The sweetest type of honey drips down that delicious golden brown.
The tip of my tongue licks the drop, tastes it.
I press my lips to it, spread it open, just a bit.
My eyes close, the smell, intoxicating.
I slide my tongue inside, licking and tasting every bit of honey inside.
A bit drips down my chin, and all I can do is look up and smile.
Here I am writing a blog post between sets on my phone. So what’s your excuse?
Whatever your excuse, I understand, truly, no judgement. For the last twenty years, I’ve had more excuses than actual time writing. I did manage to squeak out a couple of novels, some poetry and short stories, but the real key to writing is routine, at least for me.
I’ve probably gone a whole year at a time without “putting pen to paper.” If you can set aside time to write, even if it’s between sets while working out, five times a week, that accumulates. That’s a novel every year or two.
Careers in writing are built in years not months. Whatever your excuse to not write, find time. Find five minutes before bed. Take 15 minutes at lunch. Keep doing it frequently. If you really don’t have five to fifteen minutes a day to spare, reach out and get help. I mean that seriously, not to make fun at all. Everyone needs some free time. Find the time and write.
I sometimes need a little button.
A little button on the back of my head.
I would reach back there,
Fiddling around though my hair,
Screwing my fingers around.
I would press it once, nothing.
No stress, warm sand between my toes.
No routine, the taste of ocean salt on the thighs of my love.
No responsibility, the bright sun warming my nearly nude skin.
I would press it once, nothing.
I know who I am.
I sat there, alone in my board room, looking out into the grey city. It’s a city that I once loved, more than anyone or anything. I loved this grey cold beast. The more I schemed, lied, cheated, stole, the more I gave in to my darkest side, the more the beast gave back to me. You don’t change that beast. It keeps changing you.
Now, at 40 years old, I wish I had chosen some other way to spend my life. Could I have been a farmer, probably not, I hate any sort of manual labor. Maybe I could have run a charity, but I was way too selfish for that.
“You have a look of regret on your face.” I look over to see a tall medium brown haired man with a light skin tone but healthy looking complexion talking to me.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” I ask.
He laughs a little before he says: “don’t be sorry.”
This fucker is going to come into my fucking boardroom, laugh at me, and engage in mother fucking word play with me but not answer my question. I look at the ground, take a deep breath, reorient my eyes back towards the man and say: “what is it that I can do for you?”
“I’m here for you Tim, whatever you want. I ask for nothing in return.”
“I’m supposed to be impressed that you know my name? I’m the richest man in this city. Everyone knows my name. Here’s the thing, I don’t do business with people I don’t know and don’t trust, so why don’t you leave, now!”
“I’ll leave when I’m ready,” he says, somehow without any tone of arrogance.
I pick up the phone to call security; it’s dead. I try to open the boardroom door, locked.
“What do you want?” I ask.
“What do you want?” He parrots back.
“Ten gorgeous clean hookers and an extra large pizza.”
I take a deep breath and close my eyes, out of frustration. As soon as my eyes are open again, there are ten beautiful young women, glammed up, wearing very tight business attire, and there is a God damned pizza in the middle of the table.
“What the hell?” I ask.
“I’m here for anything you want.”
“Pretty much. You can have anything that a human being has at some point in their life had, and if it’s something that can be kept, you can keep it.”
“This is where I’m supposed to ask for money?”
“If that’s what you want,” he replied.
“I don’t need any more money. Can you send me back in time?”
“No. Humans can’t time travel.”
I look at him curiously and ask: “how do you know?”
“There are magical hookers in the room. Trust me, I know.”
He grabs a slice of pizza, walks over to where three hookers are making out and begins to open his pants.
“I don’t want the hookers.” Just as I utter those words, they disappear, so I continue with: “and no pizza either,” and it too was gone.
He turns around with his erect penis exposed, attempting to tuck it back into his pants but not ashamed to show me while saying: “I thought you were going to be fun.”
“I don’t actually have sex with hookers.”
“How about revenge? We could get back at everyone who once wronged you.”
“Well…” I say while pondering it for a moment.
“I’ve been alive for longer than all of humanity; please take your time. I’m patient,” he says with an erection that is still somewhat visible through his zipped up pants.
“Do I have to make some sort of deal with you first? Do I have to give you my soul? I won’t do that.”
“You people and your contracts. There is no deal. There is no such thing as signing over your soul. I’m here for you. Whatever you want to do, we’ll do it. Then, I’ll leave. Simple, no contracts, understand?”
I worry that there is some sort of catch that I’m missing here, but if he is some mystical beast who can give me almost anything I desire, I would be a fool not to take him up on that.
“OK. Did you see my secretary on the way in?”
“Yes, she’s the nice lady who is hiding an obvious black eye by wearing too much makeup.”
“Yeah. Her boyfriend gave her that black eye. Can you take him out of the picture?”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that,” he said before walking out.
I guess that’s it. I guess I only get one thing, and I selflessly used it on someone else. I’m good with that. My life has been about making money, about taking what I want. Now, I did something for someone else.
I went home after that, poured myself a rather tall glass of port and binge watched Mad Men. After my day, I totally deserved it. I thought about calling up the neighbor lady to come over and have sex with me, but she’s married, and I’m trying to do the right thing now. Look at me, practically mother fucking Theresa. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start a charity.
Time to make a phone call.
“Hey. Is your mom home?” I ask.
“So, you’re alone?”
“You want me to come over?” I ask.
It’s the married ladies daughter. I know it’s wrong, but she turns 18 next month, and I deserve this.
It was a fun night last night, but I have to get back to business, back to the office.
I shout for my secretary, “Emily.”
The man with the magical powers comes in: “yes?”
“You again? I thought you were done. Where’s Emily?”
“Oh, she’s at home, mourning the loss and all.”
I look at him with screwed up eyes and say: “what loss?”
“I killed the boyfriend. You know they were in love, right?”
“I didn’t tell you to kill him. I told you get him out of the picture.”
“You can’t use word play with me. I’m powerful, damn you. I knew what your intentions were. I can read thoughts and emotions. You wanted him dead. He’s dead. Now, Emily is at home with her hands over her face, crying uncontrollably, while the police question her.”
“Why are the police questioning her?” I ask, angrily.
“You always suspect the girlfriend first.”
“This is not what I wanted. Fix it.” I said, in a very demanding voice.
“It’s what you asked for, and your actions have consequences. Like I said before, there is no contract. Life is a series of moments and choices, and when you make bad choices and bad things happen as a result, it’s on you. You are the sum of your choices.”
“So why are you here? You just want to gloat?” I ask.
“I met with a man this morning who found out about a week ago that his wife was cheating on him. He installed nanny cams in his house to catch her, to be sure. What he saw is one of his neighbors fornicating with his 17 year old daughter. When I told him he could have anything he wanted, he asked me to take that man out of the picture.”
After following my phone’s GPS like a subservient slave to my master of technology, Stain and I are taken to the apartment building directly across from the bank that Lily got shot in.
Stain looks angry, fiercely angry. I’ve seen him sad, frustrated, happy, and just about any other range of emotion a man is capable of, but I’ve never seen him truly angry before, except when Lily was shot.
“Sappho, you had better not be messing with me,” Stain glares at me.
“This is the address BM sent me,” I say throwing up my hands as though it were a sign of innocence.
“If Big Money is messing with me, I’ll slit his throat from ear to ear with a fork. I don’t care how long it takes me. I’ll do it, and I’ll wash my face in his blood,” Stain says while his eyes widen and pupils dilate.
“BM doesn’t strike me as the ultimate prankster type. It’s probably safe to say that his actual friend lives here,” I raise my eyebrows.
I send a group text to Frank and Ben with the address and information, in hopes that they might be able to come to the party. BM will appreciate the extra guests, and Stain and I could use a couple of people with an outside perspective.
Stain looks like he’s having a small breakdown. All he can get out before we enter the apartment is: “I…I don’t want to.”
“What?” I ask.
“I just… I don’t want to.”
As a couple is coming out of the security door, I jolt ahead and open the door for Stain. “You don’t want to what?”
Stain walks in, almost out of habit, as though he didn’t want to be rude. I start walking towards the stairs because I hate elevators and like stairs. Stain stands still, frozen.
“Stain, let’s go.”
“I can’t. I can’t do it.”
“I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.”
“Stain. You don’t know that the shooter was in this building, and if the shooter was in this building, it was unlikely that the person was in this apartment.”
“I can’t,” Stain repeats.
Stain, if we go in there, we are one step closer to finding out who shot Lily. If we’re superheros, I mean true superheros, who deserves justice more than Lily?
“I…” Stain pauses.
“What do we fight for?” I ask.
Stain looks away from me, and with the determination of a herd of rhinos, heads straight for the elevator and presses the button. I saunter up behind him when the elevator door opens. Stain, me, and Joe, from Taking a Shirt, all get into the elevator.
“We fight for good,” Stain says, not even noticing that Joe has gotten on the elevator with us.
“Joe, hello,” I say, almost as though it’s a question.
“Sappho, Stain, hello mi amigos. You are visiting a friend here?”
Stain is standing in front of the buttons, waiting to press a number. I look at my earlier text message from BM and say: “number 10.”
Stain looks at Joe, waiting for him to call out a number, when Joe utters: “same.”
Before I had a chance to answer Joe, Stain shoots him a glance and asks: “so, you live here then?”
“I’m here for Jamie’s birthday party. Do you know Jamie?” Joe asks.
I half nod my head. “We’re here for that too.”
Joe exits the elevator, and Stain presses the close door button, keeping us in. He promptly presses number 9.
“So Jamie is it?” Stain asks.
We get off the elevator and head for the stairs.
“Can I go in on the present too?” he asks.
“Yeah, I already put your name on the card.”
“Cool. Thanks. So, what did we get Jamie?” Stains asks.
“You’ll see. Try not to act surprised.”
“We could meet the murderer tonight. We might have already met the murderer. It could be Joe,” Stain surmises.
“Stain, it could be anyone. Tonight we are only gathering information, so no giving away anything that we know. You’re too emotional on this topic. Listen and observe. I invited Frank and Ben. I figured they could help.”
I knock on the door.
“Fair enough,” Stain utters, almost under his breathe.
Big Money answers the door.
“Gentlemen, hello. Come in, come in.”
The only people in the room are me, Stain, Big Money, Joe, and a woman I’m assuming must be Jamie.
Joe and Jamie are laughing about something, so I take the opportunity to quietly say: “she looks like a 30-year-old Parisienne lesbian.”
Big Money gives me the oh really look and says: “don’t judge, I’ve seen what your cock has been in.”
“That’s nothing, he was trying to go mud diving with Joe over their earlier today,” says Stain.
Big Money has a serious look of concern on his face. “Wait, you guys know Joe?”
Stain casually says: “yeah, we met him at the t-shirt shop today when we were going to order our superhero t-shirts. Our little blue eyed boy here got lost somewhere in pec boys massive muscles. I assume the way he rolled his Rs probably added to the fantasy a bit.”
“I didn’t think you even noticed,” I say.
“I was trying not to,” Stain says.
“How do you know Joe?” I ask Big Money.
“He’s a friend of Jamie’s.”
“So, BM, you going to introduce us?” I ask.
Big Money takes us over to Jamie and points at each one of us saying: “this is Sappho. He’ll fuck you, your mom, and your dog, and he’ll make you think it was all your fault and walk away completely unscathed. Somehow no matter who you are, he’ll just shine those big blue eyes at you, and you’ll always care for him. This is Stain. You don’t have to worry about your mom or your dog, but he will fuck you if he gets a chance. You’ll regret it, but you’ll keep fucking him over and over again, until you finally hate him, yourself, and anything he ever touched.”
“This is true?” Jamie asks.
“Oh, yeah. He’s actually being kind,” Stain says.
I nod my head. “Big Money is being kind. The good news though, is that I never have sex with someone’s mother or dog on their birthday.”
“Big Money. Who is this?” Jamie asks.
I almost didn’t notice that Joe and Big Money are whispering back and forth.
Stain chimes in. “We have nicknames for people. We have one for you, and one for Big Money over there.” He points to Big Money.
“We also have one for Joe,” I say.
Stain looks at me. “We do?”
“Yes, we call him Alejandro,” I say.
Stain giggles a little, “Alejandro, from the t-shirt shop. Got it.”
Jamie looks over at Stain. “So, what is my name?”
I quickly shout: “hey BM, I hope you don’t mind me watering down this sausage fest, but I invited a couple of tacos.”
Big Money laughs, hard. It was that baby seal clubbing laugh again. Something about Big Money changed, but I’m not sure what.
“You have tacos?” Jamie asks.
I hand her the present we got for her, and she shakes it.
Stain says: “good thing it’s not breakable.”
“It sounds big,” Jamie pauses, “I’m so rude. Can I get you a drink?”
“Bourbon, neat,” Stain says.
“He’ll have a beer, and I’ll take a glass of red wine, please,” I say.
“Of course,” Jamie says while walking off.
“Nice way to change the subject from me telling her the nickname,” Stain says chuckling.
“What nickname?” I ask.
“3PL,” he says.
“3PL?” I ask.
“Yeah, 30-year-old Parisian lesbian,” Stain says.
“I hope Ben and Frank get here soon,” I say.
We walk into a shop called Taking a Shirt, which I imagine people think is cleverly named. Their logo is a man squatting with a balled up shirt on the ground under him. Inside, I hear Candy Shop playing, that old 50 Cent hit. Behind the cash is a very muscular Latino man. He looks to be almost six feet tall, probably around 220 pounds, and I would guess no more than 7 percent body fat. Despite his obvious size, he’s wearing what must be a medium sized t-shirt, which spans his rippling body muscle like a second skin, forcing his bulging muscles to stick out even further. Pictured on the shirt is a large rooster and a smaller Eiffel Tower.
Stain doesn’t notice that I’m frozen in a homoerotic fantasy when he walks straight up to the guy and says: “I need two superhero t-shirts.”
Stain and the man that I can only imagine is named Alejandro continue their discourse, but I’m stuck in some super gay other world, where I see everything happening in slow motion. Alejandro’s thick lips move slowly, and his tongue curls and vibrates like only a native Spanish speaker can. I’m fixated on his gentle brown eyes.
In my head, I imagine a conversation.
“Alejandro, do you have a washroom I could use.”
“It’s in the back, I’ll show you.”
As we walk to the back room in super gay fantasy other world, my shoulders begin to tense up.
“You are tense, yes?” Alejandro asks.
Alejandro pulls out a chair from the lunch room table and pats in roughly with his large hands. I promptly and excitedly sit down. He removes my shirt, grabs some olive oil and begins to massage my shoulders and back.
“Do you feel better?” he asks.
“Much better,” I say with an excited tone in my voice.
Alejandro removes his shirt, lies face down across the lunch room table and says: “my turn, yes?”
“Oh, yes,” I say while releasing a big breath of air, while beginning to run my olive oil greased hands across his large v shaped backed. He moans like an 18 year old making love for the first time.
He turns over, unbuckles his belt and says: “time to make Alejandro happy, yes?”
I wake up out of my super gay other world daydream when Stain turns around and asks: “size man? Size?”
“What?” I ask.
Stain shakes his head, looks back at Alejandro and says: “it’s been a crazy couple of days. My friend Sappho here is a superhero.”
“Oh really?” Alejandro asks with an intrigued voice, uttering light sprinkles of a deep sexy Spanish accent.
“Oh yes,” Stain says with a bragging tone. He continues on: “Sappho has the ability to get women to take their shirts off.”
Alejandro smiles at me and asks: “are you large?”
I walk up to the counter, to where Alejandro and Stain are standing. I laugh and smile back at Alejandro, resting my hand on his massive forearm, and I say: “yes. I’m a size large. Sorry about that earlier. I was not in this moment. I was in a dream somewhere.”
Alejandro smiles larger and offers no sense of discomfort from my hand touching his arm. He glances down at me, below my belt and offers up: “you are large. I’ll make sure you get what you need. The order is placed. I just need a phone number to follow up with you.”
I write my number down on the sheet. Although I thought it not possible at this point, Alejandro smiles even bigger and says: “I’ll call you when it comes.”
“I’m Sappho, by the way.”
He puts out his hand, which is strong, yet soft and well manicured. “I’m Joe.”
Although his name offers great disappointment, as we are walking out the door, Joe lifts his shirt showing his massive bald chest, and carefully sculpted abdominal muscles, saying: “perhaps your superpowers are not only for women.”
Stain looks at me with a sense of shock and confusion, while asking: “do you know what this means?”
“It’s not really like that. I mean, it’s more fantasy. I like girls.” I would continue to fumble, trying to explain myself, but Stain just interrupts.
“Your superpower might be twice as effective as we thought it was.”
I sigh loudly after the door to Taking a Shirt closes behind me, and in the same breath, I utter: “Oh, Alejandro.”
Stain looks at me with his head half cocked. “You ok? Who is Alejandro?”
Before I could answer, my phone rings. “It’s Big Money,” I say.
If ever there was a person that you wanted to hate, wanted to screen, but just couldn’t, it was Big Money. He’s loud, arrogant, rude, and domineering, but you somehow always end up owing him your life.
I answer: “BM, sup?”
“Listen, I got a friend who has a birthday party tonight, and I’m recruiting guests. Can you come?”
“Ah, do I know your friend?” I ask.
“No, but she’s breathing, so I figured you were in.”
“Can Stain come?”
“Yeah, whatever. I don’t care.”
“Wait, why don’t you just invite her friends?” I ask.
“She doesn’t have many friends. You know cause she’s French and all.”
“Why does it matter if she’s French?”
“Look man. I don’t know what it is. Don’t ask me the philosophical question, but you know how those people are?”
“French!” I say with an obvious tone of disapproval.
“Exactly. So you’re in?”
“Text me a pic of her nude,” I demand.
Big Money starts laughing, but it’s like he’s trying a new laugh on for size. It sounds more like the kind of laugh you might anticipate on a global warming denier who has a suit made of government and big business slush fund money, and he likes to sport it while wearing alligator boots and clubbing baby seals with wood made from an endangered thousand year old redwood.
Big money responds with: “I’ll text you the address. See you at 8pm.”
Stain looks at me perplexed while we walk, slowly, much slower than usual, and he says: “aren’t we always walking.”
“Yeah, sure. We’re always walking.”
“What does it mean?” he asks.
“Walking? It doesn’t mean anything. We just walk a lot because we like to.”
“No. What we’re doing. What does it mean?” he asks.
“Stain, man, are you asking me the meaning of life?”
“Yeah, I guess I am.”
“That’s cool man. I know this one.”
Stain looks at me as though he’s waiting for the actual answer.
I stop the first man I see walking down the street. “Excuse me sir. What’s the meaning of life?”
He gives me a dirty a look and keeps walking, so I stop a woman. “Miss, can you please tell me the meaning of life?”
“What?” she asks.
“I want to know the meaning of life,” I say.
“I don’t get it,” she says while shaking her head.
I giggle a bit and say: “I saw you coming and was just trying to get you to talk to me. I apologize, but I’m not a great conversationalist.”
“Oh, well . . . that’s ok. I do have to get going though,” she says.
“My name is Sappho.” I hold out my hand in greeting.
She shakes my hand and says: “I’m Poubelle.”
“Really? That an unusual name,” I return.
“It means beautiful and louse in French. Pou and Belle, louse and beautiful. It’s like Yin and Yang. The best and the worst. It’s balance.”
Stain starts laughing out loud. I get it now.
“Get what?” Poubelle asks.
“The meaning of life,” Stain returns.
“What?” Poubelle asks.
I look at Stain and say: “life is like Poubelle’s name. The person living with it can never really understand what it means, but they can always make it into whatever they want it to be.”
Stain laughs again. “No. It’s just garbage.”
Stain and I start walking away, Poubelle looks back at us and shouts: “I have a boyfriend.”
I laugh. “You didn’t a minute ago.”
Stain looks back then at me: “I was about to call her a bad name, but I think I already did.”
“This is pretty cool Stain. This is pretty cool. This’ll be my new test for friends and more than friends. I’ll ask them what the meaning of life is.”
“What if they don’t know?” Stain asks.
“They don’t know is the only answer I’ll accept. Well, either that or it’s whatever you make of it.”
“Why am I not wearing a brand new Sappho t-shirt?” I ask.
Stain walks up to a shop, opens the door and gives me a hand gesture to go in. He was leading us to the t-shirt shop the whole time.