kitchen-4Lorraine was waiting in the parking lot. They had agreed Bill would follow her to her friend’s house where they could be undisturbed and comfortable. He wondered if she was gonna get cold feet, but apparently not.

“I want the full service treatment,” she said when they were sitting on her friend’s sofa.

Bill laughed. He put his arm around her and drew her close to him. “And what’s that?” he asked.

“How explicit do I have to be?”

“Completely. Tell me your deepest, wildest wishes and I’ll do them for you. It’s not like we’re gonna be dating and spending a whole lot of time figuring out what each other likes.”

“You always so direct?”

“I’m usually shy.”

“I find that hard to believe.”

“It’s true, but circumstances warrant directness here.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re not like the others. Because for most of them this kind of stuff is just a goof. For you it’s got a whole other thing to it.”

“Oh yeah? And what’s that?”

“For you it’s like getting up after a serious fall. Or that’s what I think anyway. Tell me if I’m wrong.”

“You’re close.” Lorraine stood up. “Let me freshen up. Wanna take a shower and get the funk off?”

“Sure,” Bill said.

It was well after three AM when he lay down next to his fiancé. He took another shower before getting into bed with her. That was to wash Lorraine off. His fiancé was deep into sleep. She only turned once to feel that he was there.

This was how it was most nights. He was gone just about the whole day every day, and while he was making a living, she was just about all alone. He came home late at night, some nights later than others. As she told it, this translated into her having her own set of friends, friends who she saw just about all the time. She and her friends ate together, went to movies on campus together, hung out. She hung out, Bill worked.

His alarm woke him at four forty-five. At five, after the snooze alarm, he rolled out of bed and into clean skivvies, jeans and a T-shirt. When he brushed his teeth, he popped a black beauty, and by the time he was in his car heading off to open up Steakhouse East, he was no longer lethargic. His energy was chemical and he would drink bourbon and beer to counteract the drugs, but that would be later. He would change clothes, grab a coffee, lace it with bourbon maybe, pop another black beauty. Then it was on with the day.

Speed, all around, was his drug of choice. For well over two years while he was in college, he took speed six days a week, three days up, a day off, three days more up. On the day off, he ate and fed his body nutrients. At night, to come down, he popped downers and drank white wine.

Life.

As he pulled into the parking lot, lots of things were going through his mind. He remembered Jim standing by the knife sheath and three times now his wanting a beer. He remembered Lorraine, the couple of hours they had last night. He remembered what she whispered in his ear while they were in the shower. He remembered fulfilling her every desire and watching her enjoy herself on one level while being conspicuously self-conscious on another. She was inhibited at first, but he’d addressed that. He remembered being immersed in her.

Damn I need a drink, he thought as he stepped out of his car and headed to the front door to meet up with Tommy, Bea and Mary. Boy do I need a beer. I need more than a beer, he thought. “You need your head examined,” he told himself out loud before he was upon the others and saying good morning.

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