Saturday, January 8, 2011

SAY NO EVIL by Peter Nolan Smith

Most men brag about their sexual exploits. Both real and imagined. My boss Manny has no patience for macho bravado. He is a ladies man even at the age of 80, but he’s also very quick to cut anyone’s claim to Casanova status by pointing a finger in my direction. “No one in this diamond exchange has had more pussy than this man here.”

“That’s not true anymore.” I’m faithful to my wives in Thailand. One figuratively and the other in reality. “I haven’t touched another woman other than Mem for more than 3 years.”

“You could never fuck again and you’d still have the title of most pieces of shit on 47th street.”

For some reason Manny is very proud of my exploits. He heard about them from his older brother with whom I worked at Hurrah, a punk disco on West 62nd Street. Models, singers, artists, high school girls, stewardesses, hair stylists et al. Some of these women are still my friends, so I don’t talk about my sexual adventures. Best to keep your mouth shut, because there is no statute of limitation to a woman's wrath.

Some thirty years after the fact I occasionally dream about these women chasing me to ground. A rake runs fast from the profligate past, especially considering the stance of that the Catholic Church and other derivatives of the Judeo-Christian faith on the mater of infidelity.

Priests, rabbis, mullahs, and reverends consider monogamy as the true state of man and woman. The birds and bees worshiped God in holy union of two. Sex was only for procreation and my parents explained the arrival of each new brother or sister as the gift of a stork. Every time we passed a hospital I would stare at the sky for these big birds. None ever hovered over the chimneys of the maternity wards. Not once and I sat outside Maine Medical for hours before the birth of my second youngest brother. No storks and no sign of sex between my parents, then again a boy's bed time was early in the 1950s.

My mother preached the sanctity of marriage during my teen years. I was supposed to save myself for a golden wedding night with my virgin bride. Masturbation shelved that bliss. I couldn't keep my hands off myself and later off girls on the cusp of being women.

My older brother married in 1976. My sister in 1978. I was a wanderer.

I can’t count the number of my paramours on one hand or all my digits either. I’ve never made a list. Somehow that seemed a little too gauche. While I don’t remember all their names I do recollect their faces, smiles, and smell. Strangely very little of the sex. Woman pride themselves on their memories. They can quote you twenty years after the utterance left your lips. I thought that females would be the same about the act of love.

Not all of them.

Several years back I ran into Valda at a studio opening in Manhattan. I had been out of town for a half-year in Asia. We sat on a window sill and spoke of our lives. Past and present. Two younger people came up to us and asked if we were a couple.

“You seemed so comfortable together.” The male beamed with the promise of two hearts beating as one. He held his girlfriend’s hand with tenderness. They had a lot to learn, but I wasn’t giving them any harsh lessons, so I said, “No, we’re not a couple, but we once were lovers.”

“No, we weren’t.” Valda’s answer was quick and harsh.

“We weren’t? I was certain we had slept together on my futon. Sweat slickening our bodies on a hot August night.

“Not at all.” She was adamant.

“Are you sure?” Her kiss had been long.


Those encounters couldn’t have been a phantasm of my fantasies. She had scratched my back to shreds. A fury dwelt in her eyes. The young couple were aghast. I admitted surrender. “Sorry, guess I was thinking about someone else.”

I had slept with one of her best friends; Lucille.

Skinny, blonde, and from Texas.

She would know if I was right, but Lucille had vanished from New York at least a decade earlier. Valda stormed away angry on high heels. She glared at me the rest of the night. My memory affirmed our liaison. Hers had erased the episodes for good. I must have done something to earn her wrath.

I couldn't come up with a thing and finally decided that I must have been a sexual disappointment for her. I shook my head and drank another plastic cup of white wine. It was bitter to my tongue. The realization of my failure tasted worse. I hadn’t thought I was so bad in bed, but you never are when reality no longer matches up with your memory,then again I will always have my fantasies and Valda lives in one of them.

Maybe two.

It could even be three.

I have no way of telling, because I don't talk about that kind of stuff.

I only think about it.

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