God must love me tonight
The zipper is broken.
Troy realizes this as the Goth Girl pulls at her hair in that way that says: this is going to happen. He can barely hear her over the techno music; he can’t even tell what color her hair really is in the club lights, strobes not helping. As he shifts his weight, he feels his whole fly open wide, all due to one broken zipper tooth. One broken tooth is all it takes.
“Let’s get out of here,” she says. She has to lean in, an action that includes grinding her breasts against his arm, to shout over the music.
Troy nods, carefully draping his leather jacket over his arm, keepingthat arm over his belly. A safety pin, he thinks, I need a goddamn safety pin. One pin is all it will take to save this night.
Near the door, the music diminished, he sees she is hotter than he could ever hope for, way out of his league. Goth yes, but daddy-hating goth, not body-image-hating goth. Her body flatters her shredded leotard, Aphrodite in rags. Mercifully, she is too drunk to take him in, his lines about being a street poet no doubt still working.
“I need to piss,” he says. “Then let’s catch a cab. It’s Jazz Night at Revolution Cafe. I know the sax player.”
Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But Troy certainly doesn’t know any sax players. Hasn’t since high school marching band.
She smiles. “Awesome.”
He turns toward the bathrooms. God must love him because he sees Sandra from Marketing, the one who always brings the bagels and smiles at him.
“Hey!” She brightens as he approaches.
“Hey!” Troy leans in for an awkward co-worker hug. He whispers, “You wouldn’t have a safety pin, would you?”
“A safety pin.”
“Like for a diaper?”
“Yes, but hopefully smaller.”
Troy shrugs. He doesn’t want to mention his broken fly, or how he feels like he’s caught in one of those dreams where you show up at work with no pants on. “Personal emergency. Do you?”
“I do, but…”
He waits but when she says nothing more, he asks, “But what?”
“It’s holding my bra together.”
Without thinking Troy says, “You don’t need a bra tonight.”
Her eyes widen, but then her face sharpens with pixie mischief: head tilted just so, both eyes and lips smiling. Not the buttoned-up Sandra he associates with the Marketing Department.
“Well,” she says, leaning in close to whisper. “Don’t tip off my date.”
Her arm reaches around the shoulder of the tall guy next to her. He turns from his separate conversation, flashes annoyance, and gives Troy a sharp who-the-fuck-are-you glare. Sandra mumbles introductions. Eric? Derrick?
But Eric-Derrick’s eyes drift over Troy ‘s shoulder and his glare softens. Before Troy can turn, Goth Girl has wrapped herself around him from behind. She slithers around front and wedges Sandra away from Troy. Her straight blue-black hair falls like a curtain.
“I thought we were gonna get out of here.” Her arms shift around his neck but her eyes never leave Sandra. Not even when Goth Girl pulls Troy in close and sticks her tongue in his ear. It might as well be a live wire. Troy’s cock jumps to attention, almost pushing out through the open fly. Only his boxers keep it from leaping out altogether.
He really needs that pin.
Eric-Derrick smiles and nods in that almost-imperceptible guy-to-guy way that says, Dude!
“Aren’t you going to introduce your friends?” Goth Girl drops one hand to grab Troy’s ass, fingers pressing up into his undercarriage.
“Yeah, Troy,” Sandra smiles. “Aren’t you going to introduce us?”
“Um, sure.” Troy struggles to keep his voice to a masculine octave. “Sandra, this is, uh…” What is her name again? Has she even told him?
“Electra.” Goth Girl chimes in, offering a limp handshake.
Sandra puts her hand on her boyfriend’s shoulder. “This is Frederick.”
Troy mentally repeats Electra and Frederick three times.
“Enchanté!” Frederick takes Electra’s hand, kisses the back of it with theatrical Continental charm. Sandra elbows him in the ribs.
“Charmed, I’m sure,” Electra says, then sloshes her lips back to Troy’s ear. “Can we get the fuck out of here now?” Her tongue flickers against his neck.
Troy glances at Sandra, who rolls her eyes.
“Yes, let’s go. By all means” But Troy can’t go. “Uh, Sandra, about that thing.”
“The thing? Oh right, right! The thing. Just a second.”
Sandra rolls one shoulder and pulls the bra strap out of her blouse. First the left, then the right, tucking her elbows up to pull her arms free. She spins the bra around under her top and fiddles with it through the blouse.
“Here you go.” She pulls the bra free from under her arm like the first scarf in a magic trick. It’s black and lacey and sizable and, as she bunches it into his hands, surprisingly warm.
Troy looks at it. Electra looks at it. He tucks it under his coat, which is still draped over his arm.
Sandra grabs Frederick by the hand. “Come on, let’s dance.”
As she pulls him away, Frederick holds back long enough to clap Troy on the shoulder. “Dude, you’re my fucking hero!”
Electra squints at him drunkenly. “Wait. What just happened?”
“Nothing, it’s a joke. She’s actually my cousin. A real kidder.”
“Ha ha ha.” She leans against him, loops her arms around his neck. She smells nice and feels warm to the touch. “Can we go now?”
“One second. Wait here.” He opens his leather coat and drapes it around Electra’s shoulders He kisses on the forehead. “I still gotta use the can.”
In the bathroom, Troy jumps into the handicap stall just as another guy leaves. There’s no latch on the door, so he leans against it. He unbunches the bra. In the midst of satin and lace, the solid metal safety pin is easy to find where it reinforces one of the straps. It’s about two inches and shiny stainless steel. Perfect.
He opens his belt and unsnaps his jeans. His cock, still hard with the memory of Electra’s tongue in his ear, presses out against the loose fabric of his boxers. He pushes the pin outward through the inner flap and the zipper flap, but it’s not so easy to push the pin back through, outside in. The two layers of denim are thick and put up a fight. He tries again, spearing through at an angle. Better but still not much give to the pin. He tries to pinch it shut, but the pin and clasp seem to repel each other like opposing magnets. Almost there, almost there…
The door bursts open, knocking Troy across the large stall. He lets go of the pin to block the impact with the wall and handicap railing, bracing himself for the pin stab in his groin.
But nothing happens. No stab, no jab. Not even a poke.
God still loves him.
A redheaded guy in a Giants jersey, orange on black, stands half-in half-out. “Sorry, dude, I thought it was empty.”
“It’s cool, man.” Troy is still bathing in relief.
But the guy doesn’t leave. Instead, he glares at Troy. “Dude, what the fuck? I mean, really? Really?”
“What?” Troy looks down and realizes he’s standing in a bathroom stall, with his fly open and a woman’s brassiere clutched in his hand. “Oh, this. This.”
“Dude, don’t even try.” Mr. Giants shakes his head and steps back. The stall door flops closed.
Troy shoves the bra into his back pocket. In a flash of brilliance, he presses the two flaps together and folds them like two sheets of paper. This way he can push the pin straight down through all four layers of denim at once. The pin fastens into the clasp with no struggle at all. He releases the fold slowly. The pin holds. It’s created an uncomfortable bunching in his groin, but it holds goddammit, and nothing else matters. He closes his pants and straightens his shirt, opting for untucked. A quick hair check in the mirror, and he’s out the door.
Electra is right where he left her. Only she’s been joined by a couple of guys in beaters with lots of ink on their arms. She seems to know them.
But when she sees Troy, she practically jumps into his arms. “Sorry, guys, I gotta go!” Then to Troy, in a whisper hot against his ear: “I’m so wet I can’t stand it.”
Troy blooms with incredulous joy. The tension goes out of him. He slips his arms around her, bathing in the humid warmth that’s gathered between her body and his coat. She squeezes his ass. Wrapped tightly around each other, they press their way out to the sidewalk, past the bouncers, and the clusters of smokers…
“That’s the guy!”
It’s Mr. Giants, smoking a cigarette against the wall.
But it doesn’t matter. A taxi is right there, perfect timing, disgorging fresh arrivals for the club. Troy holds the door for Electra and, as he jumps in after her, flips the finger at Mr. Giants. Mere seconds later, they are gliding through the warehouse streets.
“Where to?” the driver asks.
Troy would answer but Electra has straddled him, nibbling his ear, pressing her breasts against his chest.
“Green and Larkin,” she shouts. Then, more softly to Troy. “My house.”
She slides off and her hands go to his crotch. “I want you in my mouth.”
She licks his ear, whispers. “Don’t make a fuss. He won’t care if you don’t make a fuss.”
Troy leans back and says nothing, because what is there to say. He’s in the back of a cab and a hot girl is struggling to rip open his pants. And of course, it’s not working, not the way she expected.
“What the fuck?” Her struggle escalates to battle.
As Troy feels his fly surrender, as the pin pops like a snapped tendon, he marvels at how the mind reacts to imminent disaster. How it shifts into high-definition slow motion, time dilating to allow reflection while somehow prohibiting reaction.
In the first nanosecond, Troy considers how very ill-advised it was to position the pin with the point downward, because downward is now the direction Electra is pressing, and with only the thin fabric of his boxers between the pin point and his dick.
He flashes forward to Monday morning at the office, and how Sandra will no doubt greet him with a knowing pixie grin and ask him, wink wink, how his weekend was. He wonders if his wince will give him away.
And in the final nanosecond before contact, just before his scream fills the taxi, he wonders if maybe, just maybe, God doesn’t love him so much after all.
Andrew O. Dugas’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in LITNIMAGE,
Instant City, Flatmancrooked, and The SOMA Literary Review. A regular
reader at local literary events, he’s currently shopping around
SLEEPWALKING IN PARADISE – A San Francisco Novel about Old Money, the
New Economy, and the Second Coming. Follow his Daily Haiku at
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