I messaged a drinking buddy last weekend to see if he wanted to go trolling for girls. He replied, “I can’t mate, my friend is visiting again.” “Which friend?” I asked. “Are you on your period or something?” “Zithromycin” was the one-word reply.
Every whoremonger worth his salt has had to entertain this guest at least once. The visit lasts a week, and in that time you are free to play solitaire, have a meal, watch a little telly, take a nap, do laundry, read a book, count the tiles on your ceiling, stare out the window, email your mum, go on a walk around Lumphini, get a haircut, buy groceries, catch a movie, meet your mates for a beer, clip your toenails, practice your ukulele….anything, really. Except the one thing you want to do, which is to bed women.
The last time I was forced to open my home to old Zithro, it was the fault of one of my longtime bedroom Olympics partners—someone I’ve been banging regularly for over 4 years. She thought maybe her boyfriend—who she cheats on with me—was also cheating, and that’s how we ended up there. I’m usually not fussed about it. It’s my other concubines that get in a kerfuffle. They don’t buy my flimsy excuses like I’m out of cash or I’m under the weather. They know I’d still bang even if I’d had a stroke. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, time seems to stand still. I mean, why am I here if not to bang? In those lost days, waiting for the antibiotics to do their work, I’m reminded of what life was like in the West. In Los Angeles, where the women browse men like they’re shopping for a new purse, always with one eye on something possibly better. In my young life I went for long stretches with zero female company. Today men in this state call themselves “incels”—involuntary celibates. Most are unattractive losers, but in Tinseltown, it means every dude who isn’t rich and/or famous, who doesn’t settle for a fatty. And as my old flat mate used to say, “Better to go home alone than go big.” So I spent a lot of time alone.
Men in these settings will always find things to occupy the time that evolution designed for them to be banging. Most turn to video games, or drugs, or self-pity. I turned to wine. Lord, the money I spent on wine. One great thing about California—there’s no shortage of good wine. My favorite pastime was going to the wine store, picking out a $100 bottle, taking it home, consuming it, and between glass number two and passing out, putting pen to paper and waxing pathetic a few hundred words at a time. In fact, hold that thought. I know I have one of those sad soliloquies somewhere on my hard drive….OK here we go. Check this out, it’s from 2006, a year before I had a midlife crisis and left the US for good:
“The shiraz in my glass is named for a story about the monks who first made it. They put the juice into barrels to age, and months later, when they came to check on it, there was less in the barrels. Now, we know that’s because of evaporation, but the poor monks, in their medieval ignorance, thought that God had sent the angels down to take some back to heaven. Hence the name “Angels’ Share.”
I stand on the periphery wondering, am I being noticed? A furtive glance, a stolen moment. A thought skating across my cognitive landscape like a phantom–is it detectable? Am I even on the radar screen? I slip into this solitude like a wallflower from a party, like a flasher into the alley. . .who is documenting this? When will the other shoe drop? Did I say shoe? I meant flip-flop. The angels want their share, yes, when do they not, but what if I don’t want to give up even a handful of this? What if I think it’s all mine, kept safely in my mind, the mines in the mine of my mind?
Painters, paint your colors. You don’t know me. I work in black and white. No wait. What am I saying? I’m hiding in the grays. You know me, don’t you? You know I’m talking to you, you and no one else, when I write these. Sweet unembraceable you, the broken rule, the exception, the unruly. You know, don’t you? Your eyes see it, though it is not there. Your heart speeds up, though I am walking away. My deliberate gaze everywhere but where you are. You see that, don’t you?
The clock is ticking. Yes, yes, I hear it, the metronome of my stupid palindrome. It ticks off the time we have left. It ticks off my last few moments of youth. It ticks me off daily. It measures out the bricks (the ticks) separating you from me. I’m not one for breaking down walls. I am one for staring at them, at their unwavering power. I am one for painting on their surface the subtle regrets of my uninspired non-aspirations. You don’t notice me, but I can smell your skin as if we had a yesterday, even though there’s not even a tomorrow, and an imagined doting, swooning, courting, loving, heart-breaking never occurs but for what I’ve painted on the backward facing face of this wall. This nothing. This dream within a dream within my sad, dark, ashamed and broken self. The angels can have it. I’m all too willing to share.
Could I say I love you? Would that be prudent? Would you cringe, and force a smile, and change the subject? Is my played-out fantasy better than that humiliation? Most likely. In fact, truth be told, I am better served in thinking that this is a mutual secret regret of ours that will never see the light of day than dare to dream that the taste of your kiss could be what I dream it to be–what I know it to be–and yet never know it for me.”
12 years on, that tripe didn’t age well. It’s proof that alcohol does not improve writing (Hemingway being the exception). So as bad as a visit from old Zithro is, it doesn’t hold a candle to the private hell of living in the West, among the beautiful brainless bitches of Beverly Hills and their overinflated sense of value, or the rudderless lifestyle and constant, low-level despair. I’d accept a permanent case of the clap if it was a requisite to living here, where women are friendly, lovely, comely, slim, and good-hearted. Thank God for Thailand. And for Zithromycin.
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