Get Down – by Tom
“Come on Corny. I just want some company. I’ll make sure it’s worth your time.” He could not decide whether to characterize her hushed cajoling as cooing or purring.
“I don’t know Lulu. I had an appointment to pick up some stuff. It could take a while.”
“What – some Dr. Green?”
“Maybe. I’ve been trying to arrange this meeting for five days. He doesn’t have voicemail, never calls me back, doesn’t show. You know how it goes. I am hopeful he will show tonight.”
“Aww, Corny, I’ll get you high . . . and more.” Definitely cooing. Lulu’s cooing to me. Two weeks, two phone calls. What is it she needs? Am I dreaming? She needs me for something. Again.
“Corny, honey, I need some fun, need some company.”
“That’s what you said last week. And then . . . “
Last week she had woken him from a deep slumber, the slumber that follows days of work, sleeping at the office, endless caffeine and pep pills. His head still hurt. She had told him she wanted to have some fun, lured him over saying she had a couple of friends coming and maybe they could all party, could get down. She actually said that, certainly in a provocative way. He did not think he had misinterpreted that..
Well, the lure of Lulu and some friends of hers getting down had most definitely awakened his imagination. It had set it on fire. Exhausted as he was he found instant energy. Visions of a scandalously gorgeous and delectable evening to come, a fantasy come to life, Lulu and some of her friends, lady friends he had presumed. He was so excited it was hard to stop at the series of red lights he encountered on the way to her place.
Cornelius remembered thinking the early fall night was uncommonly beautiful. Warm September night, all still, perfect. He was young, soon to be rich (if his options and the eventual IPO were to be believed), and going to make it with a most unusual and cool woman and some of her friends. Yes, he had said to himself “make it.” He managed to avoid a speeding ticket as he headed south on Aurora.
Then, when he get over there, he finds Lulu hanging out with two guys. Boys really, looked like maybe they had never shaved. Real pale clear skin. The two of them were dressed all in blue denim. I was understandably surprised to find out they were the friends Lulu had mentioned.
“A misunderstanding baby. I thought you would enjoy playing with those boys and me.”
“When you said we could get down, me and your friends, I took you to mean women and not guys, boys. You got me over there on false pretences, and ones that kind of shook me up. You really think that’s my kind of scene?”
“Girls or boys. Whatever Corny, fun is fun. I thought you were more open minded. I’m sure you would have sparkled. Perhaps some performance anxiety?”
“Oh please Lulu.”
Their names were Peter and Paul for fuck’s sake. He liked to think of himself as open, but this was beyond bounds. He had a hard time thinking about sex for days. Am I uptight? It is not like I threw a fit. He hung around for some exceedingly uncomfortable portions of an hour. Then she kissed him, and he looked up at the boys and their denim and their dilated eyes, blank stares – even when they looked at Lulu, and everything in him just shriveled up. Definitely turned off.
“Aw Corny. I’ll make it up to you. I promise. Just me over here tonight. I want to have some fun. Something a little more hushed. Plus, I have something to show you.”
“Corny, dear. No one else is here. I promise. No surprises, or, well, none involving gorgeous skinny young men. Just you and me.”
He sighed. “I’ll be right over.” He put the phone on the hook, grabbed his keys and headed out the door.
Lulu sighed in disappointment.
“It wasn’t you dear. I had just been hoping for something, bigger.” She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. “Not that you aren’t big enough, she patted him on the knee. But I was hoping for something out of this world, transcendent, wider, explosive.”
He had gathered that from the arrangement of green stones on the floor of her studio. They had performed their tableau in the center of it all. An inverted pentagram would not have slowed him down once he got there and determined that Lulu was indeed without further male accompaniment. The arrangement on the floor amounted to a convoluted circle, candles to the outside for lighting.
“We’ll have to try again, soon. Maybe a different arrangement, or outside, or just more directly on the ground. I don’t know.”
“It didn’t work with Peter and Paul?”
“Oh Corny, they had something, materially, you don’t have. And I traded with them some things both far greater in value and of much less import to you.
He found, not too surprisingly, that he was quite content, even if she was disappointed. It had been a great night. He had not let her down. If she wanted to try again, soon, well, he’d definitely be down for giving it a try.
“Maybe we need to do it in the road?” He looked at her, smiled, reached for her.
“Sorry honey. Our research for this cycle is complete. Let’s go – I’ll buy you a juice, or some coffee, or something. I’m thirsty.”
Meanwhile, about 150 miles as a crow might fly – if a crow flew in a straight line over the Cascade crest from Seattle to Winthrop, or about 240 miles as a road wanders, Lucille and Fred and Lage were driving east into Winthrop looking for a cop or a phone.
After getting out of the rain and deciding to head to Mazama or Winthrop to get help for their hypothermic hitch-hiker they had been accosted by two large women driving Fred’s truck so shamelessly that the the alarm was still going, even after the truck had chased, then eventually forced, their car to the side of the road.
One of the truck’s passengers casually hopped out, all dressed in camouflage hunting gear, a head topped with a big mop of curly hair that was barely contained by her orange ball cap.
“Sorry to bother you folks – and yes, sir, this is your truck. We have no issue with you, no issues at all. We are looking for that fellow you have sitting there in the back seat. Paul honey, is that you? Time for us to take you home.”
Fred started to say something. The woman shushed him. Then thought better of it: “can you turn off this alarm? All this noise is really starting to ruin the taste of my donuts.”
Fred turned to Lucille, with a look of great disbelief, anger, and fear, then walked to his truck and disarmed the alarm. The shrill beeping came to a halt.
All stood still for a moment, the slushy rain snow mix falling silently, a breeze finally stirred them.
It was Paul who spoke first, “where’s Pete?”
“He’s back in town. We’ll take you to meet him. Get you some dry clothes. You look so thin, especially naked and all. I bet that blanket is kind of scratchy.”
Fred, recovering some of his bearing, started to speak, but the other creature – the driver of his truck, appeared next to him.
“Don’t worry at all,” Doreen said, “here – have a donut. We know you are both from Seattle, at least if the registrations you have in your vehicles are up to date. We will return the truck to you tomorrow with a full tank of gas and a repaired steering column.”
Now it was Lucille’s turn to try and speak, and to be hushed, and to quietly accept a rapidly cooling and wilting apple fritter.
“Yes ma’am, that is right. We looked through both cars. There’s no way Doreen and I would fit in your car. Plus, all that thing has is a shitty little lawn mower engine. It would have been much harder to track Paulie here down in that contraption.”
“Yeah,” Doreen added, “plus there’s a hole in the floor. How does anyone stay dry or warm in that thing?”
“Anyway,” said Millicent, chunkily through the morass of coffee and donut in her still very full mouth, “c’mon Paulie, we need to go.”
“And no, Fred, we will not be offering any more of an explanation. And yes, you will have to take our word for the return of the truck. We have your extra key, your home address, the weed you had hidden in with the spare. Sorry this has been difficult, but all we really want is Paulie, and you will only make things worse by foolishly attempting to slow us down.”
“So,” said Millicent, “have we got a deal?”
Even the dog, Lage, seemed awestruck by the strangeness of the scene, the assumed authority of these two big donut chewing women. Only Paul seemed unfazed by what he was hearing. And the words he had spoken to the two women from the truck were the only ones he had said since they found him.
“Paul, where are your clothes?” asked Doreen, the acquiescence of the others assumed.
Paul went and fished them out of Lucille’s subaru. He turned and nodded at Lucille and Fred, handed the blanket to Lucille and turned, naked and immodest, barefoot in the cold and wet, walked over and climbed into the truck.
“Don’t waste your time trying to follow us. That shitty little Subaru will never keep up with the truck. And, let’s just say we will not be nearly as courteous if we happen to run into each other again.”
“Plus, what would you do if you caught us?” said Millicent.
Doreen and Millicent laughed heartily at this. Doreen almost choked on her donut, Millicent pounded her on the back as they turned and walked to the truck.
With that, they hopped into Fred’s truck and drove off. By now Lucille and Fred and the dog were colder, wetter, and even more tired, and in some kind of shock.
“Is this really happening?” Lucille asked.
An hour later they pulled into Winthrop. While Fred called the police from the gas station, and they waited, Lucille climbed in the car and looked in the back seat where Paul had been sitting. Nothing obvious. She pulled up the seat, thinking the last thing she needed was the guy – Paul – dumping some kind of stash he was trying to keep from his pursuers (Millicent? really?) and then having to explain it to the cops if they decided to hassle her and Fred.
Nothing much there, except some shiny green rocks. Nothing dazzling. They might have been there prior to all of this madness. Nevertheless, she picked them up and put them in her pocket, returned to the front seat idly rolling them over in her hand as she sat there, rejoined by Fred and Lage, and waited for the State Patrol.