I think it was Pindarello who could tease a comedy out of a tragedy.
What follows is a lothario's attempt to show how good he was with women--and failing miserably, reaching almost Jerry Lewis proportions as in The Nutty Professor.
It's in Chapter Six of my novel, The Fire in Bradford.
Right from the beginning, there was something wrong with the entire night. She drove over in her pert, powder-blue mustang. She was wearing those quasi-army surplus designer tank dungarees, except in her case, they clung to her figure, which was like a harp in the first place. She had her hair neatly up in what were almost little corn rows, and I observed, over drinks at the Granada Restaurant, how beautiful she really was. The nice little character lines framing the widest,though right-to-miniature-scale mouth, the large eyes. "Are you ever pretty," I told her again and again. We kept ordering drinks, seemed to forget about everything altogether and got quite tipsy. Our bacchanalia was interrupted for only twenty short minutes when Deighton Ronning, an old friend, joined us, showed impeccable table manners, and then left.
Everything was in a beautiful haze. I was constructing huge, sprawling novels in the smoky air. Here I was the failure prof and politician with a beautiful woman right across the table from me, Deighton Ronning having muttered to himself , just before leaving, "What a good looking couple." I was in my glory. But what about Leif? What was hubby going to say when we got "home"?
Finally, we--or rather she--paid the cheque. I was flat broke from the politics and teaching expenses and squirmed not a little when she bantered a little with Greek Chris, the owner--the svelte movie star with the heartbreakingly tight tank pants and halter top paying for the bum's dinner and drinks. It was right there that the comedy of errors began.
The Mustang, which was parked just behind the library, would not start. I ground and cranked till the motor seemed driven to ground. Uhrrr.
What to do?
Passing us, turning a corner, was a red truck with the son of Deighton, our accidental dinner mate, driving.
He tried to fix the trouble, which seemed to lie in a deteriorated distributor cap. Cobbled it together.
Temporarily repaired, we drove west along Millard Avenue to stop where it became a hairpin, renaming itself Queen Street now. . More waving, the two socialites, our car hood up again.
Soon portly and suited Dave Mazdakowski showed up. It was a small town everybody knew everybody else, Dave Mazdakowski, who happened, just happened to be the local Mazda dealer. What else?
He observed Celia and me in trouble, pulled up the sleeves of his $300 suit, which was camel hair and almost valeur, a dark shade, and tried to fix the trouble. No luck, though some sort of recognition seemed to flash between Dave and Celia. "Try it now, Dan." Nothing. Not even a sound. Car won't go
Dave finally rolled down his sleeves, confided to me that his own mechanic lived just down the street, told me the house number and sped off in his new Mazda. Not for nothing did they call him Dave Mazdakowski.
This is taking forever to get going. Would I be able to get my own distributor cap going? I watched Celia pull out her handbag one more time, saw the little Italian mechanic fussing with the distributor and Presto. We were on our way.
Having parked the car, we entered the house from the rear and I thought that this was it, now I was going to get it. Was Leif right there with a shotgun?
Suddenly, in Celia's face, I saw an accopliece's face, a female Kavorkian, and the suicide would be mine. The Last Supper. And then Lief would probably hold court, tell me what is what and throw me out of the house, as I knew what I'd do had the circumstances been reversed. OK for me to "serve the drinks," to be in control, to dish it out, but sometimes you could well get dished.
But there was no Lief.
On the C-shaped chesterfield again, the two of us, sighing, content. She touched my arm and excused herself to go off and fiddle with something in the kitchen. Then, just as quickly, she was back. We had gotten quite used to being with each other, so gestures and nuances were quickly understood between us. Almost like being in love.
"Are you hungry? No? Well, let's just keep drinking." Tout.
Suddenly she was on me in a flash of inspired dry-humping that very quickly aroused desire. She just jumped on top of me and pumped and pumped. I had an erection that was surely the size of the CN Tower and it was driving me fairly nuts. Lover's nuts.
I turned to reverse positions, looking right at her maddened face. I cradled her lovely blonde head in my right arm and moved toward the tight zipper of her little dungarees. I passed the fiery angel at the gate, having discovered she had no underpants at all, and I was soon inside her pretty little vagina.
''Pretty smooth", she whispered to me, but her face showed some alarm. I stroked her as gently as I could. She had taken to being very still.
There is an audience here, somewhat ghostly, somewhat Jungian. A trickster god is asking me to enquire of her, 'Am I doing you any good? The answer came in some really nice little muscular action.
I had to get those damn jeans off her.
Nice work if you can get it.
Married a long time and later used to going with women my own age, I knew nothing at all about removing Sixties-style women's jeans. There must be several schools. One is to pull the open top down and have her wiggle out; the other was to have her sit before you, using your left hand to open the stud and then peeling down.
I did neither of these things, awkward son of a bitch, trying to pull the skin-tight jeans from the cuff ends, dragging the poor woman halfway across the chesterfield, no doubt giving her a hell of a rash.
When all else fails, the direct approach, crude, but, I hoped, effective. I zipped down my own fly, pulled out my penis, which, having no comparison, I fancied very large and erect. I put her delicate hand on it and she masturbated me, skillfully and effectively.
And then it all came apart. Dear God, how drunk were we? She stood up before me, me on my back on the chesterfield. I seemed to have her transfixed. She made to kneel over me like a beautiful Madonna, but I saw in my mind's eye some sort of real icon and I put both hands on her shoulders to stop her. I could not do it. She was just too beautiful, this blonde Madonna with the prettiest lips going down on me. Besides, I would have left a load on her clean chesterfield.
Missionary position or nothing.
I went again to remove here jeans, in the same awkward fashion only to have her zip them back up, to suddenly turn from me and go into her bedroom.
She came back still in her jeans with something for me to drink. I took it, absent-mindedly, tasted it and asked if I could have some more vodka in it. Distressed, frustrated, I tol her I had to have a good stiff shot to fight off cramps, lover's nuts, and all those things that come to plague teenagers and grown men.
Right after the drink, the room began to spin. I watched her disappear again is some sort of hazy Bermuda fog.
And the fog went right to my head and I was out like a light.
I came-to to find her in my arms, just as before. I was fondling her erect breasts, the nice little ones with the protruding nipples and she was staring into my eyes, point-blank, asking me if she reminded me of my wife. "Yes. Yes you do, Celia", I told her and then she used a face-to-face visual trick that my own wife had often used, the eye-to-eye forehead contact, peering into the other person's eyes to have them become huge cartoon eyes with their comical blink, sheer intimacy, head-to-head intimacy, like teenage love.
Something made me turn my eyes aside.
Then she was suddenly in my lap and I massaged her breasts some more. But whatever she had given me to drink, it was hitting me again. Suddenly, I was tired. Very, very tired. Dead tired. I wanted to go to sleep. She lifted me with her hand from the sofa, groggy in my stockinged feet. She measured herself against me.
"You know, you're not so tall." She eyed me critically as she stood against me.
"We little people have to try harder."
She kissed me. "I don't think I'll take any more courses from you."
My head is spinning. I know I can have here here right now--if I hadn't already had her in my blank spell, hypnotized, perhaps in ever being able to remember. I can have here right now, but I am oh, so tired, so tired.
I begged to go to sleep in the spare room. "Come with me. Lie down with me," I invited. "No", she said. "You know what will happen." So maybe she had some control after all.
She stood in the open doorway of her bedroom, a pale light streaming behind her, while I made for my own allotted room, Lief's rec room. I think at about five a. am. I went to the bathroom for a leak and she swas still standing there, like Socrates in a catatonic trance. Certainly like a beautiful sphinx on the head of a coin. Numious.
I woke up with a feeling my almost-dinner guest Deighton Ronning had, often described, he of the florid face and a heart that refused to pump erection-blood. . Seems like I had been to a whorehouse and had never even gotten laid. . I knew everything but what things cost, actually cost. I had not had the energy, the force of will, the nerve to actually get laid. Or did she not want to be laid? Or had we actually gone to bed and she had left me with some sort of strange iplant? I did feel as if she had taken something from me. I from her?
It was later in the morning now. She was wearing a paiseley dress. I sat on the shank end of the chesterfield and had the first morning's view of her, the almost Victorian paiseley dress, knees together in almost a virgin pose, or was it the look of a frustrated woman who had wanted to get laid, but the lothario had just been too dumb.
"I think we've been spending too much time together," she announced "Let's go back to the writing circle. Let's go out with other people."
I was crestfallen. Merde!
She gave me a flash of eyes. "I hope you don't think I'm a loose woman."
If I did, your box would be shaved, the trickster Newfoundlander in my head is hissing at me, down there, deep inside.
She drove me back to the bus terminal. In spite of the strange night, I felt as if I had been loved more thoroughly that I'd ever been loved before. Why was that?
I felt it all day, right down to the time I masturbated to her memory before going to sleep in my room in Toronto.
There appeared to be a small needle prick in the crook of my arm.
And the next day I woke up feeling like a fool. I had not connected, it seemed to me. I had failed.