Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chapter 10: What Would Stainer Do?


I have been looking forward to my date with Emily for days. The week seemed to last a month, but it's finally Friday.

Stainer keeps telling me to stop spying on Emily. He says it's "creepy". He says I worry too much about what Emily, and everybody else, thinks. He says I live my life based on what others want, because I'm afraid I'll disappoint them and they'll leave me. He says I am a big baby.

You probably think I'm a coward for letting Stainer talk to me that way. Well, you're wrong if you think that. I don't need Stainer for friendship. I need to learn from him, and as long as he keeps trying to teach me, I'll keep listening.

I was happy to hear that Emily didn't like Stainer's cologne technique. It reminded me that he doesn't know everything after all.

He told me to be late picking up Emily, so I said I'd be there at 6:00, then deliberately did not show up until 6:30. It will be close, but we should make it to the restaurant on time.

I knock, and all the air rushes from my body as Emily answers the door.

She's in dingy sweats, with her hair twisted into a sloppy bun and held in place by a pencil. "What are you doing here?" she asks, glancing at my tie.

"I'm picking you up for our date, Emily! Why aren't you ready?"

"I have a huge project to finish! I left you a message at work!"

"Why didn't you call my cell phone?!"

"It was during office hours! I don't have time to call a thousand different numbers, Eric!"

My phone had been ringing all day. I stopped answering around 3:30, because I wanted to get my work done and leave. So I could get ready for my date.

She's going to see him tonight. She never intended to see me at all. Or maybe she did, but changed her plans as soon as he decided he wanted to see her. The outfit, the story about work, they're all part of an elaborate plan to trick me, a plan she will probably be laughing about with Doug later.

"You could've--"

"Could've what?" she hisses. "I called you at work! You always check your messages! Why didn't you check them before you left? It's common sense!"

I'd be a bit less humiliated if she apologized. Why won't she do it? Why is she so determined to choke every last bit of life out of me? How can she be so hateful?

The anger starts in my stomach, a fiery ball that grows, eating everything in its path until it consumes me.

I walk through the door. My eyes turn to the glass-topped table against the far wall. A chipped, dusty green vase filled with artificial flowers sits upon it.

"Eric, I have a lot of work to do--"

The bouquet was a gift from an ex-boyfriend, Chad, whom she "almost married", according to her. He moved away and left her years ago, but she still smiles wistfully when talking about him. And of course, she refuses to part with that hideous bouquet. It's almost as if she keeps the flowers just to mock me, to remind me that I am nowhere near the kind of man she truly wants.

Maybe Stainer was right when he called her a bitch.

"You don't appreciate me!" I say, finally.

"Eric, you're not listening to me. I told you I had to work! What am I supposed to do--"

I walk forcefully back toward the door, my heavy footsteps shaking the glass on the dining room table. My hand clenches into a fist, and I watch in slow motion as it smashes violently into Chad's vase.

The vase explodes into tiny pieces, and water runs down my hand. But why would she put artificial flowers in water? And why is the water... red?

"Eric! You're bleeding!"

Blood throbs from an open flap of skin between my thumb and index finger. I watch as it coats my palm, dripping from my hand and forming little red dots on the beige carpet.

Suddenly, it becomes clear: I don't have to just sit back and accept it when someone disrespects me. I have the power to do something about it. The vase angered me, and I destroyed it. My mind ticks off a long list of things--and people--who deserve the same, and, though I didn't think it was possible, my rage grows bigger and stronger than before.

No. I couldn't hurt Emily. Could I?

"Eric, you're bleeding all over my carpet!"

I lunge at her, and I am outside my body again, watching myself as I scream at her nose to nose. "You did this, Emily! You see this?" I yell, holding my bloody hand up to her face. "This is your fault! It's your fault!" I barely recognize the sound of my own voice.

"I'm sorry! Eric, I am so sorry!" she sobs, as I turn and storm out the door.

Guess I got my apology after all.

Next... Chapter 11: The Saw Mill Road

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coco the Ho

Sunday, October 29, 2007, 1:00pm
Shadowfax Stables

Eating is an adventure without a gall bladder. In fact, it's less like actual eating and more like borrowing the food for a few hours before it shoots out of your ass as if blasted from a whale's blowhole.

Yeah, I can't eat like I used to. The doctor says I'll be back to normal soon, but until then, I'm staying far away from anything remotely unhealthy.

The post-surgery pain isn't bad at all. I have four incisions on my abdomen, the largest of which is the size of the memory chip slot on my cell phone. Most of the time, I don't even know they are there.

Last night, Tim decided I had recovered enough to resume my evolutionary duties, so she leaned over in bed and whispered softly in my ear until I was ready to go.

What she actually said is irrelevant. It's the sound of her voice, her closeness, the heat of her breath, that gets me off. She could have been reading a weather forecast; as long as she threw in a few cocks and pussys, I'd be hard enough to smash a plate-glass window with my johnson by the time she was done.

And hard I was--but mounting her and pounding away like a Rottweiler was a bad idea. As soon as the cumshot--and the flood of endorphins--subsided, talons of pain clawed at my intestines until I rolled off the bed and onto the floor in agony.

"No seconds for you!" Tim giggled.

So yeah, my return to, um, normal activity didn't go so well. But that was, like, 12 hours ago! I should be fine now.

Tim and I, along with four other couples, sit in a lazy circle and introduce ourselves before our horseback riding trip. "We're Adam and Kristen," a guy says. "We're from Boston."

I approach him as the horses are being saddled. "So you're from Boston, eh?" I ask.

"Well, Worcester, actually," he says.

Those of you from the area are cracking up right now. Massachusetts is small, and it's all relative, but a Worcester guy saying he's from Boston is kinda like going to Coney Island and saying you're in the Bahamas. It's like going to a carnival in a church parking lot and claiming you're at Disney World.

"It's easier to say 'Boston' than 'Massachusetts'", he says, noticing my grin.

It seems that Coco, my horse, is in just as much gastro-intestinal distress as I am. After walking less than 50 feet, she stops dead in her tracks and lets out a fart that could have peeled wallpaper--a rancid, rotten, barf-inducing cloud of stink that sticks to the back of my throat like Chloraseptic spray.

One hundred yards later, Coco has taken an unhealthy interest in the asshole of the horse in front of her, sniffing desperately at it like a cokehead trying to get the last few specs off a mirror.

"Pull back on the reins," Ana, the group leader, yells. "Show her who's boss!"

I pull back, and Coco dips her head angrily. We're definitely off on the wrong foot.

She stops again and drops another stink bomb, followed immediately by a series of wet plopping sounds. "She's using the bathroom," Ana says.

She shoulda gone before we left!

Coco has fallen behind now, and trots to catch up, zeroing in on her buddy's asshole like a heat-seeking missile. She nuzzles it, apparently too aggressively, and the other horse rears up on his hind legs, his rider clinging, terrified, to the reins.

The horse takes off like a shot and Coco springs into a gallop after him.

"Pull back! Pull back on the reins!" Ana shouts, but her voice is fading so fast I can barely hear her.

Coco's gallop bounces me violently against the saddle, my incisions screaming in agony as I strain to hold on. I'm not going to last much longer.

I'll hold on. I have to. People don't get thrown off horses!

Do they?

Coco sprints past the other horse and around a sharp bend in the trail. There's no way I can hold on.

The reins slip from my hands and the Earth turns upside down in slow motion. I hear a dull thud, and wonder for a second what it was before I realize it was me hitting the ground.

Ana rides up behind me. "You didn't show her who's boss!" she scolds.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I left my heart gall bladder in San Francisco Hawaii

Wednesday, October 25, 2007, 8:12pm
Room 424

The operation is tomorrow morning at 7:30, so I can't eat anything tonight. Not that I am hungry, anyway.

A nurse came in about 15 minutes ago with a small paper cup full of pills. Whatever was in that cup made me forget all about the pain; now, all I want to do is sleep.

I'm a little cold, so Tim drapes another blanket over me. For the first time in what feels like 300 years, I straighten my legs out and my abdomen does not scream in agony. I take a deep breath, and it's pure relief.

I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I lived in a third world country, or anywhere with substandard health care. What if I had to endure this without hospitals or medications?

"...can come back first thing in the morning, before his surgery--" the nurse is saying to Tim. I had almost nodded off.

"I'm not leaving my husband," Tim says, firmly.

"He's fine," the nurse says, reassuringly.

"I know he's fine. But I'm not leaving him."

"You can come back in the morning."

"We've been married for five days; I am not leaving him. You can either get me a cot to sleep on, or I'll sleep on the chair next to him, but I'm not going anywhere!"

"I'll speak to the doctor," the nurse says, clearly annoyed.

Thursday, October 26, 2007, 7:27am

"You're gonna feel a little pinch," a nurse says, and inserts a needle into my left arm, next to the elbow.

I laugh out loud. After what I went through yesterday, regular pain is a joke.

"I'm giving you something to calm you down before the surgery," Dr. Patel says through his powder blue surgical mask, and injects something into the tube in my arm.

Whatever he gave me rushes to my head like ten shots of whisky. I look up, and the wall is... breathing, rippling before my eyes as if it were made of water.

"What is that shit?" I ask, and the doctor answers me in a faint voice, as if he's standing at the other end of a long hallway.

"I love you, Tim," I say, and the room goes black.



Voices swirl around me, and I struggle to focus on them. This must be what a bear feels like after hibernating for five months.


I'm hearing every fourth or fifth word. I might as well relax until the drugs wear off.

I wonder where Tim is--

"I saw his eyelids flutter! I think he's awake! Baby? Can you hear me?"

Opening my eyes is every bit as hard as prying the cap off an old bottle of glue. But when I do, the first face I see is Tim's. She's smiling down at me, just like a blonde, ponytailed angel.

"Hi, honey," she says.

"Heyy," I slur.

"The surgery was successful. It took a lot longer than they thought, though."

"What time is it?"

"It's after noon."


"I'm sorry for ruining our honeymoon."

"Stop it!" she says.

Leave it to me to have a medical emergency while celebrating my nuptials.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Can you believe the stones on this guy?

Tuesday, October 24, 7:00pm
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

All day, Tim and I have been spraying each other down with Panama Jack, downing colorful drinks by the pool, then rushing upstairs to rip each other's bathing suits off and fuck in every position imaginable. I could totally get used to this.

I am lucky to be married to such a horny woman. Most days, I wake up with her on top of me, sucking on my earlobe or reaching her dainty hand underneath my boxers. Yeah, sometimes, my cock wakes up before me.

We have been fucking nonstop since we got here. The weeklong holdout has worked wonders. No matter how much we do it, I feel completely backed up. But it's not just that.

Wedding planning is stressful. Bills are stressful. Work is stressful. We get a break here or there, get lost in a movie, maybe go to bed early every so often, but other than that, it never lets up.

But there is something liberating about flying 10,000 miles from home. It's not like taking a day off, and being 15 minutes from the office. Right now, I'm not even in the same hemisphere as my office. There's no possible way I can accomplish anything here, and no one expects me to. I've got a free pass for 10 days, and I sure as hell am going to use it. At this point, there isn't a whole lot to do other than eat, drink and fuck like inmates on a weekend furlough.

The concierge at the hotel had to talk us into going to the luau. We have not been doing many of the touristy things here, other than going to the beach and relaxing, and it's been sheer heaven.

The beach is completely dark except for a few blazing torches. A soothing wind blows softly against our skin, as if ordered by a considerate host.

A row of long-haired, ridiculously curvy, grass-skirted hotties stand flawlessly still, and then the music starts--loud, hectic drumbeats played by two men on either side of the stage, and the girls spring to life, dancing with controlled fury. I am amazed at how their hips move so independently of their bodies--and yeah, more than a little turned on, too.

"Should I get you a bib?" Tim asks, curling her lip at me.

"They're not that hot."

She rolls her eyes at me.


Men with shovels surround a spot in the sand and dig furiously to expose an underground oven called an Imu. Reaching bottom, they pull a gigantic pig from the hole, and I can feel the blast of heat 10 yards away.

The closest thing I can compare it to is pulled pork. The meat is so incredibly tender that I almost don't have to chew it. I am full after the third heaping plate, but it's way too good to stop. When's the next time I'm going to be at a luau, anyway?

Wednesday, October 25, 2007, 5:07am

I sit quickly upright in bed, clutching my stomach.

The pain is on the right side of my abdomen, just under the rib cage. I've had it before, usually on mornings after I overeat. Generally, I take a Gas-X and it goes away in a half hour or so.

It feels like I have to shit, but I can't. I load up on Gas-X, and the pain doesn't flinch. It's all I can do to stand upright, as the pain squeezes down like a vice on my intestines. Hours pass.

"Can you come down and eat?" Tim asks.

"Do I look like I can eat?" I snap.

"I know it hurts! You don't have to be a jerk about it!" she hisses.


Tim makes me a warm compress and I lay down on my left side, but the pain is no better. And it hasn't moved from that one spot, either, which makes me think that this is not just something I ate. I wonder if I'm getting an ulcer.

I take a hot shower, and it helps a little. Tim runs to the store and does some laundry, and we watch TV together for a while.

"I'm sorry you're so sick," she frowns. "Is there anything else I can do?"

"Let's just wait it out."


I've been in pain for 8 hours straight, and it's gotten no better.

"I want you to go to the hospital," she says.

"What? We're in Hawaii!"

"They have hospitals here, Steve."

"Just give it some time. I'll be okay."

"Either let me take you to the hospital, or I'm calling an ambulance!"


The emergency room is packed. After hearing my complaint, the triage attendant, wearing a worried face, sits me in a chair.

An obviously homeless man approaches the desk. "I need someone to wrap up my foot," he says.

Why? Aren't you gonna eat it here?

I focus on Randy, the homeless man, as he talks. And talks some more. He was playing Frisbee with his girlfriend Becka's brother, you see, because his girlfriend's brother thinks Randy is no good for Becka, and he's trying to loosen him up a bit--

It's no use. The pain simply will not quit. It keeps tearing away at my insides, as if I swallowed a bowl of broken glass. The only thing that helps a bit is leaning to the right in my chair and holding my left hand over my head. At this point, I'm probably competing with Randy for "Biggest freak in the ER" honors, and I don't even care.

I was right before about this not being a digestive problem. It's been far too long for that. Something is broken inside me. It's too high to be my appendix, but I wonder if it's a kidney. Or my gall bladder...

They finally take me to an exam room. A technician smears gel on my stomach and rubs a device the size of a computer mouse across my midsection.

"Take a deep breath and hold it," she says.

"What are you seeing there?"

"The doctor interprets the images. I just take them."

"But does it look like--"

"Deep breath and hold, please."

Every few minutes, someone pops into the room to ask how I'm feeling. I wish I could take something for the pain, or at least sleep. Maybe if I closed my eyes, I could nod off for a while--

The door opens. "Mr. Caruso? I'm Bonnie. From the business office. Your emergency room copay is..."

Is she seriously asking me for money? Now?

"I'm a little indisposed here. I'll pay on the way out, Betty."

"It's Bonnie."

Sure that's not "Bitchy"?


"You have multiple gall bladder stones," Doctor Patel says.

"Am I... is that serious?"

"Your white blood cell count is very high. You should have your gall bladder out immediately."

"You mean you want to operate?"