Playing Doctor




Initial Visit?

Monday, November 21

Ain’t Nobody

Two technical notes:

This post has a soundtrack listen to it here.
It augments the writing, so if it didn't work, try this link instead.

There are several links in this post that open up small images. Unless you are a physician,
audiologist or anatomist, you will likely need those images to appreciate what is going on.


The smoke is thick in the bar, but you can’t pretend your eyes are unaccustomed to such smoke. The friends you’re with are keeping your glass full and the occasional hand on your shoulder belongs to attractive people walking past and saying hello.

It’s a good night.

You’ve been looking for an excuse to talk to this guy at the bar so you make it your turn to buy the drinks. You order, in order—beers, bottled before draws, then soda mixes, juice mixes, finishing the order with a Woodford Reserve for yourself, a small batch bourbon, neat. You’re handing off the drinks to your friends and start talking to the prospect.

‘You having fun?’ you ask.

‘Not too bad a time,’ he says. He’s wearing glasses and the beginnings of a relaxed smile. He takes a draw of his off-brand cigarette. ‘And you?’

‘It’s a good night,’ you say and clink your glass against his.

You discover he’s just moved here from Chicago. You discuss that town and this one and contrast and compare the two.

‘One of the nice things about this bar,’ you say, ‘is the music is pretty interesting. There’s some eighties pop and early nineties dance stuff mixed in, which you’d expect, but what’s most interesting is all the Europop. It doesn’t make any sense that it’s played here but it gives this joint some character.’

You talk about music for a while and he tells you he can’t find the alt/indie station on the radio. You explain the reason for that and you both laugh for a while. You ask him why he moved from Chicago.

‘I work for the Boys & Girls Club, I transferred to this branch,’ He explains his job helping at-risk children. His eyes light up when he talks about his job and you realize he’s not talking about his job, he’s talking about his vocation. When you realize this your heart kind of feels—what? You aren’t really sure what just moved in your chest, but you decide its best to ignore it.

‘Listen,’ you say, shaking his hand, ‘it’s really great to meet you, but I’ve got to get back to my friends.’


You return to the table and rejoin the conversation more than halfway through a very tasteless joke. You enjoy the laugh and more of your friends show up. The conversation is good, and despite yourself, you glance over at Chicago, who’s still at the bar. He’s resumed a conversation with the bartender, but catches your glance and his face opens into a smile. You give him the upward nod and return to your conversation.

Your friend George leans in and asks, ‘You making friends tonight?’

‘They say,’ you tell him, ‘you can never have too many friends.’

‘He’s still looking at you.’

‘I’m sure he is.’

‘If you told him you liked The Golden Palominos, would he think you were a cowboy?’

‘No,’ you say, shaking your head and smiling. ‘And his skin is fucking flawless.’

‘He,’ George says, ‘might be interesting.’

‘Has he stop looking yet?’

‘Not yet. I think he—wait, there. He stopped.’


You check your watch: twenty-two seconds. You double it and wait the forty-four seconds before scanning the room to spot a friend. You wave and get up and walk—past Chicago without making eye contact—to her. You kiss her cheek and begin to talk. It’s good to see her, but you don’t really remember her name.

While you talk, you glance at the mirror behind the back bar to confirm that Chicago is watching you. You look at your friend and then, in a manner so natural it could even be construed to be human, glance up directly at Chicago and give him a smile.

You finish your conversation and make promises to have dinner with her soon. You start to return to your group of friends. When you walk past Chicago he keeps his back to you. This pleases you: He’s no rube. He knows what he’s doing.

You stop, put your hand on his shoulder and lean in, your lips not touching his ear when you say, 'why don't you join me and my friends?'

He turns to you, gives you the upward nod and a closed-lipped smile, while getting up from his chair.

When he is talking to your friends you notice his laugh. Natural and given freely, neither reserved nor overwhelming. His laugh is infectious and you see your friends’ grins widening and the mood—which was good before—loosening and growing even more festive.

When he looks over at you, you return the wink.



Round midnight, you walk him to his car. You make dinner plans for the next weekend.

You lean in to his left ear, ostensibly to whisper something, softly exhaling—not blowing—as your mouth passes his tragus—understanding the sensitivity of the malleus—allowing your lips to almost graze the anti-helix as you say, ‘this was a pleasure.’ You reach up with your left hand and, using the lateral rim of your distal thumb, apply a soft pressure as you trace the outline of the lower branch of his facial nerve, hoping that messages will bleed over in the nerve root, where the facial and vestibulocochlear share a narrow space and use that bleed to disturb the messages of balance sent from the labyrinth of canals as they enter the utricle. Will that make him feel as dizzy as you’re feeling now?

‘I’m not quite ready,’ he says, ‘for this night to end.’

You smile as he unlocks his car door and you climb into his passenger seat.


The next morning, you wake softly to the white of the sky from his open window. You roll over and see his empty pillow and there’s a brief moment of panic before you smell the fresh coffee. He walks in wearing boxers and a plain white tee carrying two coffee mugs.

He hands you a mug and you sip the dark, rich, strong coffee.

No cream, no sugar.

‘Excellent,’ you think and realize—tongue and teeth still warm from the first sip of coffee—that you—undeniably, irrevocably, and unfortunately—have fallen in love.

9 Comments:

11/21/2005
Anonymous Mike writes:

Excellent post. I can't wait for the next one.

 


11/21/2005
Anonymous canadiangirl writes:

WOW

 


11/21/2005
Blogger Spider writes:

Fantastic - will we get to hear more?

 


11/22/2005
Blogger dan writes:

For me, "malleus" is not a word that would inspire the intended affect of arousal, but referencing the Golden Palominos gets me mildly bonerized.

 


11/22/2005
Blogger dan writes:

And Richard X as a background disco soundtrack to a hook-up post was... oddly appropriate.

 


11/23/2005
Anonymous duane writes:

EXCELLENT Story. I'm just saying.

 


11/23/2005
Blogger jamesdamian writes:

Sexellent soundtrack. My nips are hard.

 


11/23/2005
Anonymous Anonymous writes:

You deared to eat the peach!

 


11/23/2005
Blogger Damon writes:

Fucking righteous.

 


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