If I am repaired, can we meet again for the first time, in all of the places I have feared to go, and then, again, in all of the places I will have forgotten, if I am repaired?



SC



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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Magpie 78: The Onanist



The onanist in 312 has thrown in the towel, so to speak, and shacked up with a chick he met on the internet: Jen. She caught me at the door Thursday. They'd been redecorating, she said, and planning a paint party for Saturday. She asked if I'd like to come. 

     Jen’s my kind of disconcerting—dark hair, petite, lazy right eye, bites her lower lip while she’s waiting for my answer. I’d had a couple of Newcastles down at O’Malley’s, and  as much as I hate painting and parties, I couldn’t say no.

     In hindsight, I might have dubbed the Onanist prematurely. His real name is Mark. He seems like a good enough guy:  wears ties to work and brings home leafy groceries in a canvas Trader Joe’s bag. The thing is, our johns share a common wall. Back when I first moved in, I was sitting on the can and heard something kind of funny coming from over there. Mark could have been brushing his teeth or plunging the toilet for all I know. But I’d just run across ‘onanism’ in the dictionary. It was an unfortunate coincidence. Anyway, maybe I can rectify the moniker if I paint his walls.

     The party started at twelve. I drank a couple of cold beers and left my place at a quarter after. I couldn’t resist bringing an organic blush.

     The door was open. I gave it a couple of warning raps, stepped in. Hey! It’s the guy from three-thirteen, come to paint. Everything was covered. Something slow was playing on a hidden stereo, a deep, funky groove that didn’t sound like Mark or Jen.

     Jen came out from the back, cheeks speckled in ceiling-white. Nice freckles, I said. Oh, god, I know, she said, brushing hair from her eyes with the back of her hand. I gave her the wine. Thanks. We’re all in the bedroom. Come on.

     I followed her to the master. Mark was on his knees cutting in the base. The other two painters—girls—I didn’t recognize. Jen made introductions, friends of hers from work: Alyson and Sarah. I was the only tenant who showed. There were a couple of pizzas on the floor. Hope you’re hungry, Jen said, nodding at the boxes. We ordered six.

     After a slice of pepperoni, I was sent to the bathroom with a four inch Purdy chisel and a can of something blonde. Sesame, Jen said. It’s a base coat. I’m sponging.

     There were no new nicknames in the john. Everything was covered and taped. I had the corners behind the toilet cut in when Alyson showed. I’m supposed to keep you company, she said. She had a clean brush in one hand and two open Heinekens in the other. Mark thought you were a beer man. She forwarded me a cold one. Thanks, I told her, taking the bottle. Mark guessed right. Good, she said, I can’t paint sober, and I hate drinking alone.


So you’re single? Alyson asked after our third Heineken.

     More of Marks speculations?

     Yeah.

     Yes, I’m single.

     By choice?

     Mostly.

     Mostly?

     I’m… occupied. I write.

     Ah. That explains the hair, Alyson said. Celibate, onanist or prowler?

     Onanist?

     Yeah. Do you ja…

     I know what onanism is.

     So?

     Suddenly the funky music made sense. Onanist, I admitted. Purely medicinal.

   Cool, Alyson said. Me too.

Monday, August 1, 2011

 

Herta Müller