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Thirty

So, a couple of weeks later, I had finished those shelves, whacked a few weeds out back. Given a few alley cats the heave ho. Destroyed their bushy habitats, made them go look for new homes elsewhere. Jerry’s orders. He signed-off on my shit, and my community service was history.

I watched My Fair Lady a hundred times in rehearsal – all chopped up bits of a show. As the leading lady’s show fuck, I became the rehearsal audience, got to be intimate with the performers. They didn’t know me like they knew each other, but they liked me because I watched. They checked my face for reaction. Hell, I thought it was great. Who am I to judge?

Show time arrived, and opening night was an astounding success. What a rush! Here I was, backstage, watching the curtain call. Althea was out there, bowing to the maddened crowd. She got a standing ovation.

The party was equally a blast. All that fine food. Buckets of beer. It was held at this big, monster house, in the country club area, with rooms going everywhere. So it was a blast, until…until I walked into the wrong room.

I was doing a little wandering. I didn’t fit in so well, not being one of them; I wasn’t an actor, nor was I a designer. I had no artistic function. I had been the pre-show audience, but that was moot now; they now had a real one.

It was early spring, a pleasant evening outside. Colonel Pickering had pulled out his guitar. He was strumming a little sing-along out on the deck. Althea was missing. The cast members, so pleased with themselves, were being theatrical with each other. I didn’t fit in. So I kind of hung out with myself, as usual. I wandered, snooped around the house, walked into this room, and Althea was in there with Jerry. They stood there, and she had both hands plunged into the front of his pants. Here I am, supposedly the show fuck for the star, and she’s got her hands in the director’s pants. Seeing me, did she take them out? One.

Both sets of eyes on me, they looked worried.

“His idea,” Althea said.

So I excused myself, went back out into the party, and guess who was standing beside the food, alone, more than happy to converse with me? Miss Community Service. Show biz. Theater is a nasty, whacky business.

“I’m depressed,” I said.

“No, really?”

She smiled, stuffed a cracker in her mouth. She was pretty, no doubt, even while she chewed, rigorously, and grabbed another cracker.

“Well, I’m not on that natural high like you are, being out on stage like that.”

She smiled, nodded, chewed.

“The adrenalin is unbelievable,” she said.

“I can only imagine. You were great.”

“Thank youuuuuuu.” She giggled. What an easy flirt she was, outside of that courthouse and onto this theater kick. “Wasn’t Althea fantastic?”

“Yeah, she really was,” I said. “Now she’s back there with her hands in the director’s pants.”

“No! Jerry!”

“Jerry.”

She looked around, ready to run and tell the others, not that anyone would have been surprised. They had had a thing going for weeks, always standing off to the side during breaks, having intense conversations about something.

“You must feel crushed,” she said.

“A little,” I said. “I’m not used to this theater culture.”

“Happens all the time,” she said. “Jerry always has somebody, in every show.”

“And you were hoping it would be you.”

“Wouldn’t mind that one bit.”

“He’s a ladies’ man.”

“Uuuuuh huh.”

“I need a ride home,” I said.

She took a few steps, grabbed a couple of olives from the other side of the table, looked up.

“You’re not ready to go now, are you?”

“No no. I mean, whenever, if you wouldn’t mind.”

“Let’s go in a little while,” she said. “When some of the others start to leave.”

Her place or mine? Hers. She had a small brick house in a little patch of a neighborhood that, just a few years back, was considered to be almost at the edge of town. Now, thanks to growth, it was close in. It was on one of those streets that used to be family central; now, more families lived further out. It was a quiet neighborhood, with lots of retired folks.

This woman, Miss Community Service, Miss Hard Bargain down at the courthouse, was really a rather sweet woman. Her actual name was Lana, and she was shy. She was so attractive that, I suspect, years earlier, men had constantly tried to get their paws on her. Many still did, probably. Thus (I’m being Mr. Psychologist here), the weight gain: a deterrent to many.

Inside the house, she put on the CD to My Fair Lady, not to let those tunes leave our consciousness for even a moment. She prepared a pot of tea, tried her best to flirt. She was much better at in public; she was nervous now.

I went right at her, kissed her, got my hand on her giant rear and she slapped it away.

So we made love in her bed, in the dark, her lying there, up tight but getting some pleasure out of it, pushing my hands and mouth away at every venture. She allowed two things: my lips on hers, and the other.

This was a quiet, solemn affair. Silence is nice. Afterwards, holding me hard and close, she offered her breast to my mouth. This she did as if it were a great pain to her, but a necessary breakthrough. She handled my head to get it there. Of course, I was losing interest by this time, but I did as asked, and regained some. I sucked her nipples. Now she wanted more of this, and just this, and she put her hand between her legs and got herself off this way. I’m telling you, in the end, she wasn’t bad at all, because I got to lie there and gaze up at her, that glow. The metamorphosis of a beauty. I had a lot to learn. A lot. And this was as good a way as any to learn it. Being bi-polar has its ups and downs, its advantages and disadvantages. You can stay a kid – that’s an advantage. And you can stay stupid. That’s a disadvantage.

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