He didn’t like lima beans.
He pushed them about the plate.
“I got to ask you something.”
She didn’t look up from her plate, just kept chewing.
“I want to call an escort service.”
She looked up, picked up a cloth dinner napkin and wiped her hands and lips slowly.
“An escort service?”
“I want to pay for a prostitute.”
“I know. I heard you, but why?”
“Because I …” He put his fork down on the plate uncertain of his direction.
“Well, can you give me a legitimate reason?” she asked.
“I want different sex.”
“You don’t like what we do?”
“I want… would like different things.”
“EXPLAIN IT! GODDAMMIT, GEORGE! EXPLAIN IT!” Mia shouted and slammed her palms onto the table. Her fork jumped off of the plate and scattered food across the table.
“Jesus, Mia. You’re making a mess…”
“WHO CARES ABOUT THE FOOD!”
“Well, it’s not that I don’t enjoy our activity, but I just want to experience someone who will, uhh… take me…someone who will go the full nine yards, so to speak.”
“What… what are you talking about? You have your orgasms.”
“Yes, yes I do.”
“I’m trying to… I’m talking about…oral sex.”
“Oral sex? How interesting.” There was a slight chuckle underneath her breath.
“You understand what I’m talking about, right?”
Mia squinted at George. Her lips and jaw tightened, then soothed into a smile.
“Oh, I see. You want to finish your vile business in my mouth. Is that it?”
“Uhh…yes. It is…sort of what I’m thinking.”
“I did it once. ONCE! I didn’t like it… at… all!”
“You are wrong there. I still remember that I wasn’t even in long enough. You pulled off and turned away right after I started. I ended up…”
“I remember. You ended up messing up my blouse. You dumb bastard!”
“We had just started dating.”
“I tasted it. What more did you want.”
“That was over fifteen years ago. I thought maybe once in a while I’d be able to…”
“I get enough sex. I’m content with the arrangement.”
“But, that’s the point. I don’t get the whole deal, the entire pleasure of it. Simply using your hand is…well, very disheartening for a … me.”
She smiled maliciously. “Were you going to say… a man?”
“Mia, please. You’re being bad-tempered.”
Her eyes nearly popped out of her head. She stuttered and sputtered.
“Bad…bad tempered?” Mia chuckled.
“Well, yes. When I pleasure you in that manner have you ever considered the amount of feminine fluids I might ingest?”
“Hardly the same.”
“It most certainly is. Bodily secretions are secretions no matter who produces them and please don’t let me get started on how my tongue aches after I’m down there for twenty minutes.”
Mia started to pick up the bits of food that were on the table.
“You are so off-base.”
“So, what do you say about my suggestion for me to call an escort?”
“That is borderline adultery.”
George forked a meatball in half, smeared it in some sauce then popped it in his mouth staring at Mia impatiently.
“No it isn’t. I’m not sneaking around having an affair. I’m paying for a service. Just as if I took the car to the garage and had a mechanic change the tire for payment.”
“Well, there you go, George. Feel free to ask our mechanic for whatever you desire.”
“You’re such a …” George stopped abruptly before he overstepped a vulgar boundary. “I just want a few sessions…”
“A few sessions? It’s a few sessions, now?”
“Well, before I die I’d like to at least experience some complete fellatio.”
“I can’t believe that you want to break the sacred pact of our marital vows.” Mia replied in a floating, sarcastic tone of voice
“I’m not breaking anything. I’m asking you, for friggin’ permission for Christ’s sake!”
Mia shook her head in disapproval, pushed her chair back and stood up. Collecting the silverware and plates, she walked over and placed them into the dishwasher. She relished his weakness, his pleading.
“George, if you call a prostitute, if you ever and I mean ever carry out your sordid little melodrama, I’ll make your remaining days on earth a total hell. If you think you have a shitty life now, you just mark my words!”
George tore off a piece of glossy paper from the corner of a magazine and started to pick at his teeth, almost nonchalantly as if to chafe her.
“I see that as a settlement.”
Mia stood with her hands folded across her chest, tapping her fingers on her arm.
“Really? You see it as a settlement?”
“So, that in order to save the so-called purity and blessedness of our marriage you will grant me my desired wish for sexual fulfillment.” He ended the statement with a sheepish grin.
Mia snickered, and then burst out laughing.
“That’s what you think?” She arched her eyebrows.
“I would guess.”
“You are an outrageous, foolish ass, my dear George. All these years and you still amaze me with your simple-mindedness. How you ever became a lawyer is beyond me.”
Mia turned on her heels and walked down the short hallway to the bedroom.
She shut the door.
She locked the door.
George flipped the scrap of paper onto the table. He wasn’t sure if he would try to push Mia’s buttons again with his proposal, serious as he was about it. He held out an infinitesimal, remote hope that she’d give in and indulge this minor gratification, feel sorry for his pitiable condition and put up with his salty taste for what amounted to not much more than fifteen seconds. Of course relative to the observer, for George it would be over far too quickly while in Mia’s case the time would languish like hours. Holding him in her mouth while his spasms dwindled with the viscous fluid sloshing over her teeth, it was too horrid for her, too demeaning and she’d probably spend a great deal time rinsing and brushing ridding her mouth of his repugnant, bitter broth. He took that leap of faith, chanced to ask and now felt all the fool.
Thinking quietly at the table, George knew from firsthand experience that when Mia was pushed to the limit, she was relentless in her actions. Revenge was her code, her retaliation swift and the results were long lasting and never, ever to be forgotten.
George toggled the switch on the arm of his chair and the motor whirred to life, backing him away from the table. He buzzed slowly across the room and parked his wheelchair in front of the large-screen television. He picked up the remote, switched on the set just in time to catch the start of the day’s world news wrap-up.
Nine years later and he still experienced phantom-limb syndrome.
George never even got the chance to have that fling with the paralegal at the firm. It only got as far as an office flirtation and a few ordinary happy-hours. Deep inside he felt that Mia had somehow found out and that she had some psychic, other-worldly revelation and was able to visualize his ineffectual attempts at an extracurricular romp.
He could never prove it and could never link her to the faulty brakes, but the idea always lingered. It circled around her like smoke from a cigarette as he watched her. He wondered each time when he would notice her just staring at him wearing that pretentious sneer.
That sentiment never gave him any space, yet he was helpless to let the allegation fly out of fear. That rain-slicked, cloudy day changed everything. It was an eighty-five mile-per-hour, surreal movie as he careened out of control along the highway, slamming against the concrete New Jersey barriers like a billiard ball. He hurtled a row of barriers and launched into the oncoming traffic, the front end of his BMW impacting the body of a massive, churning concrete truck. The car crumpled and crunched like a sheet of aluminum foil, with its roaring six-cylinder engine smashing through the firewall, slicing and dicing George’s legs.
Mercifully, he blacked out and upon awakening in an intensive care unit three days later, he saw the tubes that were irrigating his bladder and suctioning his intestines, the pressure, heart and respiratory sensors sticking to nearly every available patch of skin and the nourishing, intravenous drips that were changed every forty-five minutes. His once rock-hard, muscular and athletic legs – what had been left of them – had to be amputated from mid-thigh down.
He was half a man – all three-foot-seven-inches of him.
Mia’s visits to the hospital were quick, sweet and almost patronizing as if she understood that it was she who was holding the pat hand, the ace in the hole all along. He could have sworn that he could feel Mia’s leering over him and whispering to him as he lay dozing in his narcotic stupor. Something in her nature numbed George, chilled him and he learned over time that he would always be under her control. She would write the rules. She would allow him to wobble his crippled, weightless, doll-like body above her in a lackluster attempt at penetration and satisfaction. She took pleasure in having him obedient, her thighs holding his head tight and in that peculiar, tortuous position, he was made to bring her to unhurried, drawn-out orgasms.
George was a private novelty, a deformed and nearly emasculated marital accessory. A quirky, ready-made carnival freak who existing only for Mia’s outrageous and capricious amusement. Requesting a prostitute was pushing the envelope in a way that tweaked his wife’s inner core, insulted her base instincts as a woman as if she were somehow the inadequate one.
He took a risk with his verbal approach and for an extremely brief moment at the dinner table he thought she was going to become unhinged, enraged which would not be the result he endorsed. Past episodes would be conjured and other physical nightmares promptly resurrected, to be played out in a multi-ringed, exposition where he alone became the whipping mule.
As he now sat unresponsive and composed in front of the large screen, George wondered.
Damn…what would she had said if I had asked her to swallow?