Something’s Different

by Solomon Tate

 

It was an auspicious event, filled with the kind of tension that lives in the pages of a Raymond Chandler novel. It was the christening of my son’s new gas grill and while I was pretty excited about it I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. Well, not wrong really, but different. Something had definitely changed, and for days I just couldn’t figure out what it was. We headed into the desolate wilderness of the suburbs, maneuvering our way through men in cargo shorts tinkering with lawn mowers and lawn sprinklers, and their wives who gathered on driveways in yoga pants to watch. “What the hell are we doing here?” I asked.

“Making your son happy.” my wife said. “Its important to him so please try to behave yourself.”

“I always do.” I said. I really didn’t, I mean sometimes it was just fun to rattle their brains about a little, and other times I suppose that I just didn’t give a shit. This time though, I had all intentions of trying my very best.

Despite the phone calls and inter family memos, one of my sons and his wife arrived fifteen minutes late. My son’s girlfriend had this five minute window either way, and anything else was early or late. Neither was acceptable to her, and both result in a significant brow beating that addresses common courtesy and respect. She slipped into one of her emotional convulsions and the show that accompanied every family dinner since she moved in with my son began. “What time did I tell you to come?” she asked.

“Four o’clock.” he said.

“What time is it now?”

“I don’t know.” he said. “I guess a little after four.”

“Fifteen minutes after four.” she said. “Five minutes is a little past. Fifteen minutes is late.”

“Do you think she’s gonna say it?” I asked my wife.

“Be quiet.” she said. “I don’t want to miss it if she does.”

“I just don’t understand why you think its okay to be so self-centered and disrespectful.” she continued.“Its just common courtesy to be on time. You may as well have not bothered to come at all.” And there it was. Common courtesy. We had all heard it from her a million times and she always seemed to place the emphasis on the word common, and not courtesy. To be honest, we all found it a little strange.

“Why do you talk like that?” my daughter in law asked.

“Are you questioning me?” she said. “I am a teacher.”

“You’re a Phys. Ed. teacher.” one of my daughter’s stated. “That really doesn’t count.”

“Well that was weird.” my daughter-in-law whispered to me.

“Not really.” I said. “That’s actually pretty normal for her. She’s fucking insane.”

That nagging feeling that something was amiss kept hovering over me. It was my wife. There was something different about her. Something had changed and I knew that my not knowing was somehow going to bite me in the ass.

“Something’s different” I said to my wife..

“With what?” she asked.

“I’m not sure, but I feel like something’s changed.”

“I don’t feel anything.” she said. “Maybe you’re just old and losing your mind.”

“It could be.” I said. “It would explain a lot of shit. Did you cut your hair?”

“Does it look shorter?” she replied.

“I don’t know.” I said, “but you did something different.”

“I didn’t do anything. I stopped coloring my hair months ago. I can’t believe you’re just noticing now.”

“Well, to be fair” I said, “I’m generally too busy looking at your eyes. They’re actually quite beautiful. Sometimes I just get lost in there. But now that you’ve pointed it out, your hair looks good. I like it”  She didn’t say a wood. For the first time since this theme park ride with her began she had absolutely nothing to say and  I was pretty sure that I stood a very good chance of getting laid  that night.

“He’s very good.” my daughter-in-law said.

“Ya, but she’s no slouch, herself.” my son told her.

“Well ” my wife said to the kids, “we’re gonna say goodbye now as I’d like to be alone with your father.”

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The Beezer

 

By Fielding Goodfellow

 

We were pretty high during that reading week in Ft. Lauderdale. I couldn’t tell you what we were on, but we had been seeing some pretty weird shit. There was me and Tate, and Farberman and George Beezer. None of us really liked Beezer, I mean he was an ass, but Farberman’s mother insisted that we take him along. He was, after all,  dating Farberman’s sister, the same sister that I had been banging quite regularly at the Pinecrest Motel. We really had no choice, I mean Mrs. Farberman could be quite insistent.  The four of us went down there that February, but only three of us came back.

Sitting by the hotel pool, Farberman set his sights on the big boobed lifeguard in the skimpy bikini who he believed had been smiling at him while Beezer was bombarding us with the random thoughts that desperately seemed to want to get out of his head.  He was an opinionated little shit with views on everything which seemed quite ironic considering he knew absolutely nothing about anything. It didn’t take long for us to devise a plan to hold his head under water just to shut him the fuck up. “He may drown.” Tate pointed out.

“That’s a risk I’m willing to take.” I said. “As long as he stops talking”  We didn’t really do it, but man, we came damn close.

Farberman had finally got up the nerve to talk to the pair of tits in the bikini. As we waited for him to strike out yet again, Beezer informed us that he had not laid a hand on Farberman’s sister. Ever. In fact he had never seen her naked, or copped a feel through her clothes. She had managed to convince him that she wasn’t ready, and the poor bastard believed her. He should have asked me, I mean, the girl was at The Pinecrest Motel so often that room number five was suggestively referred to as Rikki Farberman’s hole. Beezer told us that he was still a virgin. “We need to get you laid.” I said.

“It’ll probably lighten you up a little.” Tate said. And so we had a mission. We were going get Beezer laid. And get high. We were definitely going to have to get high if we were to succeed in our mission. We didn’t say anything to Farberman. He wouldn’t have handled it well, I mean the guy was dating Rikki. Farberman had no idea that most of his friends had at one time or another banged his sister but then Farberman usually had his head buried so deep in his science stuff that he rarely knew what the hell was going on.  While he was busy chatting up the lifeguard, we headed off with the reluctant Beezer in search of a woman who was both willing and able to set him free.

We found her in the hotel lobby, one of the many prostitutes who had wandered off of Federal Highway in search of anyone who was willing to pay for an hour long game of ‘I know where you hid the salami’.

“He kind of looks like a pelican.” she said.

“Yeah, but he’s a virgin.” Tate informed her. “I don’t think it will take very long.”

“It’ll be $50.”  It seemed like a bargain to me and Tate, so we agreed. She was right though, I mean I had never noticed it before but The Beezer did kind of look like a pelican. We left him there in the bar and returned to the pool  only to find that Farberman talking to a snack vending machine.

“Did the lifeguard always look like that?” Tate asked. “Or are we really tripping?” We had been doing mushrooms all day, and I suppose anything was possible, but Farberman was getting all bent out of shape with a vending machine.

“Let’s just hope he gets some chocolate, or pretzels.” I said.

We must have fallen asleep on the deck chairs, and wound up spending the night at pool side. We woke in the morning to find Beezer and his prostitute eating breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Farberman was nowhere to be found and we assumed that he had probably got his hand, or worse stuck in the vending machine he had been feeling up the night before. When we left Florida Beezer stayed behind with his prostitute. He said that there was nothing for him back home. It was the last time any of us heard from him. Farberman caught the flight and never spoke about that week in Ft. Lauderdale again despite the persistent urging of Tate and myself. Its too bad really, I mean it would be good to know if he wound up with pretzels or chocolate.