can not deter me. You may be unsure of us right now, but please be sure of this: I've never felt this way about anyone before." He swallowed before telling her, "I think I love you."

Eve took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "Gene, I don't think you understand. I'm afraid what I have to tell you isn't any ordinary drop in the bucket." She crawled out from beneath him and propped herself against the armrest on the far door. "I want you to know I truly think you are one of the most courageous people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, albeit for only a short while. In the few hours we have known each other, I have grown so close to you. You make me feel so incredibly comfortable. Gene," she said, placing her hands on his furry cheeks, "it's been a long while since anyone has made me laugh like you have. That's why this is so hard, what I'm about to say..."

"Oh my god, Eve." He lifted his face from her hands. Love has eluded him once again. His heart was already turning greyer, colder. "What... is it?"

"Gene, I take . .."

"Yes?" The question was fueled with a brewing fury.

"My body..."

"Yes? Yes?" The words spewed from his mouth and hung like icicles above her.

"It's just that. . ." she tried to explain, cringing, "I'm in transition."

Gene raised a single eyebrow, pausing briefly before demanding - "and that means???"

"I take hormone pills. Gene, I'm a transvestite.”


"Your friendship means so much to me, Ellis," said Hope, neatly placing a white linen napkin on her lap, "but I can't tell you how ecstatic I am that you took the chance to ask me out on a date. I always knew we should be more than just friends." She reached her tiny hand midway across the table.

Ellis, needing no further instruction, met her hand with his. Her hand was warm.


Nothing could make this night any better.

Everything was falling into place just the way he pictured it, only better.

"Hope," he began, riding a high never having felt before, "I've wanted to ask you on a date since the 7th grade. Remember Mrs. Johnson? English class?"

Hope nodded, smiled.

"That was the first time that I realized you were special. I remember how the wash tags on your sweaters never tucked inside the neckline properly, and during class I'd sit there and read the 'hand wash only' and 'do not bleach' instructions. The thought of you sorting your laundry into piles according to the tags I found so cute. I wanted so badly to be right there with you, separating the darks from the whites."

Hope laughed. Her cheeks radiated a rosy hue. Her eyes, her beautiful eyes, shone a tiny, brilliant sparkle as the candle flickered and danced before her. Her hair was fashioned elegantly, accentuating her willowy neck. Despite the tacky fashion faux pas, she even wore the yellow marigold Ellis presented to her before their date began, tucked neatly behind her ear.

The subtle sounds of sterling silver greeting fine porcelain and the dozens of faint conversations together composed a grand aura of romantic serenity. Water goblets glistened like miniature moonlit lakes. The aroma of pesto and sun-dried tomatoes tickled their noses.

Everything was heavenly.

That is, until Shelly appeared.

She was followed by a severely bruised, extremely pale man who was checking out her ass as he trailed her, clearly trying to get her attention. They stopped, neatly framed in the restaurant window, and engaged in conversation.

"Damn," blurted Ellis, ducking down in his chair, crudely yanking his hand from Hope’s.

"What?" inquired Hope, taken aback, "is something the matter?" She turned to see what was causing her date so much strife.

"Nothing, nothing at all," he replied, placing the menu in front of his face, "where's that damn waiter?"

"Is that Shelly Eagan out there?" she asked, turning back to face Ellis. "Are you hiding from her?"

"No, not at all. Why would you say that?" The menu was still blocking his view of both Shelly and Hope.

Hope's face clouded over. A small tear formed at the comer of her eye and rolled down her cheek.

She placed her hand atop his menu and pulled it toward the table.

"Are the rumors true then, Ellis? From today?"

"The rumors?" His heart dropped. "What rumors," he asked, but the question was rhetorical. He knew damn well what she was referring to.

“About you and that, that… her,” she snapped, pointing stiffly toward the window. “That you two… you wouldn't..." she stammered, unable to express proper terminology, "did you?"

Ellis stared at her, but could not think of a suitable way to defend himself. That mattered now, however, because Hope knew by his actions - he was guilty. And nothing he said could make her find him less disgusting.

She stared blankly at him, through him, as another tear rolled down her cheek. "Oh, Ellis," she wept, removing her napkin from her lap, "I thought you were a good person?"

"I am a good person," he retorted, "it's not like we were going out?"

"That's inconsequential. Good people just don't do that. I thought I knew you, Ellis. But the Ellis I know wouldn't stoop so low. Or so filthy."

"I can make it better," he pleaded, "there's gotta be something I can do?"

"How, Ellis?" cried Hope, covering her trembling lips with a shaking hand, "how can you take it back? It's already too late." She stood from the table.

Ellis reached out for her. "Please don't leave. Please don't leave me."

"I'm sorry, Ellis. I can't. Not anymore."

She fled, covering her face with the white linen napkin, hiding the tears.


"So, Shelly, is it?" inquired Whitey, not noticing a crying girl as she burst through a restaurant door and dashed by, his chunky body unintentionally blocking Shelly's view of the episode. The sobbing girl stopped only a few feet away, covered her face with both hands and wept into a woven tissue she was holding.

"Have I mentioned I only have two hours left on this earth," he said casually, cornering Shelly as he propped himself against the telephone pole with his arm, raising his voice slightly to drown out the sobbing that he now noticed, and wanted it to go away. "How'd you like to spend one of 'em with me?"

Shelly nodded in response to his statement but her true focus was instead on the business card he supplied to her. "What models have you represented?" she asked, visions of magazine covers and runway shows dancing in her head.

"You name it - Turlington, Romain-Stamos, Seymour, all the A+ material." He turned halfway to let loose a presumptuous 'a-hem,' hinting that the weeping stranger should hush.

Shelly, also ignoring the sullen girl behind Whitey, adjusted her cleavage. "I've always prided myself on my looks. People really respond to me. I'm really popular at school, if it matters."

"I bet you are. Have you ever considered modeling?"

"Oh, of course. People tell me all the time how photogenic I am." She thrust her chest forward, her nipples clearly aroused.

"I see, I see," gulped Whitey, "but I must warn you, not everyone is suited to model. It's a long, arduous journey. My clientele, however, have been known to shorten that road. Linda Evangelista, as a matter of fact, whom I discovered not far from this very comer," he mentioned, pointing to the sidewalk below, "she took the chance of doing a few risque website test shots back at my place, and look where that got her."

"I'd be willing," she said without hesitation, licking her lips.

"Good, glad to hear that. Very glad," he mentioned, ogling her succulent cleavage. "Shall we head to my studio?" he asked, extending a chivalrous arm. "We haven't much time."

"I'd be delighted." She grinned and wrapped her arm around his elbow.

"Do you have any aversions to a cab? My Porsche is in the shop. Bad auto-accident," he mentioned, gesturing to his face, lowering his sunglasses and lifting his hat to reveal a heavily bruised calamity.

"I was wondering about that.”


"No, no, no," muttered Gene, horrified, lifting himself off Eve. His face glazed over. He's browsed through the transvestite porn sites in fits of inebriated curiosity. And for the most part, never liked what he saw. "This can't be. You," he stuttered, "you... have a penis?"

Eve restored her dress strap atop her shoulder and sat up fully, the back of her head resting against the window. Before answering, she considered her words carefully. "Gene, I am saving up for surgery. As of right now, the hormone pills - "

It wasn't the answer he wanted to hear. A definitive no was the response he was seeking. "Why me?" he said, cutting her short. "What have I done to deserve this?" He turned his focus to his hands, kneading his fingers.

"Gene, my current gender is not who I am. Growing up it was not easy for me to understand, I don't expect you to. It drove a wedge between myself and everyone I know. Or, rather, knew. Even my parents. My dad couldn't understand why, when all the neighborhood boys were out playing football, I'd be home making dresses out of our curtains. I'm so sorry, I just didn't know how, or when, to tell you? I didn't think we'd hit it off like we did." She reached up to run her fingers through his hair, but halted, thinking otherwise. "I was born in the wrong body and always thought there was nothing I could do about it. But there is, Gene, there is hope for me. The pills I'm taking are allowing me to become who've I've always considered myself to be. And, very soon, a simple surgery will complete the process.”

Gene continued wringing his fingers, pumping them into fists, calling on every ounce of self-control to refrain from breaking from the car and setting the entire city of New Orleans ablaze in his fiery quake. "My whole life -" he began through gritted teeth, but stopped midway, unable to express his feelings.

"What," she asked gently, again reaching for his shoulder.

"Don't touch me," he warned, pushing her hand away. "Get behind the wheel and drive."


He screamed - "drive, I said!"

Eve nodded silently, scared. She slowly stepped from the vehicle and slid into the front seat. "Where are we going," she asked, turning the ignition key. The engine sputtered and wheezed, but eventually fired up.

"Just drive. I don't care. As long as it's away from here," he commanded.

Eve pulled from the parking spot and drove.


Ellis, now alone, cowered in his chair. He was shivering. The diners around him stared in his direction, talking under their breath about him. He felt like a caged zoo animal. No matter how low he sunk in his seat, there was no hiding from the prying eyes or accusing words.

A tear welled up in his eye and rolled down his cheek. Then the other eye also welled up and a droplet lightly descended the length of his face. Soon after, another tear formed. And another. Before long, a solid stream was flowing.

Like a river…

A river of deceit.

Deep enough to drown him.

All the while, the conversations about him seemed to grow louder. Ellis covered his ears but he couldn’t shut out the voices. The chastising. The gossip.


As Whitey approached the curb to hail a taxicab with Shelly tucked cozily beneath his outstretched arm, he inadvertently nudged the grieving girl, dislodging her soiled linen. It fell to the ground and blew into the street where several cars ground it into the pavement. "Sorry, lady," he recited passively, looking down his bruised nose at her They locked eyes momentarily, hers dripping dark black mascara, beseeching a kind shoulder to lean on. Her nose was a fulgent shade of rose, radiating much brighter than the rest of her face. Her lips were trembling. Even her hair was mussed, having yanked Ellis' marigold from it. And despite her obvious despair, Whitey felt neither benevolent compassion nor charitable empathy for the atrocious girl. His pity falls only on those financially desperate or those visually appealing - this girl appeared to be neither.

Besides, he's about to get laid. No time for handouts now.

He tamed to Shelly - "there are some people even I can't help. If God couldn't smile on them, why should I?"

Shelly rotated her view to ogle the subject of his speech - "oh my God, I think I know her. Hope?" questioned Shelly, somewhat surprised, “is that you girlfriend?”

Hope turned away, answering her not.

Shelly snickered. "What a small world. You look," she paused, sneering, "smashing. Really. Anyway," she continued, unconcemed by Hope's gloom, "there's someone I'd like you to meet." She glanced at the business card in her hand, "Whitey. He's a model scout." She flashed an in-your-face smile.

Hope made no reciprocal greeting.

“Too bad for you, the goth look went out about eight years ago," declared Shelly, "otherwise I could have had Mr. Whitey hook you up, you know, get you a modeling gig." She turned to Whitey. "Is Sears looking for a plain Jane to model their overalls?"

"Sorry, honey, I think you’re out of luck. Sorry," he chuckled, running his hand along the length of Shelly's hip. There was only one thing on his mind and small talk was not part of it. "Let's catch that cab," he whispered to her.

Shelly returned her attention to Hope. "Sorry, babe, as always I'm the one they want. I'm the one that shines when the spotlight hits the stage."

Hope squinted her eyes, piercing Shelly to her cold, shriveled heart. "Why are you always such a bitch?"

"Whatever, at least this bitch gets what she wants. And this bitch also gets what you want. Or shall I say, who you want."

Shelly smiled a smile as wicked as the Devil himself. “I’ll always be number one, babe,” she said, holding up her index finger stiff and proud.

Hope's throat contracted impulsively. But just as she was about to latch onto Shelly's finger and snap it like a twig, a refreshing wave of awareness pulsed through her body, squelching her fury. Observing Shelly and Whitey, tangled together, his arm caressing her ass, not trying to hide it, her not attempting to stop it, made her almost want to laugh. Suddenly everything became crystal clear.

"You know, Shelly, I want to hit you," she stated, swatting her hand from her chest, "really bad, I do. But I won't. In fact, I'm not even going to raise my voice. I'm not going to get mad. I'm not going to care. Would you like to know why, Shelly?"

Shelly couldn't resist. "Why?" she asked smugly as Whitey again attempted to flag down a cab.

"Because anything I say or do to you right now won't come close to the damage this hideous pervert will inflict on your ego. Go back to his place, let him take pictures of you. But I can assure you, your snapshots won't end up on the cover of Cosmo. Or Elle. Or even Redbook. You'll be just another dumb bitch who got duped into blowing some loser who conned you into thinking he was a model scout. You're a piece of ass to him. That’s all. Tomorrow he’ll find a replacement just as naive and slutty as you. Another tramp to stick his dick in, then laugh about it over beers with his friends, if indeed he has friends. And the the only place your modeling will get you is onto the desktops of thousands of ugly guys - countless creepy men jerking off to images of you giving head to get ahead. Actually, Shelly…” Hope paused, reconsidering her thoughts, "I take that back- because now that I think about it, your agent may indeed give you what you've always wanted but could never quite physically figure out - the ability to satisfy thousands of men at the same time."


Gene stared out the window silently, watching the streets zip past, tugging on his extra pinky. Eve was maneuvering through the blocks with no particular direction in mind, merely putting distance between them and the memory of her revelation.

All four windows were down. The breeze felt good against Gene's skin. During one particularly curt turn, the rear tire bumped a comer, throwing Gene off balance. In his efforts to steady himself, he caught a glimpse of Eve's profile. It was so delicate. So gentle. So feminine. Maybe she was born in the wrong body?

Gene swallowed the accumulated moisture in his throat as Eve came to a stop at a red light. A small group of people was gathered, engaged in intense conversation.


As Eve waited for the light to tum, a young man approached the group, hesitantly at first. His shirt was disheveled and his nose runny. "Hope," Gene overheard the boy say, "I know I've made a mistake. A horrible mistake," he admitted, glaring at the other female, who in tum rolled her eyes and snapped her gum, "but I won't allow one bump in the road to destroy our friendship. You mean too much to me to just let you walk away without a fight. What do I have to do to earn your forgiveness?" He got down one knee, undistracted by the heckling from the gum-chewer. "That's all I want. Your forgiveness and your friendship."

“Ellis," replied the girl, wiping a dried flake of mascara from her cheek, "everything has changed. Someday, maybe, I can forgive you. But it's all happened so fast. You've gone from someone I respect and trust to just another guy."

Gene's ears immediately perked up. That voice? Where does he know that voice?

"If that's the way you feel," the boy replied, wiping his nose with the palm of his hand, "I'll have to accept it. But I'm not going to give up on our friendship. Hope - "

"Hope?" repeated Gene, recognition setting in, "the pizza girl?" He couldn't believe it. Dealing with the confusing emotions surrounding Eve may be beyond his realm of experience, but revenge he dictates like a skilled puppeteer. He rushed from the car and thundered toward her. "You owe me a pizza, lady," he charged, interrupting her and the boy's dialogue.

"Gene?'' Eve called out from inside the car, "where are you going?" Eve quickly lodged her car into a tiny open parking space.

Hope looked up at her accuser, intimidated by his monstrous appearance. "Excuse me," she questioned, taking a step back. "I think you have mistaken me."

Ellis arose from his kneeled position.

Whitey, too, looked queerly at the stranger insisting on pizza. Then at the tall woman in the red evening gown pursuing. His face grew long and his eyebrows boosted upward, his not-too-shabby expression. He snared the girl by the wrist as she passed by. "What's the rush, dear?" He removed his arm from his companion.

The attention no longer on herself, Shelly's eyes suddenly filled with fury. "Excuse me," she grunted, wedging herself between the two.

Meanwhile, Gene began grilling Hope - "you work at the new pizza joint in the Garden District?"

"Yes," she said hesitantly.

"Well, you hung up on me last night."

"I what?"

"Hung up on me," he repeated. "I went hungry because of you."

"Oh," she said, faintly recalling the evening. "I remember you," she lulled, "you were the guy who tried to persuade our underage driver to buy you a six-pack with his own money."

Gene, upon hearing her point-of-view, tugged uneasily at his shirt collar. Maybe it was a bit presumptuous of him. He was momentarily dumbfounded. Once again, she bettered him with a glib dosage of common sense.

Noting the break, Ellis again resorted to begging. "Hope, we can start over. From the very beginning, long before my lapse in discretion. I know I can win back your trust. I just know we can be friends again."

In Ellis' mind, it was just he and Hope. There was no one else on that comer. Every ounce of energy was poured into obtaining forgiveness. Every strata of attention was focused on Hope's amnesty. The very particles in his being were dedicated to winning back his best friend.

Normally, this is the point where Gene would seek justice by researching their home addresses so he could piss on their kitchen windows and shit on their lawns during their family dinners, but instead, for the first time in his life, Gene saw a situation from a viewpoint other than his own. It's not just him with issues - everyone has problems. Everyone gets screwed over. Everyone must face a wall to climb. A decision to make. The world isn't against him alone - it's against everyone. Survival is a bitch no matter who you are.

Life has no favorites.

And suddenly, without prior approval by Hope or Ellis, Gene enveloped them both, seizing them in his furry embrace. He whispered into Hope's ear - "the kid is sincere. You can trust him. Life is too short to hold a grudge."

Then, spying over their heads, he saw Eve struggling to remove her wrist from a strange man and another girl forcing herself between them, grunting and fussing.

Gene released the young couple and marched toward Eve. "Unhand that..." he paused, unsure as to what gender to refer to Eve, "- that person," he demanded.

Whitey ignored the request. "If you can't tell, I am in the middle of some business, sir," he recited, never looking Gene's way.

The other girl looked his way, however, and furled an eyebrow - "ewe."

Gene disregarded her criticism. His beef was with the Whitey. "I suggest you let go," he cautioned, clenching his fist into a ball.

"Mind your own business," warned Whitey, still focused on Eve. "Now where was I? Oh yeah, I pay handsomely - "

"Darn you! I said unhand that, that... beautiful woman!" blustered Gene, swinging with all his might.

As the fist drifted gracefully through the air, many things raced through Whitey's mind. Oh my, not again. What is with these angry people? This sure ain't my day. This is gonna smart. But what didn't occur to him was that his two hours were up. The hour of reckoning had arrived. And in his haste to haggle his way into others' pants, he forgot the mission at hand - shunning his desire.

When Whitey opens his eyes next, he won't find a small, bloated slit to barely make out a hospital light or ambulance ceiling, rather he will be shrouded by iniquity black and that same fetid odor of piss, whiskey and pickled eggs.

In the end, however, Gene's effort to knock unconscious Eve's accoster, who mysteriously vanished into thin air, was not in total vain because as Eve tended caringly to his swollen knuckles, there, several yards away, was the scantily dressed female nestled face-down, ass up, in a bed of marigolds.