I AM A MAN
Take this chick I’m about to pass on the sidewalk. Big tits. Big hair. Yes, big hair, I like a nice mane to tug on when I’m coming from behind. Yeah-heah. I’ve got to tell Pete about her. Decent face, but not great, but who cares? It’s not the face you fuck but the fuck you face, and I swear I’ve never had or wanted a fuck I couldn’t face. That’s what it comes down to. All I want to do is fuck. Fat or skinny, ugly or beautiful, drunk or straight. I just go for the fuck. Each new chick is like a new country, full of new hills and mountains and passes and ports of entry!
And take this dork walking behind her. He’s not even looking at her! How can he not with the prime view he’s got? Must be a fag. Only a fag wouldn’t appreciate such a fine female specimen in full view.
We don’t make eye contact; the big-breasted big-haired chick and I. I look up at the sky so that she doesn’t think I’m gawking at her. Just some small clouds. The rest is clear blue and bright sun. Back to her. She’s wearing shorts. That’s one of the great things about Spring: when the legs come out. Legs Spring Eternal! Yeah, I got something ready to spring for you. I shift my notebook and paperback copy of The Sun Also Rises from my right hand to my left, so she’ll think that a guy like me has some sophistication. Though I still have to finish reading the book for my Hemingway paper. A real man’s writer. I keep my pace slow. We pass each other and I take a casual glance at her back side. Nice legs under those light blue shorts. Christ, that dork’s got a Dukakis button on his backpack. What a loser. The election’s been over for like six months and your pussy candidate lost, you idiot. Get over it. Bush won. Reagan’s man…They all want it. Maybe not now. But eventually they will. But you have to catch them in that mood, or put them in it, make them want it. When they demand the fuck.
Just like that fat chick last weekend. She was drunk and I was drunk and I told her she was the kind of girl I could fall in love with, the kind of stupid line that only works when you’re drunk. But she was a wet ‘n wild ride. Sloppy drunk sex. Then as soon as she passed out I made my escape. Maybe I’ll fuck her again. I don’t know, nah, we’ll see…The chick with the blue shorts and the mane has got what I want. Pussy Galore. Not gay-lord. Like that porn Pete and I watched the other day, “The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio.” To our own circle jerk— “It’s Not His Nose that Grows,” should’ve been the subtitle.
Time for lunch with Pete. Where we always hang out. Pete and scoping out some chicks. Hope we can get our regular spot. Then theater class, to scope out some more chicks. All the guys in there are fags or pussies or dorks, so I stand out. I swear I’m the only real man in the entire class. That goes for the fag teacher, too. Besides, some lines from Shakespeare are good to know. Chicks go for that romantic shit. “Drink is a provoker of three things, it provokes and unprovokes, it provokes the desire but takes it away…it sets him on and gets him off; makes him stand to and stand out. ”Whatever. Yeah, I bet Shakespeare got plenty of those Elizabethan chicks. Lesbian chicks. Lesbo’s. Two hot chicks goin’ at it.
I walk into the Burger King. Actually, it’s pretty cool that we’ve got one on the campus instead of some lame-ass cafeteria with crap food. Pete’s already here, sitting by the window, yes, our usual spot, which makes it convenient to view chicks both inside and outside. We’ve spent many hours watching lots of chicks at that table. It’s practically ours. When I get to NIU I’m going to need to find a whole new prime chick-watching spot like this. Pete’s a year older than me but he dropped out of high school, then later got his GED and started taking classes with me. I go over to where he’s sitting and put my stuff on the chair across from him.
“What’s up, Martin?” asks Pete, his head still down as he’s reading the textbook he’s got spread out flat on the table. Can’t tell which class it’s for. He’s looking good today. The top buttons of his shirt are open…He works out a lot. We work out together. He’s wearing his cologne. Drakkar Noir. We never go anywhere without being showered, freshly shaven, and cologned up. You never know when the opportunity to fuck is going to come up. So you have to be ready for PP (Potential Pussy). No second chances.
“Just saw this hot chick in blue shorts,” I say.
He turns the page and nods. “Saw her leave here a minute ago. She’s totally hot. I’d do her.”
“Definitely. But other than that, same old shit. How ‘bout you?”
“Nothing new, man, nothing new.”
“I’m going to get something to eat.”
“I’ll watch your stuff.”
The line’s long but it’s moving at a decent pace. My stomach is rumbling. There’s a guy and two girls behind the registers taking orders. That guy is there all the time. He’s skinny and dorky-lookin’. The black chick is kinda hot, but only a model like Cindy Crawford could look good in those ugly-ass uniforms. The white chick is kinda cute. She looks new. I think she’s checkin’ me out. I’d do her. If she takes my order I’m going to make my move. Tell her I bet she looks good without the uniform. No. You look good despite that uniform. No. You look good in that uniform. No, that’s stupid. You make that uniform look good. No, that won’t work. God-dammit. I’m getting closer to her. Think of something. She probably sees a couple hundred guys a day in here. I’ve got to be able to say something that’s really clever. One, two, three, four, looks like she’ll be the one that takes my order. Yeah-heah. I’d like two naked breasts and a wet pussy, please…Christ, I can’t say that. They’ll throw me out. It’s a burger joint not a brothel. Though I bet a brothel on a college campus would be a goldmine. “For what our natures do pursue.” That would be awesome, to be able to fuck before, in-between, and after classes. Fuck is a good-sounding word. One hard syllable. It’s like the perfect word for what it describes. The insertion. Fast and firm. In and out. Fuck-fuck, fuck-fuck. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Here we go. Faster and faster. Until the ultimate point of pleasure is reached. All right. Calm down. Think, Martin. Think. You’re walking up to her register. PP at 12 o’clock.
“Welcome to Burger King, may I please take your order,” she says.
All right. I’ve got it. I know just what to say to turn her on. “You know, I think you’d look better without that uniform.”
She rolls her eyes. They’re green. Man, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a green-eyed chick. She takes one of those heavy sighs and she’s gripping both sides of the register. Shit, that didn’t come out right. Fuck. I fucked up. Mayday. Mayday. Going down. And not in the good way.
“I meant that I’d like to see you some time without that uniform,” I say.
She’s tapping one side of the register with her nails real hard. Shit. That didn’t come out right either. “I’m working,” she says like some serious grade school teacher. “And you’re getting in the way. So either order some food or leave.”
I’m feeling warm. Embarrassed warm. My hands are clammy now and I need to pee. Must’ve been that Coke I drank in Accounting class. “I’m sorry. I’ll have a Whopper with cheese, an order of large fries, and a large coke.”
“Is that for here or to go?”
“Uh, for here.”
She punches it into the register and tells me the total. I go to give her the money, but her hands are on the register. I’m holding the money out to her. She’s staring at me like I’m some sort of moron. Fuck if she isn’t right. I’m usually slicker than that. More clever than that. But she won’t reach out a hand for the money. So I set the money on the metal counter. As soon as my hand is away she takes it, counts it, punches it in, puts it in the drawer, counts the change, tears off the receipt, sets the change and the receipt on the counter, and moves her hand away real quick. It’s like she thinks I’ve got AIDS or something. Fuckin’ paranoid. I just want to fuck her, not kill her. Some chicks just don’t get it. She could be more forgiving. But she’s not. She should understand how any guy could screw-up in front of her like I just did. But she obviously doesn’t. Some Shakespeare would’ve worked better. “Thou has frighted the word out of his right sense, so forceful is thy wit.” Definitely. I take the change and the receipt and move to the waiting area.
When I sit down with my food across from Pete, I tell him what happened and he laughs. I can’t help laughing either. I was not slick about the situation at all. I don’t feel so warm and my hands are dry again and my bladder doesn’t feel so full.
“When are you going to settle down?” Pete asks. “You’re after chicks all the time.”
“Never, man. Never,” I say. “Why should I? With so much PP everywhere?”
“Serious?” He eats the last bit of his burger.
“I don’t know. Right now it’s the farthest thing from my mind, man. I’m only 20. I’ve got years and years before I’ve even got to think about it. But then again, I don’t have a mother on me going, So when are you going to marry a nice Greek girl?”
Pete is Greek. His parents are from Greece. They speak English pretty well. So do mine. They’re from Brazil. They came here when I was barely two years old. But they learned, man, they learned. You’ve got to try and you’ve got to work hard, that’s what they’ve always said. That’s why I’m here at Triton Community College. Driving distance from home. With my best friend. I’m almost done with my second year and then I am outta here. I’m going to NIU in Dekalb and get my degree in Business. Gotta have a degree to get anywhere. And once at NIU I’ll be doing everything possible to get into the panties of as many chicks as possible. Yeah-heah. I’m betting it’s going to be much easier than here at this fuckin’ lame ass community college. It’s fine for what it is, but it sucks when it comes to gettin’ laid. It’s not like there’s a “college community” at a community college. Not like at a real college like Northern Illinois. I know some people that went right away to NIU and they say there’re chicks everywhere who are ready and willing all the time. Now that’s the college for me.
He shakes his head and picks up some of his fries. “I swear, sometimes I want to smack her. It’s like every day, now. Every day.”
“You should get your own place, man. Then you won’t have to listen to her anymore. Who wants to settle down, now?” I take another bite of my Whopper.
“That’s what I keep telling her,” he says.
“Get your own place.”
“But then I’ve got to pay rent.”
“Bummer, man. But freedom costs money.” I grab some fries and dip them in some ketchup. Good stuff. My stomach is filling up. The place is filling up. The line by the registers is much longer than it was when I came in. I got here at a good time. And this table is ours until we decide to give it up.
“That’s the truth.”
“So then you’ve got to set your mother straight, but do it nice. You know, not be a jerk about it,” I say. His mom is nice but real pushy. Mine’s more laid back. She doesn’t have my life planned out for me.
“You gotta be slick about it, man.”
He nods. “I know, I know.”
“You’ve got to slick it up. That’s how you get through life, man. That’s how you get through. Slicking it up. Whether it’s your boss or a pussy. You gotta slick things up. It makes everything smooth, man.”
“But you have to know how.”
“That’s true. But think of it like this: it’s like Reagan. He was so smooth, he made all those TV reporters sound stupid. It didn’t matter if he was right or wrong, he was so smooth it made him seem right all the time. Nowthat is the way to go. What we need is that special Reagan Teflon for attracting chicks. Can you see it? Reagan Teflon Attraction now available for Men. Deflects accusations and attracts women.”
“Reagan was very slick,” he says.
“Exactly,” I say.
“Bush is boring.”
“But that’s not fair to Bush. Pretty much everyone is boring next to Reagan.”
“So, now you know what you have to do.” I take another big bite of my Whopper.
“Easy for you. You’re going to be on your own next year,” he says.
I stop chewing. I can taste all the mixed up flavors of cheese, meat, tomato, pickle, and lettuce. He closes his book. It’s for his 19th century American History class. He’s not going to be with me. That’s a total bummer. He’s my best friend. We’ve been through a lot. In high school we used to practice wrestling together during the off-season. We made each other better. Much better. That’s the kind of friends we are. Always helping each other out. Of course, when we wrestled, we used to joke about who would be the farmer and who would be the sheep. I need to help him go to NIU with me. I chew fast, gulp it down, and take a quick sip of my coke.
I lean in. “You could be, too. There’s still time, man. You could transfer. Just like I’m doing.”
“I don’t think I can do it.”
“Sure you can,” I say, taking another bite of my Whopper. A couple is standing in line, holding hands. Now he’s got his arms around her from behind as they look up at the menu. She’s hot. I wouldn’t mind being in his position. I bet he’s bangin’ her every day…It would be so cool to have a girlfriend to have sex with and hang out with like that all the time. Always with me. Not having to get her drunk to bring out the mood. Have it be a regular part of the relationship. Movies. Romantic stuff like driving into the city and walking along Oak Street beach at night.
“You think so?” He doesn’t look all that confident. I don’t know what it is with Pete. Sometimes, you have to talk him into thinking he can do something. He doesn’t believe he can do certain things, like make the wrestling team or go to college.
“Sure. Just get an application and fill it out. How many credits do you have?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Then find out. It’s easy, man. It’s not that hard. Then we can get an apartment together. And then no parents to tiptoe around. We can be banging chicks all the time.”
“Sounds like a plan,” he says.
“Dude, after lunch I’ll show you where to get a transcript request form. And I’ll show you how to request an application.”
“Cool. Thanks, man.”
“Hey, man, I know you’d do the same for me.” I eat the last bit of my Whopper. I’m so glad Pete’s my friend. The best guy I’ve ever known. We grew up together in Fairview, we’re going to Triton together, and now we’ll got to NIU together. Friends for life. We’ll always be together, one way or another. I’m a lucky guy to have a friend like him. Pete finishes his drink. All that’s left on his tray is the empty burger wrapper, the empty fries box, and his empty paper drink cup. I reach across the table and grab his textbook. U.S. History: From the Louisiana Purchase to the Closing of the Frontier. He’s had a tough time with this class. He failed the first exam. Got C’s on the second and third ones. I flip through the pages and lean back. He crumbles up the burger wrapper and tucks it into the empty fries box. I aced this class last semester. It was a breeze. Gettysburg. By the people for the people. Black and white pictures of dirty tired soldiers. Poor bastards. We’re lucky. The History of Martin and Pete: Volume I: High School. Volume II: Triton. Volume III—
“I gotta go,” he says.
I close the book. It used to be mine. At the end of last semester when he told me he was going to be taking the class I told him he could have my book. No sense in buying one since I already had it.
“Come on,” he says. “I’m gonna be late.”
I hand it to him. He adds it to his pile of books. I grab the Coke and put the straw in my mouth. I sip a little bit. The plastic cover to the cup has those round buttons to show the kind of drink, three of’em. I push each one in. I sip until there’s nothing left except ice.
He stands up with his books and his tray.
“You workin’ out later today?”
He shakes his head. “No. Not today. I got something else to do.”
I’ve got to pee real bad now. All this caffeine. “Like what?”
“Nothing big. I’ll call you later.”
“What about the application and the transcripts? You still want to do that?”
“Dude, not today.”
Pete walks away. If not today, then when? He passes the line to the registers. When? Tomorrow? This summer? He stops. Next semester, when I’m gone?…He might never do it…He empties his tray into the garbage can by the far door and leaves. Through the tall windows I see him go back along the same sidewalk I took on my way here. Some people pass him. Farther and farther. Now I can’t see him through all the people.
A third of my fries are left. But I’m not that hungry anymore and with my drink empty I’ve got nothing to wash the fries down with.